King County’s Employee Assistance and Making Life Easier Programs.I don’t want to over share, but I am currently seeing a nutritionist for some digestion issues I have been battling for the past several years. While chatting with her today, she shared with me her “graphic” version of health. As soon as she showed me this, I was eager to share it with all of you.
What a GREAT description of how to best prioritize our health. I have to admit, I am not sure that I have EVER thought of my health in this way. AND it makes so much sense!!
Let’s talk look a little more closely at each of the levels, starting with the base.
Sleep: How much is enough and what is the down-side of not getting enough sleep.
Though scientists are still learning about the concept of basal sleep need, one thing sleep research certainly has shown is that sleeping too little can not only inhibit your productivity and ability to remember and consolidate information, but lack of sleep can also lead to serious health consequences and jeopardize your safety and the safety of individuals around you.
For example, short sleep duration is linked with:
- Increased risk of motor vehicle accidents
- Increase in body mass index – a greater likelihood of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation
- Increased risk of diabetes and heart problems
- Increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse
- Decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information
Not enough sleep matters!
The next subject is so overwhelmingly huge, I don’t even know where to start. I guess the right question to ask is: do you have a stress management plan? If so, how is it working? Below is a check-list inventory to learn your own stress level.
Stress Checklist Inventory
This inventory checklist is a quick and easy indicator if your stress level is too high. It can also help you recognize some of the conditions that determine your stress level.
To complete the inventory, assign a number from zero to five to each of the statements below as they relate to your experience:
0 = Never
3 = Sometimes
5 = Almost always
Stress Checklist Items:
- I have a lot of worries at home, at work or both
- I have too much responsibility
- My family makes too many demands on me
- My work situation is unclear; there are too many people to satisfy
- I do not have enough time for leisure or taking care of personal needs
- There is a great deal of time pressure at work
- I have difficulty expressing how I feel about situations or people
- I have trouble focusing on a given task
- I have difficulty communicating with my spouse, children, family, boss or co-workers
- I handle most things alone with little support from my family, friends or co-workers
- I do not have enough say in decisions that affect me
- My personal needs are in conflict with my work or family
- I am short of cash or have other personal/business financial concerns
- My life is one crisis after another
- I regularly have headaches (2-5 times per week)
- I have muscle tension in my shoulder, neck or back
- I have stomach pains, indigestion or other digestive problems
- I regularly take aspirin, indigestion medication, sleeping pills or tranquilizers
- I have a tendency to overeat – especially sweets
- I regularly have to drink to relax
- I drink a great deal of coffee or other caffeinated beverages
- Family, friends, or people at work tell me I drink too much
- Most of my time is spent sitting – I get little exercise
- I would like to make changes in my life but do not know how
Now add up your numbers and use the total to determine generally where your stress level is at.
If you scored in the Bad or Dangerous range, your next task is to make a plan to lower your stress level. Start by checking out King County’s Employee Assistance and Making Life Easier Programs. At least call them for additional resources. It’s free!
Another enormous subject. I can share with you the wisdom I absorbed from my recent visit with my nutritionist. We discussed how to balance blood sugar – the most important piece of the nutrition puzzle. Here are her 3 rules:
- Eat a combination of Protein, Fat and Fiber at every meal and snack
- Eat every 3 hours during the day
- Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of rising.
This is a great starting point to improving your health and wellness. Try it for a couple of weeks and see how it goes.
Just do it. At least 3 times per week. Everything counts (like walking, gardening, housework).
Everything else you enjoy
This is the easy part. You know what you love to do and it will be even better if the other pieces of your pyramid are in order. Lots of fun, laughter, and enjoyment. Whatever that is, get lots of it.