Five Elements of Lifestyle Management

In maintaining a healthy and manageable lifestyle, it is important to consider many factors. I see five factors at the forefront of lifestyle management: diet, exercise, sleep, relaxation, and social health. All five of these are inextricably linked and must be given the proper attention in your daily life to enjoy your best health.

Assessing yourself honestly, rate each factor on a scale from one to eleven with one being an area of extreme weakness and ten being nearly perfect. If you rate yourself an eleven, you spend a large portion of the day maintaining this factor to the highest degree.

Of the five elements, I see a healthy sleep pattern as the most important. This is because sleep is linked to the other elements in an unavoidable way. When we get inadequate or poor quality sleep, we tend to lose the ability to concentrate as well as lose our self-control. This can negatively impact your mood, social life, dietary choices, and exercise quality.

Diet and exercise, while not quite as influential as sleep, are also of great importance. Poor eating and drinking habits can cause obesity, mood swings, and poor athletic performance. Inadequate exercise can cause pain and stiffness, insomnia, and depression. Healthy dietary patterns support healthy exercise and vice versa.

Take a look at where you stand on all five of these elements. If you notice one or more are lagging behind and negatively affecting your lifestyle, focus on one. You will likely observe that when more emphasis is put into one of these critical factors, the others will find themselves improving as well. For example, if you start to sleep smarter and with better sleep hygiene, your exercise and food choices may improve as a result.

If you score yourself at an eleven on a category, I recommend to dial it back. When you put too much pressure on yourself to maintain perfection in one aspect of your life, it often adversely affects your mental health by causing too much stress or fails to allow sufficient time in the day for other activities. Overall, the goal is to achieve balance, not perfection.