The continuing rise of lifestyle-related diseases and chronic disorders means that we need to take a fresh look at health and healthcare, and to remember that prevention is better than cure. Sleep – Sleep deprivation increases appetite (and often body weight) and decreases brain function. So proper sleep helps your energy, weight maintenance and your ability to think and concentrate. We spend our lives sitting – at our desks, in front of the TV, in a meeting or on the phone. New research is emerging highlighting the potential risk to health from all our sitting behaviour. So break your sitting time by standing for five minutes and reap the health benefits.
Cut down on processed food. Processed food is not good because (a) most nutritional value is lost in the creation of these foods and (b) the added preservatives are bad for our health. Many processed foodsÂ contain a high amount of salt, which leads to higher blood pressure and heart disease. In general, the more ingredients a food has on the label (ending with â€˜ite’ or â€˜ate’), the more processed it is. Eating 50 grams of processed meat a day has also been found to increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. 7 Go for lessÂ processed food, such as a baked potato over chips, a fresh fruit over canned fruit, steamed fish over canned fish, or organic produce over food with high preservatives.
Getting healthy isn’t about feeling guilty. If you do have slip-ups, don’t waste time telling yourself that you’re hopeless. Guilt won’t help you get healthy. Concentrate instead on the progress you’ve already made, and on getting back into your new habit. Even cutting back a little can help; each additional hour you watch increases your overall risk of dying by 11% and dying from heart disease by 18%.
6 Get enough sleep Sleep has the ability to optimise mental and physical energy, and optimal levels of sleep (about eight hours a night) are linked with reduced risk of chronic disease and improved longevity. One simple strategy that can help ensure you get optimal amounts of sleep is to go to bed earlier. Getting into bed by 10pm or 10.30pm is a potentially useful investment in terms of your short- and long-term health and wellbeing. Shutting down the computer or turning off the TV early in the evening is often all it takes to create the time and space for earlier sleep.
Let your children know they are not to blame for your illness. Explain this to them while keeping their developmental level in mind. For young children, it may be easier to say you aren’t feeling well or that you are taking medication to help you feel better. Older children can also be affected. They may be concerned about who will take care of them or what they can and can’t depend on. They may be more focused on how your mood disorder affects them than how it affects you. If they do not understand that your mood disorder is an illness, you may want to explain that you are going through a very difficult time but are getting help, and still care very much about them.