Staying Healthy On A Budget
Helping prevent disease and illness doesn’t have to cost a fortune – or even a penny, in some cases. With the price of private healthcare skyrocketing each year, practicing simple, preventive health measures can be a cost-effective way to help reduce your risk, alleviate or even avoid common ailments. Consider the following techniques.
Healthy On A Budget
- Wash your hands frequently. Most of our contact with germs is with our hands, and scrubbing them with soap and water can ward off colds, flu, and other infectious illnesses. Make it a point to wash your hands throughout the day – antibacterial soaps aren’t necessary, just use regular soap and water.
- Avoid touching your face. Germs carried on your fingers and hands are easily transmitted to the body through your mouth, nose and even eyes. Be conscious of when you touch your face.
- Make time for rest. Not getting enough rest can have negative effects on your immune system, energy levels and mental alertness. Create a sleep and rest schedule and try to stick to it.
- Learn to manage your stress. Unhealthy stress can lead to a host of health issues, from an increased risk of heart disease to an impaired immune system. Cost-effective measures to manage stress include keeping a journal (it can help you to release pent-up feelings that can be a burden both mentally and physically); taking a “news fast” – avoiding the news on TV, the internet, papers and magazines; and practicing the many relaxation techniques Dr. Weil recommends – watch these videos The 4-7-8 Breath and Breath Counting.
- Eat fiber-rich foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and fiber-rich cereals help keep your body running smoothly. Simply choose foods higher in fiber over heavily processed products with less nutritional value.
- Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants help counter oxidative stress, boost your immune system and decrease your risk of illness. The best source of antioxidant vitamins and minerals is a wholesome, varied diet – concentrate on eating plenty of fresh (preferably organic) fruits, vegetables and nuts. After dinner, try fruit and nuts instead of a traditional, calorie- and fat-laden dessert.
- Take a daily antioxidant supplement. A daily antioxidant supplement can help fill in any gaps in a healthy diet. Look for a quality product that contains a full spectrum of antioxidants and essential nutrients.
- Wear sunscreen. Using a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher – along with a wide-brimmed hat and UV-protective sunglasses – can help prevent skin cancer and skin damage. Simply switch to a lotion with sunscreen in it.
- Take a walk every day. Regular exercise, especially when done outdoors, can invigorate the body and mind, help keep off extra pounds, lessen the risk of disease and illness, inspire creativity and boost your mood. The only cost of a daily walk is a time commitment – aim for 45 minutes.
- Challenge your mind. As a member of this site, you have access to free crossword puzzles – take advantage of them, or pick up a local, free paper with word puzzles in it. Research shows that the old adage “use it or lose it” applies to your mental power as much as to the rest of your body.
- Try alternative therapies. For many illnesses, receiving traditional therapies such as acupuncture and massage can be enjoyable and practical alternatives to taking medications, and they can be far less costly. Talk to your physician about wellness therapies, and look for schools in your area – many offer discounted rates when a student performs the service.
- Get social. People who stay active in their community and make it a point to spend time with friends tend to experience fewer health issues. Create a list of people who make you happy, laugh, inspired or alive, and spend more time with them. In addition, look into free activities or classes offered in your area that. appeal to you and where you can interact or make new friends.
- Look for discounts. Being on a budget means every dollar counts. Take advantage of senior discounts, food and medication coupons, and senior-oriented events. Not only is it cost effective, but the thrill of a new discovery can be inspiring!