I hope that my last blog has inspired you to take that bold step to start a daily lifestyle of exercising, eating healthy and living a life that is filled with joy, peace and happiness.

I want you to know that you are not alone so here are a few tips to help keep you focused and stay on track.

Step 1. Get out more

Spending time with friends and family and having a vibrant social life is also another way of boosting your health.  Did you know that spending more time outside in the morning can help to reset your body’s internal clock and promote a better night’s sleep? Being in the glorious sun boosts your levels of vitamin D, needed for a healthy immune system and bone growth. We are so blessed to have sunshine every day, so be thankful and make the most of it.  Spend time out of the office by walking around your office block during your lunch hour.  Try to get out of the air condition and breathe in some natural fresh air.  Getting out of your office chair and stretching out during lunch breaks also boosts your energy level.  I know it gets hot out there at times and the last thing you are thinking of is getting in the sun.  I would, however, encourage you to just spend, say, 15 minutes walking around your office block or if you are near any of the shopping malls, instead of getting into your car to the mall, just take a walk across the street, do some window shopping and walk back to the office.  Or meet friends for coffee. Just get out there!

Step 2. Learn to relax

Fast-paced modern life can create more stress, and when our bodies produce elevated levels of stress hormones, this can be detrimental to health. Raised blood pressure, increased risk of stroke and heart disease and even mental illness can all result from too much stress. So work out what helps you relax and take some time out each day to do it – even if it’s just 15 minutes. Read a book, take a bath, workout at the gym, have a massage, take a yoga class, go swimming.  It’s time to relax.

Step 3. Make the most of your surroundings

When it comes to eating healthily, the city can be both your best friend and worst enemy. There are coffee shops and eateries selling fresh fruit, salads and light snacks and smoothies. Make the most of the shops in your neighbourhood. Buy your fresh fruit, vegetables and produce from the many Green/organic markets now operating on a weekly basis, such as Labone Green Market at Labone Coffee Shop every Saturday, Life Market at Legon Botanical Gardens, Atomic-Haatso Road, every Saturday from 11a.m. to 5p.m., Sow Green Organic Market at DuBois Centre, every Saturday from 8a.m. to 2p.m.  

Step 4. Wake up your workout

One of the things I am so happy about is the number of well-equipped gyms now operating in the capital.  If you cannot afford gym membership, why not join the many people who go for walks early in the morning.  I see women, men both old and young, walking as early as 4a.m.  Start off by working out two times a week and then increase it to four times a week.  Challenge yourself and watch your body and mind come alive.  Once in a while, try hiking or, join the hundreds of people who climb the Aburi hill every weekend.  Climb at your own pace.  If this is not your thing, try salsa dancing, kizomba or African dancing.  For those of you who feel confident and ready to push that bar, sign up for a boot camp.

Step 5. Get your eight hours

Being stuck in traffic is no fun at all and finding time to spend with your friends, family and loved ones, sometimes it can seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get a proper night’s sleep. But getting between eight to ten hours sleep a night is vital for your health and well-being. Did you know that lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and depression, as well as making it more difficult for you to focus and concentrate at work. Switch your phone and laptop off an hour before your bedtime and unwind with a good book, meditate or spend time praying;.  You do not need to be on the phone or social media all hours God has given you, your brain also needs to rest.  Be kind to your body.  I have set my phone to silence between 10p.m. to 6a.m.  Blissful!!!

Step 6. A little of what you fancy

I love desserts and sweet things.  Yes, you are allowed a treat once in a while.  Treat yourself to a home-made cookie from Kukkie’s (Cuppa Cappuccino), or a cupcake from Cupcake Boutique, or order a delicious cupcake from Cookie (02440213 861), hand-made chocolate from Cocoaline (0249 048 763).  There are a few bakeries and coffee shops offering delicious pastries, gluten-free and vegan delights just waiting for you to try. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the occasional cake or cookie, but everything in moderation.

Step 7. Single and ready to mingle

Whether you’re single or happily married or engaged, there is a lot happening in the Capital waiting for you to enjoy.  Join an association, find a hobby like painting, yoga, or be bold to start your own group.  Do something which is fun.  Network with others in your industry at events and dinners, make new friends and not only those you went to school with.  Make a new friend at your local church, reach out to someone at your work place.  Cultivating healthy friendships (and I mean real ones, not Facebook “friends”) ensures that you’ll have a rich, fulfilling social life.