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Guest post by Jennifer McGregor

Improving your health doesn’t happen overnight. Diet changes, new exercise plans, and mental health self-care are incredibly beneficial, but they all take time to show results. However, there are a few things you can do that lead to immediate benefits for your health. If you want to kickstart a healthier lifestyle, these three steps are the place to begin.

Upgrade your health insurance

Good health insurance is worth spending money on. When you have quality healthcare coverage, you’re more likely to use it, which leads to better health outcomes. That’s especially true for seniors — when you can’t earn back the money you spend, you’re more cautious with every dollar. But if you can budget for healthcare by buying a policy with more coverage, instead of dealing with unpredictable out-of-pocket costs, you’re more likely to get the care you need to stay healthy.

That’s one big reason so many seniors opt for Medicare Advantage plans, like the plans offered by UnitedHealthcare. Not only do Medicare Advantage plans cut out-of-pocket costs, they also add other valuable benefits that Original Medicare lacks, like dental care, vision care, and fitness perks. Even if you’re too young for Medicare, it’s worth reviewing your health coverage to ensure you’re getting the maximum benefit for your money! Remember to check your plan annually, as your coverage can change from year to year even if your plan doesn’t.

Tackle a home decluttering project

There’s a reason decluttering has become so popular: People are realizing that when they live with less mess, their thoughts are clearer, their emotions more balanced, and they simply feel better.

Unfortunately, some people are so overwhelmed by their mess that they don’t know where to start. There are a few approaches you can take if you’re in that situation. You can break the decluttering project down into manageable projects, taking it room by room or even cupboard-by-cupboard depending on the extent of the clutter problem. Another strategy is to stop buying things in order to cease the flow of clutter into your home. However, if you’re really overwhelmed, the best option is to hire professionals to clean up and give you a fresh start. If the clutter is severe, start with a professional organizer. However, if you can handle the stuff but just need help with the mess, a one-time deep cleaning service is a more affordable route..

Catch up with old friends

It gets harder to maintain close social connections as we get older. When you have a family and a career, hanging out with friends becomes less of a priority. However, friendships are about more than fun. Your social life also has a big impact on your well-being, especially as you grow older.

A strong social network reduces your risk of depression, anxiety, and chronic stress. And when you’re mentally healthy, you’re also more capable of making the positive choices that preserve your health long-term, like eating well and managing chronic diseases. A lack of social interaction, on the other hand, has been compared to smoking almost a pack of cigarettes a day in terms of its impact on your health.

It can feel awkward reaching out to old friends after a long period of silence but don’t let discomfort stop you. Odds are, your old connections want to catch up just as badly as you do. If you have trouble keeping in touch, plan phone calls and get-togethers on a schedule you can stick to.

For the most part, good health doesn’t have quick-fix solutions. However, little changes like these have a bigger impact on your health than you realize. While they won’t replace diet and exercise, these three steps are important parts of your healthy lifestyle.

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