I’m almost 40 and I’ve never been healthier. Growing up, I frequented the hospital- even in my 20s and 30s- for severe asthma attacks, pneumonia, tonsillitis, bronchitis, strep throat, and severe colds.

Spring and Fall were the worst times for me. The asthma attacks stopped when I quit eating dairy products in my mid 20s, but I still fell ill at least once or twice a year where I had to miss at least a week of school or work.

Now, for the first time in my life I can finally say I haven’t been sick once in more than a year! I have two dear friends and my wonderful husband to thank for it! It all started during a visit with a long time friend who told me she hadn’t been sick at all in the past year. Naturally, I asked her how she accomplished such a thing. She said she’d been lifting weights and going to bed at a reasonable time. What a novel concept!

Fast forward to the fall when another good friend of mine invited me to join her at the gym and offered to show me the ropes. Since the fall of 2017, I’ve set a huge goal {**one chin-up, starting from a dead hang, before I turn 40**} that I’m hoping to reach by April 2019.

So here’s what I’ve been doing to keep myself healthy:

1. Proper Sleep

I’m in bed by 10. This is hard when I get home from work at 9:45 some nights, but I make it a priority because I know it is important for my health. I also make sleep a priority over tv. We used to burn through the episodes of our favourite Netflix shows, staying up really late, in the end feeling foolish instead of fulfilled. I like reading before bed to help me wind down, even if it is just a couple of pages.

2. Lifting weights

Resistance training has proven benefits to health over and above simple fitness. You don’t need to lift heavy weights to reap the benefits – simple body weight exercises are enough. No equipment or gym membership required – pushups, sit-ups, squats!

3. Better food and beverage choices

I avoid caffeine and alcohol – it just isn’t worth feeling terrible!

I drink bone broth, doubled my vegetable intake (3/4 of my plate are veggies) and decreased the trigger foods that don’t agree with me like chips (potato and tortilla) and popcorn.

4. Rest and breathe

This was probably the hardest for me. Listening to my body and resting when I start feeling run down makes me feel like I’m not pulling my weight. House work and other things start piling up and I worry that people are judging me or thinking I’m being lazy. I found communicating with my family helps keep those feelings at bay. I realized that I have to take care of myself so that I can continue to care for my family.

Taking deep slow breaths when I’m stressed or rushing helps me cope with stress.

If you are struggling with your health, these are the most basic and powerful things you can do to take control of your wellness. It’s a choice you make everyday to put yourself first and treat your body well. Go for it, start today! I believe in you.