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Make Time Every Day to Reclaim Better Health

Jul 29, 2022 ● By Meena Malhotra
A woman running through a field with a flag.

Photo credit ikostudio for Adobe Stock

Preflight safety demonstrations always include a bit about the oxygen masks and this idea of “putting on your own mask before you help others.” In the times we find ourselves in today, this concept couldn’t be more true. If we don’t acknowledge our own needs first, we are not as effective in our relationships with others. Taking time to be present in the moment and making conscious choices can dramatically improve our health and well-being. In a nutshell, making time daily to consciously RECLAIM our lives.
R Rest: Not getting enough rest may have negative effects on health. Aim for seven to nine hours each night. To get restorative sleep, it’s important to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Limit exposure to artificial light from phones, TVs, computers screens, etc. at least one hour before bedtime. Avoid large meals and alcohol before bed. While a drink may help in falling asleep, it can also cause us to wake up more frequently during the night. Avoid caffeine at least six hours prior to bedtime. Controlled, 20-to-30-minute naps taken in the early-to-mid-afternoon can help increase cognitive performance and productivity.
E Exercise: But not too much. Set tangible goals for short term (daily, weekly, monthly) or long term (six to 12 months). Start with small, achievable goals that are easily outlined into specific steps that will enable completion of the goal. Then, as we meet those smaller goals with success, we can work our way up.
C Connect: Socialize with supportive friends, family or pets. Cultivate a variety of relationship types, both local and long-distance. Mix and match. Make virtual dates with long-distance friends or walk with local friends. Volunteer at a charity, food bank or animal shelter. Join a book club or a meetup group. Cooking classes are a great way to interact with new people and learn new skills.
L Lean Mass: Focus on how clothing fits rather than what the scale shows. Our waist should never be bigger than our hips. If there is one dietary advice which is right for everyone, it is to stay away from chemical additives in our food and eat real, whole foods.
A Anxiety: Take control of stress instead of letting it control our life. Take deep breaths; the 4-7-8 rule is a good place to begin. Inhale for four seconds, hold the breath for seven seconds and exhale over eight seconds. Any conscious breathing is beneficial, even one or two breaths standing in line at the grocery store or at a traffic signal. Note how relaxed the shoulders feel after this conscious breathing.
I Implement: Implementation of knowledge is wisdom, because knowledge cannot change anything until we take action on it. Don’t wait. Take action.
M Mindfulness: Take a quiet moment and pay attention to emotions. Conscious awareness of our inner state allows us to react intentionally. Start a gratitude journal. Meditate regularly: even if it is for a minute.
Meena Malhotra, M.D., is the medical director and owner of Heal n Cure, located at 2420 Ravine Way, Ste. 400, in Glenview. To get started with a personalized wellness plan, call 847-686-4444 or visit