The Real Deal with Candice Deal: The Four Pillars of Health

Yes, 2022 is quickly coming to a close.  The New Year’s celebration is just around the corner and for many of us, it seems that each year may go by faster than the last.  With 2023 on the horizon, we may be thinking of the traditional New Year’s resolutions.  If so, it’s likely that the majority of people will focus that resolution on some aspect of their health and how to improve it.  Health is more than just a number on a scale.  In order to have good health we have to be well rounded in several aspects of our health.

Pillar One: Sleep.

Sleep is vital and so often a difficult subject.  It’s easy to cut out sleep to make time for all the other things we feel are more important, but sleep is where our body and our brain health starts.  It’s estimated that 35% of American adults do not get enough sleep and that the average is less than seven total hours!  When we neglect our sleep, we can find ourselves irritable, or in a brain fog, making it hard to remember important things or simply just being less than our best when we need to be productive.

Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to serious health issues, including major ones like stroke, hypertension and even heart attacks.  Sleep is certainly something we should all be trying to make a priority.  Not only to feel better each day but to keep ourselves in long term health.  Many of us may make a habit of browsing the internet, social media or even watching bad television at night, none of which is probably serving us well, so cutting that out can lead to more time asleep and even better quality of sleep.  The blue light that our devices emit has been shown to keep the brain more active and can disrupt our natural cadence to get sleepy at night. Adding in some blue light glasses at work while you are on the computer and putting the phone away and turning off the television for a half hour before your bedtime may greatly improve the quality of sleep!

Pillar Two: Nutrition.

We are what we eat, they say!  Filling up our fuel tank with whole foods that truly serve our bodies and add to our nutritional health is an easy way to stay on a healthy track.  Cutting out processed foods will greatly increase our nutritional health.  Taking a multivitamin is also a great way to help close the gap in the nutrients we might be lacking from our diets.  This can be a simple swap of reaching for an apple versus a granola bar.  The simpler the ingredients, the better off your health.  Keeping nutrition simple is the key to doing this long term for your health goals.

Pillar Three: Movement.

Daily movement is the key.  If you can find fifteen minutes in your day to dedicate to movement you can greatly improve your overall well-being, in your body and your mind.  Some of us love to work out and some of us would rather not.  Research has shown that this can actually be linked to our genetics!  If you are someone who looks at a dumbbell or yoga mat with an eye roll, it could be that you are simply wired this way.  Maybe a few walks a day would be a better option.  Something as simple as walking is a great way to get your body moving, using your larger muscle groups which will in turn burn more calories, it’s also going to improve your brain function. Getting in a fifteen-minute walk can improve your cognitive performance up to 14% and help reduce sweet cravings!  If you are someone who loves to work out, chances are you are getting your daily movement in.

Pillar Four: Self-love.

Find your joy and do it daily, just for you.  Women often tend to feel guilty when they take time for themselves but we have to find ways to have a joyful mind.  Our mental health is a huge part of our overall health and it’s certainly not last or least on the list.  It doesn’t mean that you need to visit the spa daily – it can be something like reading, taking a bath, or taking your fur friend for a walk.  Whatever it is, do something that brings you joy each day.  This simple act can do a wealth of good for your mental health, it can also improve your mood, making you a kinder and calmer version of yourself.  It helps boost your immune system and you improve your life longevity.  Joy can even bring you success.  Studies have shown that if your team at work perceives you as a joyful person, you are 40% more likely to be offered a promotion.

When making any commitment to change, keeping it simple is the best way to keeping it going!

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