What an interesting topic this is. Let’s dive straight in!  Number 1: Every illness or condition you google there will always be, under the heading treatment or avoidance, the words ‘Do some exercise’.  Give your heart and lungs something to work for, give your joints freedom, get blood moving around your body and help your thoughts to move from dark and stale to light and fresh.  The government guideline is 150 minutes a week, that’s a 30 minute walk five times a week.  It will improve cardiac health, reduce body fat, strengthen bones, reduce the risk of cancer and type II diabetes.  I’ve used half my word quota on that so you can tell it’s important!

Number 2:  Reduce sugar intake.  It’s the scourge of mood stability and hormone levels, it never satisfies the appetite (you only meant to have one choccy digestive…how quickly it escalates to half the packet). If you’re not walking it off, it will be stored as fat. Brutal but true.

Number 3. Get regular good sleep. Lack of it can exacerbate conditions like hypertension, heart disease, type II diabetes, so put an alarm on to go to bed, as well as to wake up.  Aim for a minimum of 7 hours.

4.  Eat more plants: I don’t mean convert to holy veganism, I mean choose plant-based meals for, say, one or two days a week. Helps the planet and your gut (more fibre, more food for those happy microbes) and when the gut is happy, so are body and brain.

For number 5 I was tempted to end with something obvious like don’t smoke or drink more water, but actually I would like to make it more personal. Own your menopause.  By that I mean, take control.  Your bad sleep, aching joints, increased irritability don’t need to be a drain on your quality of life.  Seek some good advice and consider trying a course of HRT. We owe it to ourselves. After all, anyone’s goal is to live a longer happier life. Isn’t it?

A little tip  If all that looks utterly daunting and you could only manage three then choose numbers 1, 2 and 3.  Walk the (very) long way round to your bus-stop/train station.  Empty the house of all sugary processed snacks and replace with a couple of squares of your favourite luscious chocolate (keep the rest in the freezer).  If it’s a snorer keeping you awake then invest in some good ear-plugs (see below) or swap bedrooms if you can.  Failing that a swift kick to the somewhere painful.

Annie

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