We take time to look after our health. Or at least, we should. We exercise and eat healthily, at least most of the time. We get regular checkups, and we try to rest when we’re not feeling our best. We try to sleep the recommended hours, drink the recommended amount of water and eat the recommended portions of fruit and veg. We study new research and do our best to prevent illness and disease. You might even take the time to look after your mental health and wellbeing. We do all of this with the aim of living a long and healthy life so that we can be there for our families, enjoy ourselves and spend our time well.

But, if you want to enjoy life to its fullest, you don’t just need to be fit and healthy. You also need to take care of your senses. We use our senses every day. Constantly. We’re always touching, hearing, seeing, smelling and tasting. It’s our senses that give us pleasure and enjoyment. Every time you eat a meal, you eat with your eyes, and your nose as well as your taste buds. All of your senses play a part in the enjoyment that you get from your life.

Even though they are in constant use, we take them for granted. We don’t give them a second thought. They are just a part of our life, working away in the background.

Just stop and imagine losing one. Imagine how much your life would change if you couldn’t hear or see. How would it affect you on a typical day? You’ll manage, you’d find new ways to cope. But, your life would be vastly altered.

Unfortunately, as we live longer and the average life expectancy grows, our senses can start to struggle. Eyes that used to serve people for 60 years are now having to cope for 80 or 90. They’re also having to do different things now that we spend so much time looking at screens. They develop, and they evolve, but, if you want your senses to last your lifetime, and keep working well, there’s nothing wrong with giving them a little helping hand.

Sight

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Your sense of sight is probably the one that you are most aware of. It might also be the one that you are most concerned about losing. Blindness or partial loss of sight has many different causes including some diseases and accidents. Most of us know someone that is at least partially sighted, and we’re aware of the struggles that people face, trying to go about day to day life without sight.

Fortunately, looking after your eyesight isn’t difficult, and there is absolutely loads that you can do to keep your eyes healthy. First, look at your diet. No, carrots won’t help you to see at night. But, a healthy and balanced diet, which includes plenty of fruit and veg as well as oily fish, can keep your eyes healthy as well as preventing other diseases that can affect your sight. It won’t hurt the rest of you either. Then, make sure that you are going for regular eye checks, at least every two years, and that if you need glasses or contact lenses, you get a quality product from Bausch + Lomb, and that you look after them.

Simple things like taking breaks from screens every hour or so, getting lots of fresh air, sleeping enough and removing your makeup before you go to sleep are great for your eyesight too. And, whether you usually wear glasses or not, make sure you get sunglasses (in your prescription if necessary) with a UV protection to protect your eyes from the sun.

Smell

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You might have briefly lost your sense of smell when you’ve had a cold or the flu. It’s weird, isn’t it? Suddenly finding that you can’t smell things at all, or that they smell differently. Image living like that all of the time. Imagine not being able to smell a meal cooking or freshly mown grass. Without your realising, your sense of smell has been helping you to feel happy, safe and comforted, your whole life.

Permanent loss of smell is rare, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make the most of it. Make an effort to smell new things. Take the time to think about what you can smell, to try to separate the different elements and to think of ways to describe them. This will help to develop the connection between your brain and your nose, which will heighten your sense of smell.

Touch

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We’re always touching things. Even now, you can feel your clothes rubbing against your skin, and your fingers tapping your keys or phone screen. You can feel the wind in your hair, and the food in your hands. Your skin is your bodies largest organ, and it needs looking after.

Wear gloves when it’s cold and sunscreen when the sun is out. If it’s freezing outside try to warm your hands up slowly when you come inside to avoid pain. Use hand cream and gentle products that don’t contain too many chemicals to keep your skin healthy and young. Like your eyes, a healthy diet and plenty of water can keep your skin soft, supple and youthful. You can also give the nerves in your skin a boost with some extra vitamin B12.

Hearing

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Some hearing loss as we age is unfortunately normal, and something that most of us face. You might not always hear as well as you do now, but if you take care of your hearing, you might not suffer too much of a loss.

To look after your hearing, you need to look after your ears. Don’t stick cotton buds deep down inside to clear wax. Instead, keep them clean by gently cleaning the bits that you can reach. Visit your doctor for help if you are worried about build up.

Then, challenge your hearing, and your mind to make connections. Every day spend a few minutes with your eyes closed, listening and trying to identify sounds. Being more aware of what we can hear, and trying to hear more gives your ears a workout. Other ways to look after your ears include keeping the volume low on your Tv and speakers, especially when you are wearing headphones, and wearing a hat when it’s cold outdoors.

Taste

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You’ve got 10000 taste buds in your mouth. They are able to pick out different flavours and identify ingredients in food. There are flavours that you like, and those that you don’t like. You’ll think somethings work well together and others don’t. Your taste buds make food and drink enjoyable, and eating and drinking so much more than something we need to do to live.

Taking care of your taste buds can be good fun. Experiment with different tastes and flavours. Try putting different things together and spend a little time when eating challenging yourself to identify ingredients. Take a sip of water between each different thing that you eat to clear your taste buds ready for the next flavour.

Look after your sense of taste by avoiding very hot and cold food, and brushing your tongue while you are doing your teeth.

Looking after your senses doesn’t have to mean making massive changes to your lifestyle. It’s often just a case of living healthily, paying attention to your body and listening to it when it has something to tell you and giving your individual senses a little more thought, instead of always expecting them to work.

The changes that you make now won’t just improve your senses and help them to work well for longer. They can also have other positive effects on your health and wellbeing and your enjoyment of life. So, start thinking more about your senses today.

Cover Image Photo by Sarah Wolfe on Unsplash

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