We live in a busy world, full of stresses and demands. Sometimes it can feel impossible to keep up with it all. The good news is you’re not alone. Dr. Sarah Winslow, a preventative medicine specialist with Adventist Health Medical Group is here to talk about her own busy life as a wife, mother and family physician. She’ll help us explore how to clarify what’s most important in our lives and share some tips for success.
- CJ Anderson
- Sarah Winslow, MD
Living This Experience
Dr. Winslow has developed this list of five areas of focus to help find and maintain balance in her own life. They promote physical, mental and emotional health while improving longevity of life. These aren’t areas Dr. Winslow has mastered, but things she focuses on each day.
As an advocate for lifestyle medicine, Dr. Winslow encourages pursuing health and wellness through behavior changes such as diet and exercise. She believes that, in many cases, these behaviors can address common health conditions without the need for medicine or supplements.
The Five Areas
- Eating Healthy
- Stress Management
- Personal Connections/Love
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Sports Medicine are just two of many health authorities who recommend at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. If you get less than 150 minutes of exercise in a week you are considered sedentary. In other words, 150 minutes of exercise is like getting a “C” in physical fitness, not an “A.”
Have you been looking for the “magic pill” to help with some part of your health? That pill is exercise. Not only does it have numerous physical benefits, it has also been shown to improve mood and mental health.
There are numerous (and often conflicting) views on what a healthy diet is, but as Dr. Winslow points out there is some common ground that nearly everyone agrees on. A focus on eating whole vegetables and fruits will pay dividends in your health. Again the recommended minimum is 5 servings per day. Another way to think about this is to make sure every time you eat at least part of what you eat is whole fruit or vegetables.
Dr. Winslow recommends planning ahead and creating opportunities for good food choices. Take advantages of fruit like bananas, apples or oranges that come pre-packaged and ready to travel. Give yourself an easy (and healthy) alternative to fast food or a candy bar.
In addition to making us feel rested and refreshed, consistently getting enough sleep contributes to maintaining a healthy weight and preventing a number of diseases and chronic health conditions. We can promote good sleep hygiene by maintaining a consistent bedtime and waking time, as well as by limiting our screen time in the evenings (particularly in the last hours before going to bed.
In Episode 2 of our podcast we talked with a two sleep experts about the physical and psychological factors that can hurt our help our sleep.
It’s no surprise that stress contributes to conditions and behaviors that threaten our health. But reducing stress can be difficult. Dr. Winslow suggests a couple tactics that she uses herself.
- Single-Tasking: Addressing responsibilities or activities one at a time with full attention. Rather than trying to stay connected to everything at once, she tries to give one thing at a time her full attention.
- Pursue Fun Every Day: For Dr. Winslow this means making deliberate time each day to do something fun or relaxing. By taking time to manage our stress we are better equipped to take on the rest of our lives.
Social isolation has been connected to chronic diseases. Being social and part of a community not only enhances your life, it can actually help you live longer. You can strengthen this part of your life through time with your family, hobby or interest groups, faith communities, volunteering, etc.
Putting it all together
- Which of these areas are your strongest?
- Where would you like to improve?
- Are there ways you can track what you’re doing in each area?
Which of the five secrets is most helpful to you? Is there another tip that works well for you? Leave a comment and let us know!
Author: Sarah Winslow, MD
I practice primary care medicine with Adventist Health in the Fishers Landing clinic in Vancouver, WA. I’m passionate about helping patients make positive lifestyle changes to improve their health.