Our health directly impacts our ability to create wealth, and most importantly KEEP It.
How do we maintain/restore our health? Consider the following suggestions. As you read, determine which 2 items you are going to implement in your routine THIS week. Change happens in consistent small steps.
Seven to eight hours of sleep a night will significantly reduce your risk of obesity, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and dementia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers sleep as critical to good health as diet and exercise.
TIPS: One of the best ways to train your body to sleep well is to go to bed and get up at more or less the same time every day, even on weekends and days off. Avoid napping, especially in the evening before bedtime. Stay away from caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol for at least 4-6 hours before bedtime. Keep your bedroom cool and dark for sleeping, with no electronics such as TV and computers.
The Mayo Clinic and many other medical organizations recommend an eating plan such as the Mediterranean Diet. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish and lean meats, with a splash of olive oil and perhaps even a glass or wine. It limits unhealthy fats. This diet is associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
TIPS: Avoid empty calories such as sweets and chips. Instead of a sugar boost in the middle of the day, try blueberries or almonds for energy. Keep it simple in a busy lifestyle. Buy prewashed spinach, precut carrots to save time if that helps you eat healthy. It may cost a little more, but your health is worth it. Good health will pay BIG dividends.
Regular exercise powers the body, boosts cognitive ability and sharpens your memory. An added plus is the increase in endorphins from exercising. You feel better and more confident. You can be more focused on important financial goals.
TIP: The CDC urges 30 minutes 5 days a week of moderate activity such as walking, running, biking, or swimming. Add muscle strengthening, such as yoga or weight training, 2 days a week. You may need to start slow and build up. Begin, by taking the stairs, parking further away from stores, walking at lunch or breaks, biking to work, or lifting hand-weights while watching your favorite TV shows. (Easy access to the greenbelt was one of my deciding factors on my new office location.)
Unhealthy amounts of stress can lead to decreased productivity on the job. Research done by Towers Watson showed 57% of those experiencing high stress levels are disengaged at work. They also miss more work than their peers. Stress leads to stress eating for some or stress spending. The adage of ‘When the going gets tough – the tough go shopping’ only solves the stress until the bills come in.
TIPS: When stress surfaces, take a break, go for a walk, call a friend, do something relaxing. Another stress reliever is de-cluttering your living space. Re-organize your physical space, discard what you haven’t used and/or don’t need. Guard your schedule – only do what is important and you enjoy. Avoid what is unfulfilling or unnecessary.
Negative emotions can be exhausting. Often people spend money to feel better. It is a short-term fix. Financial woes can cause anxiety and depression. The University of Bristol studied individuals over the age of 50. If they had heavy debt, they were 8 times more likely to report feeling depressed then those who live comfortably.
TIP: Use the “Snowball” method to pay off your debt. Take the smallest debt and focus on getting it paid off. Then take that payment and add to the next smallest debt and snowball on paying down your debt. Some suggest tackling the highest interest rate first. I like the smallest – get success early. It helps the momentum.
Avoid impulse buys. Evaluate if it is a WANT or a NEED. Don’t buy at first encounter with a desired purchase. Give yourself a cooling off period. Do you still want it next week?
These are just a few tips that can lead to a healthier lifestyle. And a healthier lifestyle can improve your earning capacity and reduce your medical expenses – protecting your wealth.