Canada Health Day is today, May 12. It’s not Christmas, but taking care of your health is the best gift you’ll ever give yourself.
So what am I doing this week to celebrate? While I do make a point to check in with my doctor regularly, total health is so much more than visiting the clinic every few months. In my opinion, it’s the daily habits that truly make a difference.
Getting back to healthy habits can be way to eliminate your risk of heart failure and mental disorder. Next to cancer, heart disease is the number 2 leading cause of death (Stats Canada). And according to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health issue in any given year.
Here are a ten simple ways you can celebrate Canada Health Day that don’t involve a visit to your doctor.
1. Make exercise fun again.
Remember when you’d go to the park and shoot hoops with your friends for hours on end? You’re never too old to make it happen. Saskatoon has some offbeat exercise clubs including acroyoga, aerial dance, and beach dodgeball leagues. Or go old school and call a friend to play a game of 21.
2. Start a walking, or running club.
I don’t know about you, but walks are always so much better when catching up with friends. It doesn’t have to be a large group to be a club – keep it small if that’s what you prefer. All that matters is that you stay accountable and meet up a certain amount of times per week/month to walk it out.
3. Round up the girls for a healthy food potluck or BBQ.
Contrary to popular belief, not every gathering has to have meat. Try to go meatless and see how creative you can be! Assign each friend a dish to bring and ask them to keep it clean. Walk the aisles around the perimeter of your nearest grocery store (fresh produce and dairy), instead of going to the aisles in the middle (preserved foods).
4. Go to a workshop to learn about meditation.
If you follow along in the Do Sask Facebook group, there are a number of activities in the city that encourage meditation. Some are free! Give it a look and if you don’t see what you’re looking for, start up your own event or group.
5. Push yourself to reach some new goals.
Setting SMART goals each week is part of adopting healthy habits. Try to keep them within arm’s reach, as lofty goals such as “lose 10 pounds in 1 week” will often leave you more discouraged and more likely to fail in the long-run. I put things like “make meal plan on Sunday” and “limit alcoholic drinks to under 5 per week” on my list of goals. These are all working towards the larger goal of feeling healthier every day.
6. Park at the last lane of the parking lot.
My husband Chris often chooses the furthest parking spot from the door. I grumble, but it’s actually a good idea to work in exercise in everyday moments like going to work and running errands. That way you’re building up your recommended 60 minutes of activity per day over the course of the entire day, not lumping it together in one hour that you may not have.
7. Bike to work!
I used to bike commute in Calgary every day during the spring, summer, and fall rain or shine. (I tried it in winter, but fell off my bike down an icy hill and called it quits.) 45 minutes in the morning pumped me up for a day at the office, and 45 minutes at rush hour helped me avoid traffic calmed me down on the way home. As a bike commuter, I was the most fit I’ve ever been and felt pretty good about myself.
Now that I work from home, biking is something I have to work hard to make happen. I’m looking at joining a biking group to get back at it. Friendly reminder: Bike to Work Day is May 16!
8. Go screen-free.
As a solo business owner, it is hard for me to cut out screens out cold turkey. What I’ve started doing is plugging in my phone to charge at the end of the night starting at around 9 pm, so that it’s far enough away from me that I can wind down for the evening. Some of my colleagues have chosen a day of the week to go without their phones to greater well-being. Choose whatever method that works best for you and stick to it.
9. Sign your organ donor card.
A big decision like organ donation deserves some dedicated thought. On a positive note of encouragement, one of the Humbolt Broncos crash victims, Logan Boulet, saved the lives of 6 people because of his decision to sign. Organ donations have spiked since news was shared about this tragic hero. It’s definitely worth considering.
10. Learn more about mental illness.
Different forms of mental illness affect my family members, so I have been aware of it since I was a teen. I am not ashamed to admit that I have sought help for different issues tied to mental well-being throughout my adult life. Facing your fears and learning about psychiatric disorders will put you in a good place should you or anyone close to you be diagnosed with a mental condition.
These tips for a healthy lifestyle are things I have learned over my life time. I hope they inspire you to celebrate Canada Health Day in a fun way!
As a reminder, before you ever consider changing your diet or exercise routine, always consult a physician.
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