If you’re anything like 98% of the adults out there, chances are that one of your New Year’s Resolutions for this year was to “get healthy”. But how many of us actually followed through with that for longer than the first 2 weeks of January? No shade, we’ve all been there.
Getting healthy means different things for different people, but in general you can break down good health into two categories: physical health and mental health.
Here are three main steps to take to getting physically healthy.
1. Get Some Exercise
When you’ve become an expert at disguising your heavy breathing after climbing the stairs at work until you can speak, that just might be a good sign that you should add some exercise to your weekly routine. You don’t have to become a fitness guru or bodybuilder overnight, but one of the most important aspects of maintaining good physical health is getting exercise. Ask yourself honestly, how much exercise do you really get every week? In high school, we all had to go to mandatory PE lessons to force us to get moving. But for some strange reason, nobody runs PE classes for adults. That means that it’s up to you to take care of your body.
What exactly you choose to do is up to you–you can play football, join a gym, swim, or even walk around your neighborhood in the evenings. It doesn’t matter how exactly you get exercise, but it’s just important that you do. Even an hour of exercise a week can really make a difference. I won’t bother to list all the benefits of regular exercise (this isn’t a fitness blog after all) but after five minutes of some casual research on Google or Wikipedia I’m sure you’ll agree with me.
2. Eat (and Drink) Better
Eating better doesn’t mean going on a crazy diet or doing a juice fast. Apart from the fact that most people can’t maintain dieting long-term, where’s the fun in only eating brown rice and broccoli for dinner? Starving yourself all day only to eat two balls of kenkey, two pieces of fish, two fried eggs and baked beans at 7pm isn’t healthy either.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean depriving yourself. Simply incorporate a few healthy items into your meals every now and then, listen to your body, and think more about what you put into your mouth. Try eating your vegetables every now and then, eat a balanced breakfast, and try to manage your portions. It’ll also be better for your body (and your wallet) to limit the number of times you eat fast food–try cooking for yourself every once in a while! It’ll probably be healthier than buying/eating a pizza.
And while we’re on the topic of healthy nutrition as an adult, it’s time to face facts–you’re not 18 anymore. You’re responsible for everything you put into your body, including alcohol. You don’t have to cut out alcohol completely, but moderation is key. Not everyday five long islands in one night! Excessively heavy drinking can wreck your organs and mess with your sleep cycle. When the hangovers get too real, it’s time to try rethinking and cutting back on your drinking habits. A little moderation goes a long way!
3. Get Some Sleep
Speaking of sleep cycles–you know you have to leave the house by 6.15am in order to sweat through the Tetteh Quarshie traffic, buy your morning koko, and still get to work on time. So why are you still scrolling through Twitter at 2am?
Nobody wants to be the grandma or grandpa asleep at 8pm on a Tuesday night and miss everything, but the truth is, as unsexy as it might be, you need to sleep. Save the turning up for the weekends, and try to actually get some rest on weeknights. You may think 4 hours of sleep is enough for you, but you might be sleep deprived without even realizing it. Depending on your age, an average of 7-9 hours of sleep a night is recommended for adults.
But what if you’re too used to going to bed at 3am? A lot of guides to getting better sleep will suggest that you unplug from devices for at least thirty minutes before bedtime, but chances are, that’s unrealistic for most of us. Start small–close Whatsapp and log out of Instagram a few minutes before you’re ready for bed and try to wind down with some calming music or a physical book (they still make those!). It might be hard to fall asleep earlier those first few nights, but the long-term rewards make it worth it.
Now, let’s be honest. I’m sure you already knew that you should be getting more exercise, eating healthier, and sleeping better. So why aren’t you doing that? Chances are, one (or both) of these two main things is holding you back: time and money.
It’s not easy to find the money to join a gym, or the time to cook healthier food, but that’s no excuse. This is adulthood–it’s not supposed to be easy. If it was, we would all be experts at it!
Putting in that extra effort is what adulthood is all about. If you take the time to budget your expenses and introduce some productivity and time management hacks into your routine, you’ll see that it’s actually possible.
Start small and stay positive. Don’t try and pile everything on at once–I do NOT recommend trying to sleep 8 hours a night, drinking a green smoothie every morning and running for 45 minutes on the treadmill three times a week all in your first month–you’ll be almost sure to fail. Begin by introducing one thing into your schedule at a time until you feel like you’ve gotten the hang of it, and then add another. Rinse and repeat until you begin to feel like a Real Life Adult (results may vary).