By Jennifer McGregor @ publichealthlibrary.org, Photo via Pixabay

Although our bodies are complicated, they can be relatively easy to care for. Most healthy activities benefit multiple areas of the body, from the cardiovascular system to the brain. If getting healthy sounds like a daunting task, start with these small but significant strategies. You’ll find that even the simplest actions can have a huge impact on your overall health and happiness.

Optimize Your Healthcare Coverage

If you haven’t reviewed your healthcare coverage in a while, now is the time. Health insurance plans can change every year, and it’s crucial that you stay up to date on your coverage so you can make the most out of your benefits. This is especially important for seniors who are eligible for Medicare Advantage plans. Many of these plans, such as those offered by UnitedHealthcare, provide extra coverage for dental, vision, and prescription drugs as well as access to fitness programs. Whether you’re a senior or not, take a moment to review your healthcare coverage and ensure it meets your needs.

Care for Your Teeth

Make sure your healthcare coverage includes dental care. According to Colgate, failing to care for your teeth can lead to heart disease and respiratory problems. This is on top of cavities, bad breath, and painful tooth decay. The best way to prevent these health issues is to engage in regular oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice per day with fluoride toothpaste, and remember to floss. Try to see your dentist every 6 months for a checkup and preventive cleaning. If your dentist is too rough, expensive, or inconvenient to visit, consider switching dentists to give your teeth the proper care they need.

Stock up on Healthy Snacks

Another good way to keep your teeth healthy is to avoid sugary foods, drink plenty of water, and snack on crunchy fruits and veggies. This habit will benefit many other parts of your body too! Healthy snacks will provide an instant energy boost to your brain and body, thanks to the dense array of nutrients available in whole foods. Healthy foods can also curb cravings by preventing that debilitating blood-sugar crash we are all too familiar with.

Stock your fridge with cut-up fruit and vegetables for easy snacking. You’re much more likely to snack on these items when they’re ready to go, especially if you have a busy life. You may also want to get some dry snacks, like sunflower seeds or nuts, to satisfy those salty cravings. If you’re looking for something more interesting, try these healthy snack ideas from EatThis.

Call a Friend or Family Member

When it comes to your mental health, regular socialization is one of the easiest ways to keep your mind resilient against stress and mood disorders. According to Medical News Today, face-to-face contact triggers a response in our brain that lowers stress. Social interaction may also relieve pain and prevent mental decline as we grow older. While in-person socialization is ideal, talking on the phone is the next best thing. So, the next time you’re about to text someone, consider giving them a call, or ask them to meet you for coffee instead.

Get Outside First Thing Every Morning

Another easy thing you can do for your mental and physical wellbeing is to go outside immediately after waking up. Exposing your eyes to bright, morning light will tell your brain that it’s time to stop producing sleep hormones. Instead, your brain will begin to activate hormones that energize your body for the day. This is highly recommended for people who suffer from insomnia or have trouble waking up in the morning—light exposure will reset your internal clock and make it easier for you to fall asleep at night. For best results, head outside for 30 to 45 minutes as soon as you get out of bed. This is a great opportunity to get a little exercise in too!

There are endless ways to care for your body and mind. Instead of following someone else’s health plan, try a variety of healthy habits until you’ve created a self-care routine that works for you. Perhaps you’d rather fit in a morning yoga session than go for a walk outside, or maybe you value time alone over socialization. Each of us is unique, and your healthy self-care plan should reflect that!

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