5 Habits to Stay Healthy

Patrick Dunham's picture
By Patrick Dunham on December 27, 2019

Being healthy is not just part of my job at Carilion Wellness, it is a big part of my life.

However, it is something that I have to work at every single day just like everyone else. Take a look the five things I try to do every day to stay healthy in mind, body and soul.

top-down view of notepad and colored pencils for meal plan surrounded by healthy portioned meals
Taking the time to make a daily plan will help your grocery budget as well as your goals for healthy eating and exercise.

1. Plan ahead

We have plans for our work life and for activities with family and friends, but what about a personal game plan? I have found that it is much easier to take charge of my day when it is planned out.

I think about:

  • What will I eat?
  • When will I exercise?
  • What will I do after work?

Try writing out your daily game plan every night before bed—or make a weekly plan before your work week begins.

Be sure to include:

  • Healthy meals and snacks for the day
  • When you will exercise
  • Time with family and friends

The only person who can make it happen is you!

2. Make the time

Working hard not only pertains to our jobs; we also need to put in the effort to consistently make healthy choices.

It’s not always easy to find time for everything I want or need to do, but it is important to my overall health to make time for myself and what is healthy for me.

Do what you can to make it a priority to exercise and make time for what you value, whether it is your family, hobbies or other pursuits.

3. Do the prep work

Time tends to be my biggest obstacle when it comes to sticking to my game plan with healthy eating. Planning ahead and preparing meals in advance makes it easier to follow my game plan—and it saves me money, too!

Another great benefit of preparing my own food is that I know exactly what is in it and how it is made!

I always try to prepare meals that I can easily and quickly use over the course of a few days. Making a little extra for dinner each night means that I have a healthy lunch all ready to go the next day.

4. Be present

Whether it’s for safety (like not texting while driving or being aware of your surroundings) or for common courtesy, it is important to be present. There are lots of ways I try to practice being present throughout the day:

  • Choosing face-to-face interactions with people instead of texting or emailing them
  • Looking people in the eye when talking to them
  • Just enjoying the moment I’m in instead of thinking about what's next

Simple actions like these have multiple benefits:

  • They can keep you safe by helping you recognize and respond to risks
  • They can improve your relationships with people, both personally and professionally
  • They can help you feel more fulfilled, connected and in control

5. Get enough sleep

I find that my physical performance, decision-making abilities and general well-being are easily impacted by how much sleep I get. The National Sleep Foundation recommended that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. This is a tough one for all of us, but it's worth the effort to develop good sleep habits.

The benefits from getting enough sleep are especially important for those who exercise regularly! Plus, when you get enough sleep it can make it easier to get up for that early-morning sweat session.

These are just a few of the things that help me be my best every day. Try them and you may be surprised at how quickly and how well they work for you.