In the modern world with so many options to fill your day, sometimes your health gets set on the back burner. But as women, we must realize that our health is important – we have much to live for and we’ve been blessed with the gift to keep life flowing on this planet. We are nurturers; we must take care of ourselves so we can continue to help others grow.
Whatever the reason, no matter your age, focusing on your health will improve your life considerably. And surprisingly, it doesn’t take much to make your life a little healthier.
Step One – the Basics.
Every journey needs a starting point. This is yours – eliminate bad habits, build good ones. Simple, right?
We’re not saying no junk food, or late nights. When we say, “bad habits,” we mean – smoking, drinking, binge-eating. Cigarettes are so 1960s. Since then, we’ve learned how detrimental they can be to our health  and it’s time to quit. Drinking and binge-eating should ideally be eradicated. But it’s ok to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or have a few drinks on the weekend. And it’s ok to include your favorite pizza and ice cream in your diet. The key with alcohol and fun foods, is moderation! ,
While you’re slowly removing these bad habits from your lifestyle, start building some good ones! Start eating more nutritious foods like fruits, veggies, and proteins; healthy foods will fill you up for longer periods of time and give your body the nutrition it needs. Drink water (96 oz. minimum!!), to stay hydrated, and get enough sleep (7-9 hours), so your body and mind can function. Take a women’s specific multi daily (like LifeEssence™ Women or One ‘n’ Only™ Women), to provide extra nutrients and support for female related health concerns.* And exercise! Getting moderately intense exercise 150 minutes a week is good for your heart and physical fitness.
Switching out your habits will boost your body’s health drastically. It may be hard at first, but keep in mind that habits don’t form overnight. To build these new, good habits you might need to start them one at a time. Pick one thing to focus on and give yourself a specific goal – i.e., if your focus is eating healthier and cutting down on junk food, your specific goal could be something like, “I’m going to add a vegetable to my dinner plate every day this week, and I’ll have ice cream only on Monday & Friday.”
Continue setting small achievable goals for your new habits until they become second nature. If you want, you can also set a long-term goal with a reward to help implant the urgency of your new habit in your brain. For instance, if you’re quitting cigarettes, you could set a goal like, “I will be smoke free by September, and I will celebrate by using the money I’ve saved (from not buying cigarettes) to buy a fancy new outfit.”
Step Two – Supplement with Stress Relief.
As you conquer the basics and form those good habits, you’ll probably notice an improvement in your physical health that’s expanded to your mental health. You may find that your mental clarity and focus have already started to improve. Your regular exercise and sleep schedule is helping boost your brain health and cognitive function.  But it doesn’t have to stop there.
One of the biggest impairments to brain health is chronic stress. According to the American Psychology Association, women suffer more from stress then men.  Occasional stress is fine, your mind is meant to deal with it and reacts with the fight-or-flight response. Chronic stress means that your mind is in a constant state of fight-or-flight, trying to figure out if it needs to be stressed, and cannot not relax.
When we’re stressed, the body releases the hormone cortisol. Normally, cortisol is a healthy response. It’s responsible for restoring balance to your body after stress, it also regulates blood sugar levels and has utilitarian value in the hippocampus (the part of the brain where memories are processed & stored).  However, with chronic stress, more cortisol is made than needed and the excess cortisol can kill brain cells, reduce the size of the brain, and cause atrophy in the hippocampus.
Since you’re already improving your stress response through exercise and sleep, you can augment with activities like helping others, yoga or meditation, and getting a yearly check-up at the doctor, or by taking a supplement containing adaptogens like CalmEssence™.* These can help bring you peace of mind, as well as focus and clarity.
Step Three – the Final Touch.
With your physical and mental health well on the way to peek performance, there’s only one thing left for you to do – nourish your soul.
To nourish the soul requires little effort on your part, but sometimes we need to be reminded to feed the soul. It can be as simple as spending time in nature, reading a book, watching an inspirational film, or journaling. Practicing mindfulness can cultivate your soul. Mindfulness brings your attention to the present moment without judgment. It can help you gain insight and awareness to your actions and surroundings and allow you to unleash your natural curiosity. If you’re curious about some techniques, How to Practice Mindfulness - Mindful is a good place to start.
You should also nourish your soul by building connections. Studies show that women who maintain close relationships with their friends and family are more likely to live longer. A closeness with others gives you a shared bond that helps you through hard times and increases your happiness. Having strong relationships and connections with others can be as beneficial to your health as quitting smoking! 
So, here’s to a healthier you! Whether you’re inspired by a brush with cancer or the upcoming birth of a grandchild, it’s never too late to live your life. And building your mind, body, and soul is what gives you a chance for a healthy long life. We only get one shot at this life and if we want to make the most of it, this is where you start.
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.
 Westenhoefer, Joachim et al. “Cognitive and weight-related correlates of flexible and rigid restrained eating behaviour.” Eating behaviors vol. 14,1 (2013): 69-72. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2012.10.015