Santé & Sanity: 5 Essential Healthy Habits

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(check out the sun-soak video covering this topic)

Other than the really obvious ones, like drinking water every day, getting enough sleep, exercising, there are five healthy habits that you may be forgetting.

#1 FLOSSING

Flossing is actually so important for your gum health, which affects your overall health.

One tooth has five surfaces and when you’re brushing your teeth you’re only brushing the outer surface, the inner surface and on top of your teeth. And actually, your saliva, your cheek tissues and your tongue are already helping you naturally clean the inner surface and the outer surface of your teeth. And if you don’t floss, you’re leaving behind two surfaces unclean, which is between your teeth. That means you’re leaving bacteria and eventually plaque in between your teeth, and in the long-term this can cause cavities, irritate the gums and lead to gum disease.

#2 GET SUN

The most notable benefit of getting some sunlight is to boost your body’s vitamin D supply. The UV radiation from sunlight will promote vitamin D production through the skin, and a major benefit of a healthy supply of vitamin D is to promote bone growth. You can actually also get vitamin D from your food like in salmon or tuna. But most of the time we just don’t get enough amounts of vitamin D in our diet, so that means the sun will be the primary source of vitamin D.

#3 SUNSCREEN

If you plan to go outside for more than 15 minutes, then you should definitely put on some sunscreen. The major reason why you should put on sunscreen when you go out is of course to reduce your risk of skin cancer. Of course, when applying sunscreen, you should follow the instructions and wait at least 15 to 20 minutes before going outside. And sometimes when you go out in the daytime and you see that the sun’s not out, meaning that it’s blocked from the clouds, it doesn’t need that the UV rays are not present. They are still very present and can harm you.

#4 MINDFULNESS

So what is mindfulness? It simply means to pay attention and be aware in the present moment to what you’re thinking, doing. feeling and experiencing. So when you’re living in the moment, don’t worry about what you still need to do later in the day, like doing your homework, studying for a test or any other tasks that you still need to do, because these are only mental constructs that have no form or substance. And also, don’t worry about something that is in the past because those things are already dead; they’re no longer real and they only exist in your mind, so you can’t really do anything about them. What you do have control over is your experience of right now. Practice mindfulness by just constantly being aware of your feelings.

#5 RELAX

How do you relax? Watch TV shows, talk to friends, sleep? Exercising? Going out for walks and reading? Everyone relaxes differently, whether it’s playing sports, taking a bath, going out for a drive or hanging out with friends. So when studying or working, always remember to take a break to relax. It’s essential for your body to recover from the damaging effects of stress from schoolwork or everyday commitments. If you forget to relax, your health could be at risk because when you’re stressed you release stress hormones like cortisol into your bloodstream and a large amount of these hormones could potentially impair brain function like the memory forming process and keeping memories long-term. Even if you don’t have a lot of time, relaxing can be something as simple as going outside and taking deep breaths of fresh air to calm your mind, relax your muscles and slow down your heart rate. You’ll instantly feel better, more relaxed and you’ll be more efficient and productive when you go back to work or studying.

Isabel Tran (medical student & soon to be doctor)