March 22, 2024

Ways to maintain a healthy and balance lifestyle

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Swita in Afghanistan

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Picture by: Swita

Taking time to focus on our habits, our lifestyle choices, and what we put into our bodies, can be difficult and sometimes confronting.

 

But it doesn’t need to be, small steps can go a long way in helping to maintain good health.

I would say that I am rather a healthy person, who takes the time to take care of my body, my mind and soul. Whether that would be by having a healthy diet, walking, playing football with my siblings, having a positive mindset or reading books.

Sometimes I do allow myself the rare guilty pleasure of junk food, but this is all a part of my process towards maintaining a balanced lifestyle.

Here’s my guide to living a healthy and balanced lifestyle, and staying mentally and physically fit.

1. Eat healthily

A healthy diet is essential for good health and nutrition, as pointed out by the World Health Organization (WHO). To do so, one should consume different foods, incorporating daily a range of veggies, fruits, legumes, and staples or starchy tubers or roots. As well as foods such as fish, milk, eggs, and milk.

You should be aiming for vibrant dishes as various hues frequently signify an array of varied nutrients.

It is recommended to limit your intake of sugars, such as processed foods and sugary drinks, and limit your salt intake, and of saturated and industrially-produced trans-fats.

Industrially-produced trans-fat can be found in many baked and fried items sold on the street and in restaurants. Additionally, meat and dairy products (such as those from cows, sheep, and goats) inherently contain trans fat.

2. Drink water

Water plays a significant role for both the human body and the earth, and is an essential ingredient for life and various natural processes. It is recommended to consume between 2–4 litres of water per day.

Around 60% of the body is made up of water, and around 71% of the planet’s surface is covered by water. Medical News Today reported how water lubricates joints, forms mucus and saliva to help with digestion, transports oxygen throughout the body through the bloodstream, and supports healthy skin.

Water also acts as a cushion for sensitive tissues such as the brain and spinal cord, controls body temperature by sweating, and aids in the digestive system by avoiding constipation and preserving intestinal health. It also helps keep blood pressure stable, aids in the removal of waste, and promotes nutrient and mineral absorption.

Staying hydrated is essential for avoiding kidney damage, improving exercise performance, and even assisting in weight loss. So, start your day off with a glass of water and make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day. Although this is easier said than done, it is definitely worth putting in the effort to control your water intake.

3. Care for your body

Osho, an Indian philosopher, emphasized the importance of maintaining a balance between rest and movement.

This has proven scientific grounds since participating in sports, whether running, swimming, playing football, volleyball, basketball, or any physical exercise overall, as pointed out by Healthline, not only keeps your body strong and active but also strengthens your muscles, enhances your cardiovascular system, and elevates your mood by releasing endorphins.

Frequent exercise raises energy levels, improves sleep quality, lowers the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. It is an essential part of self-care, not only for remaining in shape. Stretching is just as vital to include in your routine.

Harvard Health Publishing reported that enhancing flexibility, range of motion and posture by stretching lowers the chance of injury and improves sports performance. It also eases tension in the muscles, increases circulation and encourages relaxation – all of which contribute to greater physical comfort and lower stress levels.

“A lot of people don’t understand that stretching has to happen on a regular basis. It should be daily,” pointed out David Nolan, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

Another essential component of self-care is taking care of your skin. The skin is the biggest organ in the body and acts as a protective barrier against bacteria and environmental hazards, regulates body temperature, and synthesizes vitamin D. Protecting the skin from UV radiation, staying hydrated, and using gentle skincare products are crucial for skin health.

You should also keep an eye out for skin abnormalities such as rashes, discolorations, or strange moles because they may indicate underlying health problems. Dryness and damage can be caused by things like dehydration, too much sun exposure, and harsh skincare regimens. ‘Learn to take good care of your skin, so your skin can keep taking good care of you’ highlighted News In Health.

Also written by Swita:

Motivation is helping me face daily obstacles and it can help you too

‘Motivation plays a crucial role in influencing our behaviour, performance and overall success in different areas of life’.

Read more

4. Care for your soul

Take care of your passions. Whether it is fulfilling your dreams, engaging in creative projects, hobbies, or spending time in nature.

Make time for the things that make you happy and fulfilled. Cultivate gratitude. Communicate your thanks for all that you have in your life on a regular basis, even on a bad day. This will help you stay hopeful and appreciate the here and now.

And allocate time for contemplation and self-reflection to enhance your comprehension of your identity, principles, and life’s objectives. Establishing deep connections with others, whether family, friends, neighbors or making new connections will help you throughout this journey of life.

Learn to love yourself, love others, and love life.

5. Care for your mind

Practice mindfulness by either participating in meditation, prayer or other activities that encourage present-moment awareness. This will help you reduce stress, increase focus, and improve mental clarity. To maintain mental agility and sharpness, challenge your mind by taking on new challenges, reading books, solving puzzles, or participating in intellectual activities.

Make sleep a priority. You’ll need enough deep, restful sleep each night to maintain your emotional, mental, and cognitive health. Dr Kenneth Wright Jr, a sleep researcher at the University of Colorado, shed light on the matter in News In Health, sharing that everything from blood vessels to the immune system uses sleep as a time for repair. “If you don’t get enough sleep, those processes are going to be disturbed”, he said.

Mental health is important. Make sure to use stress management skills including progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing exercises, and asking friends, family or professionals to be there for you.

Written by:

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Swita

Afghanistan

OXSFJ & LEARN Afghan Project

Illustrated by Yuliia Muliar

16 year-old Swita is a passionate journalism student learning under the partnership of The Oxford School for the Future of Journalism and LEARN Afghan with aims to pursue a future career within the field while motivating other girls towards their dreams.

She is very interested in literature, often reading biographies and motivational books. She also enjoys listening to and reading poetry.

Swita speaks Dari and English.

Due to security concerns the authors image and surname have been omitted

Edited by:

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Sofiya Suleimenova

International Affairs Section Editor

Geneva, Switzerland

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