Everyone tries to squeeze more time out of their 24-hour days. We put in extra hours at work, delay bedtime, or rise at the crack of dawn. But no matter what, there are only so many hours each day. So, we need to get our priorities right. We should not let our hectic lifestyles push our health needs into the background.
If this is happening to you, it may be time to take action and invest in your health now. While it can seem daunting, taking steps toward a healthier, happier lifestyle is easier than you think.
Beyond eating the right foods, there are plenty of things you can do to invest in your future health today. The following nine expenses are worth it for a healthier life.
1. Join a gym
Do you have an exercise plan? If not, now is the time to make one. It’s proven that regular exercise offers health benefits such as improving mood, boosting energy or preventing high blood pressure. Exercise also promotes good circulation and contributes to a healthy immune system. It is, in general, good for your overall health.
If exercise is new to your routine, you don’t have to jump in with both feet. Take it slow. Add just a few minutes of physical activity to your day.
Joining a gym is a great way to stay motivated and surround yourself with like-minded people. Some gyms have dietitians and personal trainers on staff, available to answer any questions you have about your health.
2. Talk to a therapist
Having a balance between mental and physical health is necessary. When considering expenses, don’t overlook the benefits of speaking with a therapist.
While therapists can help with emotional issues, they also offer support for a range of concerns. Perhaps you have a strained relationship with food or tend to binge-eat. A therapist is a great person to confide in. Maybe you have health goals in mind, but find it hard to stay focused. A therapist can help you create a plan and stick to it.
3. Take vitamins
Vitamins and nutrients are essential for proper body function. Most people can get their recommended daily dose by eating a well-balanced diet. However, some diets are deficient in vitamins and other nutrients. And, aging as well as certain chronic medical conditions can interfere with the absorption of vitamins from the gut.
Vitamin supplements can help fill these gaps. Popular supplements include fish oil, folic acid, iron, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin A. Before you head off to the drugstore to buy these medications, talk with your doctor to ensure the supplements will not interfere with your medical care
4. Consider Probiotics
It’s no secret that probiotics are a popular way to balance the friendly bacteria in your digestive system. But growing evidence also suggests probiotics can treat and prevent illnesses, with helpful gut bacteria keeping harmful pathogens at bay.
Probiotics have already been shown to aid with problems like:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Urinary Tract Infections
You can start by picking up a probiotic supplement at your local supermarket. Or, start adding probiotic goods to your diet, with foods like cottage cheese, greek yogurt or sauerkraut.
Related Content: The Gut-Brain Connection: How Probiotics Can Improve Mood
5. Cut High-Risk Behavior
High-risk behaviors include any behaviors that can result in severe consequences to your health. One common high-risk behavior is not wearing a seat belt when driving. This simple action can save your life or, at the very least, prevent painful injury. A related risk is driving while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances.
One high-risk behavior whose consequences don’t manifest until years later is smoking. While it can be easy to ignore negative health benefits that don’t occur immediately, in the long run, smoking can lead to cancer, heart disease, and a whole host of other diseases.
By cutting out these high-risk behaviors, you help your future self avoid the hassles that come along with sickness and injury.
6. Get regular checkups
No one likes going to the doctor. It takes time out of your busy schedule and feels like a hassle. But not visiting your doctor regularly, at least once a year, could mean missing import health signals. Major health conditions have a higher rate of being treated or cured when caught in the early stages.
Most health insurance plans offer preventative care. It’s important to visit your doctor regularly to make sure your body is functioning properly. Regular visits are also the perfect time to ask questions, like if it’s normal to get a headache every day.
7. Use a Health Savings Account
A health savings account (HSA) lets you set money aside for future health care. With this type of account, you can contribute money on a pre-tax basis and deduct your contributions during tax season. Later, when you need to withdraw money, you don’t need to pay taxes as long you use the money on healthcare expenses.
Not only does a health savings account provide plenty of valuable tax benefits, but it also creates peace of mind that you’ll have financial security should a health emergency arise.
8. Shop for life insurance
You never know when the unthinkable will happen. With the average funeral price around $8,000, life insurance is a great way to provide financial assistance to your surviving dependents.
- Provide an inheritance
- Replace lost income
- Pay estate taxes
- Make charitable donations
Many policies also offer an optional provision that lets you accelerate the death benefit while still living, providing money for any reason, such as treatment of a chronic or permanent illness.
Final expense policies, which are small life insurance policies for funeral expenses, can also offer coverage for people who may not otherwise qualify for traditional insurance.
9. Write a living will
A living will is nothing like the wills people use to designate who gets what property upon their death. A living will is a directive to medical personnel on how you wish to receive medical care if you’re unable to communicate your decisions.
Related article: Advance Directives Should Be Clinical, Not Legal Documents
Many living wills also allow you to choose a power of attorney, a person who carries out your wishes concerning end-of-life treatment.
The bottom line
Your body is a complex and beautiful organism. But it needs proper care.and maintenance. While you may not be passionate about eating organic food or joining a yoga class, there are still steps you can take for a healthier tomorrow. Remember:
Investing in your health is the best investment you will ever make.
Jennifer Landis, writer and founder of Mindfulness Mama, has been writing for the last decade and holds a BA in journalism. She is an avid goal setter and achiever.
Jennifer’s proudest accomplishments include two all-natural births, running a marathon, successfully making a croquembouche, and running two half marathons.
In addition to The Doctor Weighs In, her writing has appeared in VeryWell Family, Fortune, Scary Mommy, The Huffington Post, and Women’s Running. Tweet her your favorite health tips @JenniferELandis.