15 August 2008

10 things not to do today

Most of us have grandiose ideas about long-term health plans. Let's get real here. Start by avoiding these things today.

Most of us have grandiose ideas about long-term health plans. You want to lose a huge amount of weight, run the Comrades and never smoke again. Let's get real here. Start by avoiding these things today.

Caffeine overload. By all means have a cup or two, but don't have six or seven. That could be problematic, as it dehydrates you and could send your blood pressure skyhigh. Watch out for fizzy drinks, as they also sometimes contain loads of caffeine. So does tea, for that matter.

No seatbelt. Wearing your seatbelt costs nothing, could save your life and might spare you a traffic fine. It takes about three seconds to click it into place. Let's face it, if you're in an accident, having the seatbelt crease your linen shirt is infinitely preferable to having a fractured skull.

Not a drop to drink. Often when you feel hungry, you're actually thirsty. Don't forget to drink a few glasses of water or other liquids today. Dehydration can actually cause fatigue and depression. But let thirst be your guide - drinking too much water can also be dangerous.

Getting mugged. Don't draw money from dodgy ATMs in deserted areas. Go to ATMs inside shops. Don't carry a purse or cellphone in your hand and be on the lookout for muggers when you get in and out of your car. Always walk purposefully and, if possible, not on your own.

Losing your temper. When you lose your temper, your blood pressure shoots up and your energy resources are drained. If you lose your temper once in three months, OK, but if it is a daily thing, you need to look at your anger management skills. Do you take life too seriously? Do you make too many things your problem? What's it really to you if someone at work used your coffee cup? Keep your energy for really important things.

Headache blues. We all get these from time to time, but have them checked out if they're becoming a constant daily companion. It could be caused by stress, by failing eyesight, by diet. Find out what it is. Make sure you always have a few painkillers at work, as there is nothing worse than feeling really grim just before your big presentation.

Missing appointments. Keep a diary – your life is busy and you cannot remember everything. Missing appointments creates a huge amount of stress in your life – especially if it is with the only dentist you don't have a phobia about. Write these things down in a central and accessible place. Cancel well in advance if you can't make it.

Being used by others. Others can only use us with our consent. If we are doing things for others that they should be doing for themselves, we are not doing them a favour either. Why are we so eager to please? Are we scared people won't like us if we decline to do the runaround for them? Learn to say no – it could be the most liberating experience.

Doing the couch potato thing. It is very tempting, after a hard day's work to do the slouch-on-the-couch thing. But in the long run, it's not very good for you. Try and get out there – even if it's just for a brisk 20-minute walk round the block.

Eating junk food. Remember that the first syllable of convenience foods is 'con'. Yes, you fill up your stomach with pies and burgers and chips, but they don't provide you with much nutrition, while their high calorie content increases your waistline and the fat in them clogs up your arteries. - (Susan Erasmus, Health24)


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