The great thing about being healthy is that it helps you feel good as well as doing you good. Research shows that getting regular exercise can lift your mood and helps you feel better, reducing symptoms for people with depression. For people with psychotic illnesses, cutting out cannabis has been shown to reduce symptoms and makes it less likely a psychotic episode will recur.
It may even mean that your doctor can look at reducing the dose of your antipsychotic medication.
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Buying junk food, smoking and drinking alcohol is expensive. A healthier lifestyle means being less at risk of developing illnesses, which start to affect us as we grow older. Weight gain is a common side-effect of some medications for Schizophrenia and related conditions, and this can be associated with a number of physical health problems. Working towards a healthy weight and waist size is a good idea for lots of reasons therefore. Just like bad habits, good habits are hard to shake. For example, many people say the more regularly they exercise, the more they enjoy it — really missing it when they have to skip a session.
Doing something about getting healthy helps you feel you are taking control of your life. This feels good. Kate is 25 years old and was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder seven years ago. Since being diagnosed she has gained 12 kg. While Kate had tried losing weight before, she would always go back to her old snacking habits. This time she is determined to make it work. She can start on this by getting into the habit of buying and eating foods, which are tasty but not full of fat, such as:. Check out this list of easy healthy things, and see how many you are already doing:.
A lot of what we do is driven by habit. This is when it can be helpful to think about what positive things you can do with your time and energy. The good news is that there are other, better ways to make yourself feel good. Having a mental illness, and even taking medication, can make people feel tired a lot of the time.
Sometimes even the thought of being physically active or cooking a good meal can seem impossible. But eating better, more wholesome food can give you some of the energy you have been lacking. And the same goes for exercise. Once you start to make it a new habit, you will start to feel you have more energy than before. Over-eating, drinking alcohol, smoking or using illegal drugs can seem like easy ways of dealing with stress and anxiety.
Exercise and Fitness Tips to Improve Your Health
Unfortunately, they will only make things worse in the long run. Think about other things to help you relax which suit you — for example, listening to peaceful music, talking to someone, breathing exercises, Tai Chi or Yoga. If anxiety persists you should also talk it over with a health professional. It can be tempting to deal with the anniversary of a sad event by doing something unhealthy, like binge-eating or getting drunk. Think about how you could break this habit by planning to do something completely different around that time — for example, by arranging to go away to visit someone or starting a new course or hobby.
Some medications used to treat mental illness can have side-effects such as weight-gain and making people feel drowsy, restless or hungry.
This can be a challenge to building up a healthy lifestyle but there are common-sense ways of dealing with it. For example, if you feel drowsy in the mornings, arrange to exercise in the afternoon.
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If you regularly crave sweet foods, keep fresh fruit or fruit snacks around the house instead of biscuits. One of the most common harmful habits around is smoking, and people affected by mental illness are much more likely to be cigarette smokers than average. If you smoke, think about how you could make the first moves to quitting: talk to your doctor about aids such as nicotine replacement and how this might interact with medications.
For further information, please see the Guide to a Smokefree Life. Chances are that you already have some healthy habits — recognise and build on these. For example, if you sometimes buy fruit to eat, then try buying more of this and fewer biscuits and chips.
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Rushing into things is not a good way to develop healthy new habits. Pace yourself by making small changes, which are more likely to be kept up. Go a different way through your local park, or explore a new route altogether. Be ready for this by being flexible rather than too hard on yourself or just giving up. This is a good idea for everyone, and especially for people with a mental illness as some of those affected can be at greater risk of physical health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.
For this reason it is important to see a GP regularly and have periodic checks of weight, waist measurement and blood tests for cholesterol, blood sugar, and liver function among others.
The doctor can also advise on a healthy lifestyle, including an improved diet, getting regular exercise, quitting smoking, and sleeping well, for example. Danny is He was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in his early twenties and has been taking medication regularly for seven years. Danny was a good tennis player at high school, but stopped playing when he became unwell. He is still a fan of the sport and enjoys watching it on TV.
For example:. It could be giving up smoking, sleeping more regularly, losing a bit of weight, or even just being more physically active.
Eating the Right Foods for Exercise
Joining a group where others are trying to reach the same goal can give you the extra push you may need to keep going. This might be a gym, a gardening club, a neighbourhood house or whatever suits you. Having someone to support you can be a big help in getting started, and can make a real difference to keeping you on track too. Remember to keep an eye on your mental as well as physical health. If you start to feel down and like not bothering, it could be a sign that your mental health needs some extra care, so make sure you tell your doctor or case manager about it.
Remember that relaxing and not getting stressed are essential parts of being healthy. There are lots of free and easy ways to stay relaxed, for example:. Being healthy can change the way you feel about your whole life. Here are some examples of rewards you can give yourself which are enjoyable and cost little or nothing:.
There are bound to be times when you feel like giving up and going back to old habits. Try the following tips to deal with these times. Also takes less space on the pack. All as a way to charge extra or build market share. If they are lower fat but claim the same taste what extra has been added, a natural ingredient or a trans-fat, some extra salt?
What reaction do you get if you tell people, colleagues, or friends you are dieting? Sympathetic help? I think not. Is it truly possible to lose weight and keep it off if you do one without the other. I seem to always gain it back when I lose by diet alone or when I stop exercising and only stay on diet.
Maybe a walk every day can help in motivating people to exercise more and eat more healthy.