50 Steps to a Healthy New Year

Dr. Faisal Khan, MBBS, SMLE, MPH, MCPS, MRCPCH-UK (Scholar),
Al-Dar Hospital Madina Munawara, Saudi Arabia.

Let’s start the new year 2019 with 50 steps to get healthier, more energetic, more positive, more fit, more successful and happier routine life. When you will go through these important steps and healthy habitual behaviours you will set new year up for your good health and successes.

  1. Start your every day with some stretching exercises and work out when you wake up in morning. Research shows that daily exercise brings tremendous benefits to your health including lowering the risk for several diseases, helping with weight loss, and adding to your life span. Select exercises you enjoy, but sometime change the routine to keep it more interesting. The more energetic and active you are, the better you will feel mentally and physically.
  2. Brush your teeth twice daily with a suitable-bristled brush. Most of people don’t know how to use tooth brush properly. Improper teeth brushing can cause as much bad for the teeth and gums as not doing brush at all. For a proper brushing hold your toothbrush in the same way that you would hold a pen, and brush for minimum for two minutes. This comprises brushing the teeth, junctions of the teeth and gums, roof of the mouth and tongue. And you don’t need a fancy, angled toothbrush, just a well-made, soft-bristled one that you replace each month.
  3. Pray regularly and be spiritual. A research done by the formidably sober and scientific Harvard University found that patients who prayed recovered more quickly than those who never prayed, even if they were not aware of the prayer.
  4. Never skip breakfast. Eating a proper breakfast is one of the best things you can do if you want to lose weight. Breakfast skippers have more tendency to gain weight. A well-balanced breakfast contains fresh fruits or fruit juice, high-fibre breakfast cereal like oats, low-fat yoghurt or milk, whole-wheat toast or slice of brown bread, and one boiled egg.
  5. Eat balanced and healthy diet. Replacing natural foods for processed food items will bring you numerous health benefits. Healthy eating is the best way to feel great, increase energy levels, and stabilize mood to set yourself for more successes.
  6. Add rainbow in your meals. Bright coloured fruits and green vegetables are high in anti-oxidants that give a boost to your health by removing free radicals that damage your cells. These nutrition-rich super foods are full of vitamins, minerals, and fibres. Make a habit to eat some vegetables and fruits at every meal.
  7. Protect yourself from sun rays. It’s important to wear sunscreen at day times to protect you from excessive sun exposure even in winters. Choose right sunscreen, water-resistant sunscreen with a SPF 30 or higher. Apply a thick and even coat of SPF at least 15 to 30 minutes before heading out in the sun.  
  8. Surround yourself with good company who support and enrich your career and your life, as doing so may make you a happier person. There is no question that the quality of your personal relationship with your parents, siblings, wife, kids and with friends has great effect on your health, wellbeing and successes.
  9. Understand the value of deep breathing even through stressful situations. Many people do not realize just how important deep breathing is to overall wellbeing. If any time you feel stress is coming on, step away from the situation for a while and take a couple of deep breathes. This will help to expel tension and stress from your body and it can be the most relaxing and detoxifying thing you can do to deal with the situation.
  10. Stay happier and make habit to laugh more. Whole-hearted laughter is not only a fun, but it’s also a very powerful tool. A big belly laugh can have many positive effects on your health. These include easing anxiety and stress, strengthening immune system, and lowering high-blood pressure. Sharing a hearty laugh brings people together and gives you an immediate enhancement to your happiness.  
  11. When planning your week, make it a priority to schedule in time for doing your favourite activities and spending time with your family, friends and relatives. Sharing quality time, events and activities with the people who care most about will help your recharge.
  12. Switch off your mobile at least once in a week for 12 to 15 hours. On one side internet and latest technologies are the most incredible tools, forever be a part of our lives. On the downside, many have become obsessed with constantly checking Facebook, twitter, other social media sites, playing games, or endless hours surfing. Completely unplugging once in a week for a screen free day will open up that time to spend doing something just for you or for your family and friends.
  13. It’s no secret that your happiness increases when you help others. So, why not doing something voluntarily for a cause that you actually care about? There are so many ways to contribute your efforts which can help you feel good about yourself and your place in the world.
  14. Get Adequate Sleep. You can’t overestimate the value of sleep. For adults, sleeping at least seven hours a night is what you need to regenerate your body and stabilize energy levels. Children need even more. Among the numerous benefits from a peaceful good sleep, it helps you live longer, lowers stress, and sharpens your memory.
  15. Be Present, because you cannot change the past. The present moment is all you have. Embrace it, and enjoy it! The here and now is the only place to be, in fact it’s the only place you can be.
  16. Bone up daily. Get your daily calcium by taking a glass of milk or eating a cup of yoghurt. It’ll keep your bones strong. Remember that your bone mass and density drop down after the age of 30 years.
  17. Prevent yourself from low blood sugar as it caused nervousness, shakiness, and weakness. Eat small, healthy and regular meals. Herbal or green tea will also calm your exhausted nerves.
  18. Eating unrefined carbohydrates, nuts and bananas boosts the formation of serotonin (A feel-good hormone). Small volumes of protein comprising the amino acid tryptamine can give you a boost when anxiety and stress tires you out.
  19. Load up on vitamin C. Daily we need at least 90 mg of vitamin C and the best way to get this is by eating at least two servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day. So, hit the oranges, grapes and guavas!
  20. Don’t smoke and if you smoke already, do everything in your power to quit. Lung diseases caused by smoking include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic bronchitis. Cigarette smoking is the one most common cause of lung cancer. If you are the patient of asthma, tobacco smoke can trigger a severe attack or make an attack worse. Smokers are 12 to 13 times more tend to die from pulmonary diseases than non-smokers.
  21. Do regular medical check-ups, specially check-ups of your breasts. Not just because breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in all over the world, it is also common in men. For women the best time to go for medical check-up of breasts is in the first week after their period.
  22. Beat the sneezes. There are more than 235 allergens, some rare and some are very common. If you’re a sneezier due to pollen, then close your car’s windows while driving, rather switch on the internal fan (drawing air from the outside), and avoid being outdoors between 5am and 10 am when pollen counts are at their highest. Stick to holidays in areas with low pollen counts, such as the seaside and stay away from freshly cut grass.
  23. Apply moisturiser while your skin is still damp, it will be absorbed more easily. Adding a drop of olive oil to your bath with help keep your skin well-moisturised too.
  24. More than 80% of type 2 diabetics die of heart disease, so make sure you control your glucose levels, and watch your blood pressure and cholesterol counts.
  25. Drink more water and stay hydrated. Your body is composed of 60% water. The functions of bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, creation of saliva, circulation, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.
  26. Benjamin Franklin is quoted to have said: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”. It helps you better to deal with negativity and enhance your chances of success. Morning people are more active, energetic, persistent, cooperative, conscientious, and obviously more successful.
  27. Use iodized salt, as Iodine is a mineral found in some foods. The body needs iodine to make thyroid hormones. These hormones regulate the body’s metabolism and various other important functions. The body also requires thyroid hormones for proper brain and bones development during pregnancy and infancy.
  28. Always try to avoid junk foods. When junk food is used very often, the surplus fat, simple carbohydrates, and processed sugar found in junk food contributes to an increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and many other chronic health conditions.
  29. Adopt good hand hygiene practices. Hand hygiene is the one most important requirement to prevent spread of bacteria and viruses. People primarily acquire infections if their hands are contaminated by the environment.  It’s obvious that by improving hand hygiene, you are decreasing diseases caused by infections.
  30. Immunization is one of the safest ways for you to protect your health. Your requirement for immunization doesn’t end when you are grownup and become an adult even. Get vaccinated to shield yourself and your loved ones from a long list of diseases. Don’t believe on myths about vaccinations.
  31. Enjoy some fresh air whenever you can. It supports your immune system to fight off diseases more effectively due to healthier white blood cells. Breathing in stale, dusty and polluted air will not supply your body with enough oxygen to keep your cells fuelled and functioning properly.
  32. Cut down on your saturated fat intake, and choose foods that contain unsaturated fats instead, such as vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados. For a better and healthy choice, use just a small amount of vegetable oils and reduce the use of butter, lard or ghee.
  33. Eat less salt, not more than 5 grams a day for adults. It will help to reduce blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and coronary heart attack. The principal benefit of reducing salt intake is a corresponding decrease in high blood pressure.
  34. Avoid caffeine and sugary drinks. The Mayo Clinic state that consuming more than 500 to 600 mg of caffeine a day may lead to insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat and even muscle tremors. More than 4 cups of coffee linked to early death as caffeine consumption may raise blood pressure. It can increase risk of heart attacks among young adults.
  35. Count all your blessings. Feelings of gratitude can lower stress. Instead of over-thinking and counting worries, try putting numbers to your blessings. Most of studies suggest that appreciation can decrease stress and anxiety by stimulating the areas in the brain that the release feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine.
  36. Become more observant. Notice everything that surrounds you. In-fact, being observant is one natural human instinct that supports us constantly to improve, become more competitive in our environment and simultaneously become more emphatic towards others.
  37. Collect new ideas. Ideas and thoughts tend to evaporate from your mind too fast, so always write down in your notebook or mobile notepad.
  38. Develop a habit to act. To succeed, you need to act something different from the crowd and take a new and more positive approach.
  39. Read to increase the knowledge. Reading has a significant number of benefits including mental stimulation, stress reduction, knowledge, vocabulary expansion, memory improvement, analytical thinking skills, better writing skills, improved focus and concentration.
  40. Face your fears. That’s how you conquer them. It implies analysing it, thinking and creating a path which could help you to overcome on your worries and fears.
  41. Admit your mistakes and take responsibility.  Never try to get others to admit the blunders done by you. When others will take the burden of your mistakes, then your leadership credibility will go out the window.
  42. Refine your goals. Your goals may change continuously as life continues to change. During this progression, you will be able to make them more specific, more realistic, and more achievable. It is perfectly okay to refine your goals several times in your life!
  43. Believe in yourself. If you don’t trust in yourself, then it’s really hard to grow and learn. Like knowledge, confidence can’t be transferred. The first person that needs to believe and trust in you, is you. This is not about inspiration, motivation or drive, it’s about believing that, yes you can do it.
  44. Ask for wisdom. It’s called experience as from experience comes through practical and testimony. Amongst us if anyone lacks wisdom, they should ask from God, who gives generously and kindly to all without finding fault, and it will be given to them.
  45. Look for reasons to be happy. When you’re joyful and happy, you feel confident, purposeful and in harmony with your true self. People who are truly happy are healthier, kinder, caring and have better relationships. Truly happy people don’t try to get happy.
  46. Empower yourself to succeed. Self-empowerment is the basic driving force of our own life, setting goals, and making positive choices. Basically, it means that we have to understand our strengths and weaknesses, and have belief in ourselves.
  47. Take good care of you. Live Healthy, eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, exercise regularly and staying positive is all about taking care of yourself.
  48. Practice good hygiene in daily routine life. Hygiene is any practice or activity that you do to keep you and your environment healthy and clean. Washing hands properly, coughing into your elbow, and regular cleaning of your house and living areas are all part of good hygiene.
  49. See friends to build your sense of belonging. Good friends are good for your health. Sincere friends can help you to celebrate good times and will provide support during bad times. Friends save you from loneliness and will give you a healthy companionship and company. Friends can also raise your sense of belonging, determination and purpose of life, boost your happiness and reduce your stress, improve your self-confidence and self-worth, help you cope with any trauma, illness, job loss or the death of any loved one. Best friends play a significant role in promoting your overall health and helpful for each other to find true peace of mind. It is proved that people with strong social support have a lesser risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies have even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.
  50. Don’t compare yourself to others. In fact, it is a feeling of defeat, when you feel that you aren’t as good as someone else. Unhappiness and sadness resulting from comparing yourself to others is a never-ending process. It’s only a waste of time. If you will consume all of your time comparing yourself with others, you will never have sufficient time to achieve what you really want.