A wise parent once said, “The days are long, but the years are short.” It’s true! The days seem to trudge on, but you blink and your baby is going to Kindergarten and then directly graduating high school. Wait now college is around the corner! So, how do we get the most out of the time we have here on earth? How do we enjoy those little moments while helping our families accomplish big things? How do we make sure we are getting the healthiest time we can on earth, so we can enjoy what matters most?
The answer is to prioritize your time. We all have the same amount of time in the day (psst…it’s 24 hours, no one can buy more or create more). But what we do with our time will determine if we’re healthy and happy. That can mean more capacity to enjoy and do the most with the time we have. And I want to share with you a great way to make time longer for you: live healthy.
So you have 24 hours in a day. How do you want to spend it? If you’re like me, the answer is with family and friends and sharing with others what a healthy life looks like, The Wellness Way style. But if you’re sick in bed, you’re missing out on time. If you’re running from doctor’s appointment to doctor’s appointment, you’re missing out on time. If you’re planning trips to the pharmacy, you’re missing out on time. Instead, be preemptive. Focus on living a healthy lifestyle, so that you have more years to give to your priorities.
Priorities are the things that are most important to you. We all have them and if you have read the article by Dr. Patrick Flynn, Priorities for Health, you know it is important to identify your priorities to make sure you are meeting your needs and the needs of those who are most important to you. Have you written your priorities down? Most people start with 5 or 6. But make sure YOU are on that list. If you aren’t at the top of the list your health will suffer.
Also, by focusing your time on your priorities, you will eliminate unnecessary stress. You know what stress leads to, right? It can lead to a weakened immune system which means more illness. Here are a few things that I’ve done, to optimize my time so I can focus on my priorities and lead a healthy life:
There’s Time for Health
Focus on What’s Important to You?
Look at your list of 3 things that are the most important to you. THIS is what you focus your time on. THIS is where you come back to when you need to be grounded. We often go off on a tangent because we see a distraction, such as the latest gossip, social media posts or trying to work more to afford the latest fad. Put on the blinders and avoid these distractions. They’re not worth your time or energy. Your priorities are. By doing this, the unnecessary stresses will subside, letting your health grow in the right direction.
Spend Time with Those Who are Important to You
Life can get hectic and busy! If you’re lucky enough, you receive a lot of invitations to parties and events. If you’re successful or talented you will get a lot of people asking for your help. You probably also get a lot of requests to volunteer. Here’s something to practice. Go to a mirror, look in the mirror and say this one word, “No.” You don’t have to go to every party you’re invited to. You do not have to honor every request. Instead, focus on the invites and requests that support your priorities. If you enjoy volunteering or a full social calendar keep it full, but only if it supports your priorities. Make sure it also leaves room for things that keep you healthy like sleep, healthy eating and exercise.
Speaking of sleep…
Get enough sleep! Focusing your time on sleep will improve your health drastically. Our bodies recoup and re-energize when we’re catching some Zzzs. Aim for 8 hours of solid sleep. The best thing to do before bed is to put down all electronics and keep them out of the bedroom. Give yourself a 30 minute buffer of no screen time before bed. This will help your body and mind to accept your bedroom as a peaceful and safe haven. Plus, your immune system will thank you for giving it time to rebuild.
Put down that phone!
Many are guilty of it. Have you been sitting across the table from your significant other or a friend while both of you just stare at your phone. You should be talking and connecting! Instead, you’re playing games on your phone, looking through social media posts or reading the news. All of these things can wait. Put down the phone and reconnect. Make your relationship, whether it is with friends or family, a priority. Unless the person you are sitting across from really isn’t a part of that priority list. Then why are you there? Get out of there and spend time with people who are part of your priorities.
Research has shown that we, as a society, are addicted to our phones. If you want proof, just look around you this holiday season. You’ll notice that many people at family parties are “escaping” into their phones. You may be surprised though that it’s not just the younger generations, but all ages that have become “vidiots”. Connection with other people does wonders for your mental health.
One of the best ways to be proactive about your health is to see a capable health care provider who tests to find out the cause of any symptoms you may be having. That little fatigue, acne, PMS, headaches, weight gain or other symptoms might be a sign of a bigger health issue. My father struggled with mental illness and was put on many medications. He never got to the root of his health problem and the medications and his poor lifestyle led to damage to his kidney, liver and heart. Unfortunately, he passed away before I found The Wellness Way. I didn’t know about The Wellness Way and the different approach that could be used to help support the best health for each individual. I wish I would have known for my father’s health. I wish we could have had more time.
If you aren’t proactive about your health by taking care of yourself and getting properly tested, you can cut your time short. Many people use medication to get rid of symptoms, which then gives them a “medical” excuse to keep living the same unhealthy lifestyle, because the medication is covering up the symptoms instead of curing them. Testing helps to expose this lie, a lie which robs people of their valuable time.
You have Time for Health!
Time: We all have the same amount in a day. I want to get the most of it, so I can focus on my priorities: myself, my wife, my kids and spreading health through The Wellness Way. We can’t change the past, but we can prioritize and optimize the time we have now.
When you focus your time on your health, and how your body is functioning, you’ll regain time that you could have lost going down the old path. When you start to feel better you will be amazed by how much more time it seems you have. How do you prioritize how you want to spend it? Asking this question every few months can help realign you to better health and a happier life. So I want to pose the question to you, “what will you spend your time on?”
Written by Dr. Dennis Ciccone