Your guide to going back to the basics.
Why You’re Here: You want to establish some basic wellness practices that you can rely on to keep you feeling good.
What’s Inside: Consider this Toolkit your crash course in personal wellness 101, helping you identify the needs you have and start practices to meet those needs on a regular basis.
How To Use It: This isn’t a prescription, so feel free to take or leave the ideas we share depending on what your body tells you and what habits fit in your life.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
When it comes to taking care of our overall health, we’re all about the basics. Basics like drinking water, getting enough sleep, eating your greens and moving your body. These are the pillars of feeling good, and often are swept under the rug in favor of what’s trending. What’s trending can be fun to try on, but the basics will keep you going so that you can do all the badass things you do.
You remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? In 1943, Maslow proposed five different human needs, categorized as physiological needs (food, air, shelter. etc.), safety, love + belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization. These needs begin with the most basic and then progress towards less basic - i.e. you’re going to need food before you need to realize your purpose in life. It’s outlined as a process - first take care of THIS, then take care of THAT. Think about Maslow when you’re thinking about the needs you have and the way you can build toward satisfying them, starting with the basics.
WHAT TO DO
The best next step is the one you take, whether that’s a little something you do to care for yourself today, a habit you start tomorrow, or the plan you make for long-term health. Here are some ideas for each.
Drink water. Go on a walk. Eat some greens. Get a good night’s sleep. Use these simple steps gain momentum and you can use to make bigger changes tomorrow.
Try creating your own hierarchy of needs. Make a plan for fulfilling that hierarchy with small, attainable habits. We love daily routines for this. For example if moving your body is a piece of your hierarchy, you might start by planning a lunchtime walk or a 10-minute workout in the morning.
Make a commitment to check-in with yourself: Ask how you’re feeling and revisit your hierarchy of needs. Are you meeting those essential needs with the basics? As life changes it’s important to redefine what your needs are as well as your plan for satisfying them.
How often do I go to each of my docs?
Everybody is different and every body is different. Often people go to the doctor multiple times a year, or they wait until they are sick to go, Dr. Jennifer Caudle, a family physician and assistant professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, New Jersey tells U.S. News & World Report. Generally, it’s not a good idea to wait until you are sick to see a doctor. But, you can follow general principles to know when the right time to visit your doctor might be. And, if you have special health concerns, there could be different timelines for that based on what your healthcare provider recommends considering what your health status might be.
Health care professionals suggest focusing on preventative care, which means not waiting until you are sick or in bad shape to treat a health concern. Instead of focusing on the illness, Caudle explains, it’s better to focus on the overall prevention through screenings, tests and vaccines.
Here are several questions to consider as you make choices about how often you want to see your doctor, which doctor and what fits your healthcare needs:
When was your last doctor visit? Do you tell your doctor about your stress levels, family and work life, sleep quality and diet and exercise habits?
Have you had any changes since your last appointment? Are there any symptoms bothering you physically, mentally or emotionally? Do you have a mole that is larger than when you first noticed it? Are you dating someone new and getting tested for STDs?
When did your doctor last follow-up with you? Do you need to do a follow-up?
Is there something you want to follow-up with your doctor about? Did you have any recent diagnoses or questions you might want to address to improve your health?
Do you have a chronic condition such as heart disease, asthma or diabetes? If so, you need to see a doctor more than once per year depending on how your condition is monitored and controlled.
For women, it’s important to keep up with Pap smears, or cervical cancer screening tests, every three years. Depending on your health concerns and what your doctor decides, they might need to see you sooner.
When it comes to your teeth, visiting the dentist is generally recommend about twice a year, however if you are at risk for periodontal disease, dental experts say it’s important to see your doctor more often and plan on having scheduled visits, The New York Times reports.
Now, about your eye doctor appointments. You are most at risk for developing eye and vision problems at early age and older age, according to the American Optometric Association. Adults ages 21 to 61 should see an eye doctor every two years, depending on eye health and vision concerns.
And if you do not like your doctor or doctors, or for some reason you don’t feel like they are answering your questions, by all means, change your doctor. Don’t be shy about speaking up for yourself and your health concerns. Change your health team and find someone else to help you on your path to healing and general wellness.
How much water should I be drinking?
It depends on your lifestyle when it comes to how much water you should be drinking. Typically health experts recommend 8 cups a day or 64 ounces of water. It’s important to avoid dehydration and also keep in mind that your body needs different things based on your age and health concerns.
For people age 19 and older, The Institute of Medicine recommends the following total water consumption (from foods or drinks containing water):
13 cups of water per day for men
9 cups of water per day for women
Girls and boys between ages 4 and 8 years should drink 40 ounces per day (five cups).
Kids 9 to 13 years old should drink 56 to 64 ounces (7 to 8 cups)—more for the older kids.
Kids 14 to 18 years old should drink 64 to 88 ounces (8 to 11 cups)—more for the older kids.
You may need to drink more water if you:
Consume things that dehydrate you, such as caffeine and alcohol.
Exercise. An extra 1.5 to 2.5 cups of water each day is recommended. You may need even more if you work out more than an hour or sweat a lot.
Live in a hot climate.
Live at an elevation greater than 8,200 feet above sea level.
Have a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. Your body loses a lot of fluids during these times. If you’re sick after a night of drinking, ditch the coffee and reach for some water or something with electrolytes, such as coconut water without added sweetener, which will better hydrate you.
How do I know if what I’m doing is working?
By setting goals and tracking your changes you can watch how your efforts are paying off. What habits or actions are you trying to change? Using simple tools or styles of collecting and organizing your thoughts could help.
Habit tracking might be a way to help you check if what you’re doing is working. Habit tracking can start as simple as using your calendar effectively to help set reminders and get organized, or even an app specifically tailored to help you accomplish your tasks can help you stay focused on what you want to achieve.
Also, these bullet journaling methods can also help you stay on track and help hold yourself accountable. By selecting categories or areas you’d like to focus on with bullet journaling, you can measure if you are feeling changes and watch your progression. You can monitor how you’re feeling so you can be mindful of your progress and celebrate those successful achievements.