Have you ever asked yourself how you prioritise your health?
For most people, health and well-being usually drop to the bottom of their never-ending to-do list. This may include work, family, and social commitments.
Let’s take exercise for example. It’s a well-established fact that regular exercise can bring about health benefits which include reduced risk of chronic diseases, improved mental wellbeing, and the list goes on. If this is a universal fact, then why are people not doing so? One of the most common excuses I’ve heard when it comes to working out is “I’m too busy at work”, “I have to chauffeur my kids around”, and “I have to attend my grandmother’s birthday party”.
According to clinical psychologist Evan Parks Psy.D., there are a couple of hidden beliefs that undermine good self-care. One of it includes the fact that we’ve been taught to be kind to others, be compassionate and care for others throughout our whole lives. Naturally, when the concept of self-care pops up, many people feel that it is selfish of them to engage in self-care practices. A study revealed that 1 in 3 Americans felt guilty when taking time off for themselves. But this shouldn’t be the case! In fact, we are better able to support our loved ones when we can take good care of our health.
I firmly believe that an individual’s personal wellness must be the number one priority to achieve any other goals in life. Without health, your work, relationships, and ability to take care of others will most probably be adversely affected. There are 101 reasons why taking care of oneself is so important, but let’s save that list for another article.
Here are some tips on how you can start prioritising your health:
1.Realise that you are precious!
Have you ever thought about what you’re doing to take care of your body right now?
Lucky for lizards, they have the ability to regrow and regenerate their tails and vital organs. Unfortunately for humans like you and I, we don’t have that ability. And I guess that makes our bodies even more precious! Oftentimes we are so busy caring for others that we forget to pay attention to ourselves. Without caring for our mind and body, it’ll be difficult for us to accomplish anything we set out to do!
2.Be aware of how you’re spending your time
If you’re someone who can’t seem to make time for yourself no matter how hard you try, you may want to start thinking about you spend your 24 hours. Being aware of how you’re spending your time is a great start for you to start planning your day! For example, if you’re someone who wants to maximise your time when watching TV, you can include a couple of exercises while watching TV.
3.Allow your surroundings to support your priorities
According to James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, “a large portion of our actions every day are a response to the environment design”, and we tend to go for the default option. If we see a bag of chips on the table, we will probably eat it. If we hear music, we will probably start tapping our feet.
The good news is we can make use of this innate human behaviour to our advantage by designing our surroundings carefully.
Trying to get a workout in first thing in the morning? Lay out your workout clothes the night before.
Trying to snack healthier? Keep healthy snacks on the table and unhealthy snacks in your drawer. Out of sight, out of mind—this works so well for me.
Trying to drink more water during your workday? Place a bottle of water on your desk to remind yourself to hydrate!
Trying to use social media less often? Consider repositioning your social media apps to your last home screen.
Trying to reduce screen time in the bedroom? Consider placing your phone somewhere you can’t reach and putting the book next to you instead.
These are just some examples of how you can adjust your environment so that it's simpler to achieve your intended behaviour.
4.Making our health a priority forever
You can do this by creating sustainable lifestyle habits that you will stick to even when things get busy or when life gets in the way.
For me, my habits are:
Have my coffee without milk or sugar
Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night
Exercise at least 3 times a week (the exercise must be enjoyable)
Our habits will most probably be different based on different preferences and even life stages! So, there’s no pressure to stick to my list at all. I always like to believe that I’m still a work in progress and there’s always room for improvement. Check-in on me again in 3 months and I hope there are new additions to my list!
A Final Note
It’s now time to start moving your health to number one on your priority list! Let’s do this!
Do you want to find out more on how you can live more healthily? Or do you want to help your employees/ colleagues build sustainable healthy habits that will stick?
About Actxa Wellness
Actxa Wellness’ mission is to bring about sustainable lifestyle solutions through fitness, health and wellness. Our flagship programme is the Actxa Wellness Programme which provides employee wellness solutions to team build and create culture; elevate engagement and happiness; and improve overall mental wellbeing.
From providing hardware to track personalised physiological data, to leveraging a proprietary algorithm called the Healthy Living Score (HLS), to incorporating a tried-and-tested curriculum which includes workshops and challenges to engage and build sustainable positive lifestyle habits revolved around EAT, REST and EXERCISE, we have got our clients well covered.
About Sheryl Ng
Sheryl is the Programme Lead for the Actxa Wellness Programme. Her passion for health and wellness stems from her love for sports. She’s constantly on the lookout for interesting, meaningful and evidence-backed wellness-related content so that she can level up her content knowledge, to share with others.
If she’s not creating content or delivering wellness workshops, you can find her in the kitchen trying out healthy and delicious recipes or enjoying the outdoors!