Pharmacists are required to maintain a high level of efficiency and accuracy in their jobs. With all of that responsibility who could blame them for struggling to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Here a trained chef, nutritionist and life coach helps us get back to the basics, identifying 5 key pillars for healthy living.
Authored By: Ashley Pardo, MLA, NTP
[Last updated 25 August 2016]
There is abundant buzz surrounding the topic of health, but much of the available information presented to us is conflicting, complicated, or flat out overwhelming. Unfortunately, amidst this flurry of information we cannot ignore the need to want to feel good, because we know if we could just gain control of our health, everything else will fall into place.
Physical energy along with a clear and focused cognitive ability are crucial to human performance. It is absolutely essential to be healthy for those of us who work long hours, are constantly bombarded with information and are reacting to stimuli all day long on our feet.
So how does one begin to assess how healthy their lifestyle is? By going back to the basics and making it simple! Follow these five simple pillars of health to get a kickstart to feeling better and overall just having an easier life.
Diet is the most vital component of health and should be your priority. Many of us rely on quick packaged food, which is convenient for a busy lifestyle. But if it is packaged it is processed, which means the sugar content is going to be higher and it will be more detrimental it is to your health. Focus on whole foods with one ingredient (e.g., eggs, a banana, an apple, broccoli, a potato, salmon) and make sure your diet has a good ratio of protein, carbohydrate, and fat.
We must be cognizant of diet, because blood sugar and proper digestion are key to feeling good. Begin your day with a protein source (e.g., eggs, sausage, or a protein shake). This will help you to stay satiated and keep sugar low. Spiking blood sugar early in the morning can set you up for cravings and crashes throughout the day.
The more real food we eat, the better digestion will be. Digestion is linked to immunity and mental health. For pharmacists immunity is incredibly significant!
2. Stress management
High stress jobs keep you in flight-or-fight mode and stress wreaks havoc on health. It can potentially eliminate effort you place in all the other categories.
I like to keep stress management basic by using deep breathing and practicing presence. Take a couple deep breaths when you begin to feel overwhelmed and notice the present moment. Notice the sensations of your body and keep taking deep, long breaths. I like using the breath of four: inhale for four counts, hold for four counts, and exhale four counts. Repeat this five times and it should help you to center yourself.
Exercise leaves you feeling invigorated, clear, and is almost always helpful for a serious attitude adjustment.
Find a movement that you love doing. It could be walking, hiking, yoga, or lifting weights. Aim to get 4 to 5 workouts in per week that are at least 30 minutes in length.
Developing a routine can be essential to maintaining your commitment to exercise. Enrolling in a class or becoming a member of a gym or other group may assist with this.
Water consumption is underestimated, but dehydration can cause mental fogginess, constipation, fatigue, and even depression!
Make it a goal to consume half of your bodyweight in ounces of water per day. If you drink diuretic beverages (soda, coffee, tea, alcohol) add 12 ounces of water immediately following the consumption of an 8 ounce diuretic beverage.
It is important that you take steps to ensure water is available to you throughout the day. If drinking water is not easily accessible for prolonged periods, maintaining a supply of water or bringing water each day in a water bottle is likely going to be necessary.
Sleep is largely underestimated and often the first thing sacrificed when people work long hours. Be sure to keep sleep a priority and aim for at least seven hours per night.
Heighten your sleep quality by reducing screen time two hours before bed (e.g., phone, tablet, television), and sleep in a pitch black, cold room.
Learn more about sleep hygiene here from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pharmacists work in a demanding field in which maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be a major challenge. While these five areas discussed above may seem basic, it is common for people to struggle with adhering to a well-ballanced lifestyle. I hope that this post motivates you to assess your health status and look to improving your lifestyle, as small changes now can have major impacts in the long-run.
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