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Combining Physical & Mental Health To Live Your Best Life

June 08, 2020
Dr. Jessica Hund in the Clinic

Living your best life starts with taking care of yourself from the inside out. It starts with small steps towards optimizing your physical health and your mental health, at a pace that’s right for you. What that looks like for you may be different than how this looks for your family, friends, and neighbors. Consider talking with your primary care doctor about your goals and challenges to build a plan that works for you. Dr. Jessica Hund has joined MUSC Health Daniel Island Primary Care and shares her thoughts on how patients of all ages can live their best life!

Dr. Hund’s approach to medicine focuses on the physical, mental, and social wellness of patients in a holistic manner. Her goal is to provide proactive care to her patients, with an emphasis on preventive medicine.

Getting Active: Physical Activity

On the road to living your best life, getting and staying active is one of the first things she talks about. Being active can stave off most debilitating chronic diseases that Americans tend to acquire with aging. Regular activity helps with mood, stress, and mental well-being. Group activities help to strengthen our muscles and our relationships. Increasing activity often leads to decreased medication needs.

Dr. Hund recommends starting small, as a body in motion tends to stay in motion:

  • Focus on moving more in little ways. Choose walking over driving, take the dog for an extra walk, stand up throughout the day.
  • Give yourself an attainable goal. Consider walking 1 mile a day, about 15-20 minutes, and slowly increasing as you are able.
  • Find new active hobbies or a new tradition that involves movement. Start a family walk after dinner, join a sports club, switch coffee dates to walking dates.
  • Find an accountability partner. Many people have the goal of getting healthier. Find someone who has similar goals to yours and keep each other accountable.

Sound Mind: Mental Health

It’s hard to achieve optimal physical health without the foundation of stable mental health. Without a “sound mind,” despite being physically well, the quality of life we hope for is hard to achieve.
Dr. Hund’s tips for improving your mental health start with self-care:

  • Start with self-reflection. Incorporate 10 minutes in the morning when you wake up or in the evening before bedtime for some quiet, self-reflective time into your routine. This could be reading a book that is inspirational, doing some meditation or yoga, or just sitting quietly before the rest of your household wakes up or after they’ve gone to sleep.
  • Focus on quality sleep. Getting enough rest is essential. Discuss with your doctor how you can achieve quality sleep if you aren’t already.
  • Get active! (See above information on physical activity)
  • Be social. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, people are designed to socially interact with others. Those who base their lives around family and friends in comfortable social environments tend to live longer, fuller lives. Consider making a standing phone date with friends and family members to stay connected.

Fueling Your Mind and Body: Nutrition

Finally, what we put into our bodies matters when it comes to managing our physical and mental health. Small changes in diet can make a large impact in managing chronic medical diseases, and even could result in reduced need for medications. Other than fresh fruits, vegetables, and animal proteins, the food we eat can contribute to chronic diseases, including obesity, hypertension, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, heart disease, vascular disease, as well as skin and hair problems.

  • Start the conversation. Talk to your family and friends about the changes you want to make. Make a plan with your doctor on how to achieve the right diet for your medical needs and health goals.
  • It’s all about moderation. Adjusting how you eat does not mean you cut out certain foods completely. Enjoy your favorites in moderation along with your daily servings of colorful fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink more water! Look at all the other drinks you consume throughout the day and consider making changes.
  • Set reasonable and attainable goals. Very strict diets are hard to sustain and just not fun.

How Combining All Three Initiatives Means Living Your Best Life

Optimizing mental, physical and nutritional health catered to your specific needs allows you to live your best quality life. As your doctor, this is one of Dr. Hund’s primary goals for you. The number of years you live doesn’t matter if you’re not enjoying them. Dr. Hund believes there needs to be harmony with your mental, physical and nutritional health to achieve this. You might not get all three components exactly right simultaneously, and that’s OK, but if you make it more of a priority, your overall well-being will follow.

Make an Appointment with Dr. Jessica Hund on Daniel Island

Dr. Hund is accepting new patients, of all ages, for in-person and video visits on Daniel Island. Dr. Hund has been educated, trained and practices locally and is excited to meet the needs of the Daniel Island community. Call 843-876-7975 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Hund today.