If you’re feeling like you’re in a wellbeing rut, it’s no wonder why you’re looking for advice on how to reset your health. When we have the same routine day in, day out, but we’re not making any progress towards looking or feeling better, it’s inevitable that we start craving a way to ‘shake up’ our physical and mental health. However, while a change to your routine can be just the refreshing kickstart that you need, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about it.
In this article, we explore how to reset your health in the right way, so that you can create a sustainable routine that allows you to progress towards your health goals with ease.
What is a health reset?
A health reset is a change in the way that you think about and act regarding your health. It usually comes about when we are feeling ‘stuck’. You might undergo a health reset if you:
- Are finding it hard to get into shape
- Want to break bad habits
- Are concerned about your future health and want to improve or maintain wellbeing as you age
- Have been diagnosed with a health issue and want to do the best you can to improve your wellbeing
Just like many areas of health, there is no one-size-fits-all health reset plan. Your plan may look completely different to someone else’s and may produce a completely different outcome; however, the general aim is to improve health and wellbeing.
How to begin your health reset
When undergoing a health reset, you should analyse the areas of your life that could be improved (we go into this further in the section ‘The five pillars of health’) and create a plan of action to implement these improvements.
However, when creating your plan, you need to ensure that it is not such an extreme, unsustainable change that you slip back into old habits; that you can sustain it alongside your commitments; and that you are motivated to continue maintaining or even improving your wellbeing as time moves forward.
Questions to ask yourself:
- How do I want to see myself in a year’s time? –Envisioning your picture of health in a year or even five years’ time can help you shape your health reset plan according to your goals.
- Can I maintain my new routine alongside my responsibilities? – Commitments such as work, education and caring for a family must be considered when planning your health reset, so that you don’t have to compromise on the most important things in your life.
- How can I hold myself accountable? – It’s easy to break the promises that we make to ourselves; however, there are other ways to enforce accountability, such as asking a friend or family member to support you in your goals and keeping them updated as you go.
When making any decisions about your health, we recommend speaking to a medical professional to express any concerns that you may have and to receive advice on how to move forward safely.
The five pillars of health
Functional medicine is a holistic approach to medicine that considers all of the body’s systems and how these work together and impact each other, alongside genetics, medical history and outside influences. The aim of functional medicine is to get to the root cause of an issue, rather than treating or masking the symptoms, as the issue may come back later if the root cause is not addressed.
For example, through a functional medicine approach, an individual who is struggling to get good quality sleep may find that their gut health is poor, which is leading to an imbalance in their endocrine system, which is impacting melatonin production, which is causing poor sleep. If this individual worked on improving their gut health, they could find that their sleep quality improves, even though it may seem as if the two issues are unrelated. In traditional medicine, a patient expressing poor sleep may be prescribed sleeping pills, which could do more damage than good in the long run.
We can use the functional medicine approach to make positive changes to all areas of our health, using the ‘five pillars’ as a foundation – even if you do not have a particular illness or symptoms. The five pillars centre on the most influential areas of an individual’s health – by making positive changes in all of these areas, it’s possible to drastically improve wellbeing and accomplish a health reset.
The five pillars are as follows:
Our guts are made up of billions of tiny bacteria which form a ‘microbiome’. This microbiome is delicately balanced, and when it becomes imbalanced, it can impact processes such as absorption of the vital nutrients that our body needs to acquire from the foods we eat, and the metabolisation of hormones.
How to improve it:
When trying to improve your gut health, make sure to include both prebiotics and probiotics into your diet, and consume a good balance of wholegrains, leafy greens and other vegetables, oily fish and lean proteins. Avoid processed foods and alcohol where possible.
Our hormones play a function in almost every single process within the body, from digesting food to having sex. This means that, if certain hormones are out of balance, this can have a domino effect on hormones throughout the body.
How to improve it:
To keep hormones balanced, you should focus on improving all of the other pillars of health; however, if a medical professional diagnoses a hormonal issue (such as polycystic ovary syndrome or hypothyroidism), you may be able to undergo hormone therapy to correct this.
Regular exercise can not only help you lose fat and build muscle, it can also have a positive impact on your sleep quality, digestion, mental wellbeing and hormone function.
How to improve it:
The NHS recommends 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week for adults – this could be achieved through walking, resistance training, high intensity interval training and other forms of exercise.
Getting a good amount of uninterrupted sleep every night is vital to maintaining normal function in your endocrine, circulatory and immune systems. When you are not getting enough sleep, you may feel fatigued, irritable, prone to snacking, depressed, unable to focus, and other symptoms. Good quality sleep allows your body to recharge and function normally.
How to improve it:
To achieve good quality sleep, you must improve something called ‘sleep hygiene’. You can do this by:
- Putting your phone away an hour before bed
- Doing something relaxing while you’re in bed, such as reading,
- Keeping your room temperature at a comfortable 18 degrees Celsius
- Soundproofing your windows to reduce outside noise
- Getting a blackout blind or curtains to reduce light exposure throughout the night
When we feel low or anxious, this can get in the way of progression on our health journeys. Poor mental health can cause you to make bad choices in terms of your diet, make you lose the motivation to exercise, decrease your quality of sleep, and more.
How to improve it:
Improving your mental health may mean reducing the amount of stress you experience on a daily basis, engaging in self-care activities or speaking to a mental health professional.
Extra tips to help you during your health reset
- Remember that nothing is a ‘quick fix’ regarding your health
- Try journaling daily to mark your progress
- If it may help, create a vision board depicting your ideal picture of health and place it somewhere visible
- Avoid spending too much time with those who do not support you in your journey, or who encourage you to make bad choices in terms of your health
Once you have analysed your current lifestyle and habits, spoken to a medical professional and have a health reset plan in place, you should carry out your plan with confidence and a positive mindset that your health will improve if you put in the effort.
When it comes to general health and wellbeing, your journey is never finished. You should continue trying to improve your health for as long as you physically can. This is why we call it a health ‘journey’!