Did you know that 7th April is World Health Day? The message of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the group behind it, is simple: giving people access to healthcare regardless of where they live and what financial means they have. In other words, health for all.

This is a fantastic initiative, but let’s not forget that when it comes to health we also need to take matters into our own hands, and not just rely on whatever healthcare system exists in the country where we live. That’s a bit of a gamble.

So, what can you do to look after your own health, and that of the family? There are three key areas to focus on: eating, movement, and sleep.

Eat right

What we eat has a massive impact on our health (and on our mood!). It is however easy to get lost in the sea of dietary advice out there: fad diets are popping up everywhere only to fade out later on. So how does one know what to really eat for health and vitality?

The answer is really not that complicated: eat as little processed foods as possible, and choose “real food” instead. Try to cut out stuff that your great-grandmother wouldn’t have recognised as food. Things that come on packets, tins, fancy colours, and names that you can’t pronounce. Instead eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, organic meat, and cook your meals from scratch as often as you can. It is that simple.

Move a little every day

If you manage to exercise for 20 minutes a day, you have already done a lot for your health. There’s no need to buy fancy equipment and join an expensive gym – although you can if you want to. You can do lots of different exercises in the comfort of your own home. There are loads of free workout and yoga videos on YouTube, for example. Or even better, go outside and enjoy some fresh air while you exercise. Jogging, walking, running around with the kids (or the dog) also counts 🙂

Sleep 7-8 hours a day

I can just hear parents crying out now: “There’s no way I can get that much sleep!” But you have to try. A healthy adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep every day in order to function at their best. Sleep is still a largely neglected area of health, even though research is showing that sleeping is never a waste of time. You can get away with sleeping less for a short period of time; but on the long run sleep deprivation will result in serious health problems.

Try to arrange your day so that you can have enough rest. Go to bed earlier, have a nap during the day, take turns with your partner and alternate who gets up with the kids. And if you can’t sleep, don’t reach for a sleeping pill straightaway – try natural alternatives, like lavender. Get a good quality lavender essential oil and put a few drops on your pillow and your wrist – and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Do these three things consistently, every day; and you’re a lot less likely to need to see your doctor. Your health is precious, look after it.