Lifestyle changes are often as important as dietary changes and herbal medicine for managing health problems.
Sleep, sunshine, exercise and relaxation.
The amount of sleep needed depends on your life stage, with babies and children requiring the most, and older people often requiring less. Poor sleep and sleep habits can quickly lead to health problems, depression and anxiety, which can be a catch-22.
Going to bed at the same time every night and turning off the TV and other electronic devices 1 hour before bed can be beneficial.
We all receive a lot less direct sunshine than we did 40 years ago, as we have all heard and understood the message that the radiation from the sun is bad for us and causes skin cancer. This advice, combined with a more indoor lifestyle, has meant that a record number of people in Australia are now vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with many chronic illnesses.
Sunlight is also important to help regulate circadian rhythms, to promote better sleep and wake patterns.
Studies have shown us that people who exercise one hour a day are fitter, leaner, happier, live longer and are less likely to develop disease. This is independent of the type of exercise that is done. I recommend to people to have a mix of exercise throughout the week and to aim for 60 minutes every day.
The exercise can take many forms such as walking, running, swimming, tennis, dancing, yoga and weights. These exercises can provide social interaction, intellectual challenge, cardiovascular fitness, coordination and balance.
In our society we revere the busy person! Anyone who is overworked and juggling many jobs is someone to respect and try to emulate! Few of us stop and ask ourselves if our busy-ness is contributing to our health and happiness, or if it might be making us sick.
Time in nature, reading a good book and just being by yourself or with someone you love is important for good health.