Millennials, the generation that brought the world avocado toast, jeggings, and BuzzFeed quizzes- how I loving being a part of you. If you would have asked me ten years ago if I thought my diet and exercise routine made me invincible to illness, my answer most likely would have been yes as I chugged my diet soda. But, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that no one is invincible and prevention is a key factor in staying healthy. I hate to admit it, but we’re…aging…and it’s time to make our health a priority.
We know we need to prioritize our health; the question becomes, how? How do we enter into this new stage of ‘adulting’? The answer is with grace and by following simple steps like the ones listed below.
When’s the last time you can honestly say that you had a physical exam? Many of us, the ‘average millennial’, have managed to fly under the radar when it comes to these types of exams. Due to the cost of health care, most of us have adapted the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality. However, physical exams aren’t designed for fixing problems, they’re actually designed to prevent them in the first place. “Prevention of chronic illness really begins in your 20’s and 30’s. To say you’re going to start making changes in your 40’s and 50’s after being diagnosed with multiple diseases is like trying to put a fire out on a house that is already halfway burned down. You won’t fully be able get that half back.” says Dr. Walter Gaman of Executive Medicine of Texas. If you’re looking for something more in depth than what health insurance will cover, consider having an executive physical or becoming a patient at a concierge medicine practice. You don’t have to be an executive to have one.
Get moving! Most of us are still working from home and our bodies are suffering. Any movement is good movement. If you’re stuck at a desk, keep your feet moving with an under the desk elliptical. If you’re able, stand up every hour and do 3 rotations of 15 jumping jacks, push-ups, and sit-ups. When you’re done for the day, go for a walk. Fresh air can help clear your mind after a long day.
If you’re struggling with ordering in to often, delete the apps, mask up, and go to the store. Shop in the surrounding isles and avoid the inner-most isles- these are more likely to contain processed foods. Skip the preservatives when you can and when it comes to caffeinated beverages, try to pick a more natural substitute like tea and coffee. Or better yet, just drink water. It’s recommended that adults drink half of their body weight (in pounds) in fluid ounces a day. So, for example, if you weigh 130 pounds, you should drink 65 ounces of water a day.
Life is difficult for most of us right now. It’s also time to break the stereotypes of journaling. You DO NOT have to start every entry with “Dear Diary..”, unless of course you want to. You can just write down words and thoughts as they come. This can help you process the emotions you’re feeling.
And finally, please know, that everything is going to be okay. Just breathe and take everything day by day.