Its been a busy few weeks. Spring’s renewing energy has us all starting or finishing off projects to start something new, cleanse out the old, with the intention of practising healthy daily habits that we also want to enjoy.
Here are some tips on how to have more fun during your day and actually boost your health at the same time too.
1. Good yummy food – we all know this, but lets enjoy it and enjoy good food that helps us reduce stress.
What are these good foods? Foods that create an alkaline pH in our body e.g. fresh fruit and vegetables, lemons instead of oranges (interesting?), unprocessed foods that do not leave you thirsty. More on this in our next post on What Foods are Acid vs Alkaline and Food Combining.
Foods that create an acid pH cause inflammation, which creates more stress in our body, and a greater inability to cope with stress. Examples of inflammation are arthritis, red blotchy patches and a variety of skin disorders which is the way our body tries to release inflammation – through our largest organ, the skin. Try to reduce the intake of dairy, highly processed sugars and processed foods, processed meats full of nitrate, red meats, fried foods, alcohol and badly combined foods.
Though if we do consume these acidic foods, try to balance the overall meal with more alkaline foods to balance your pH with 80/20 ratio of alkaline/acidic foods. Also more on this in our next post on What Foods are Acid vs Alkaline and Food Combing.
Don’t worry if you indulge, enjoy it, don’t feel guilty creating more stress. At least sticking to the 80% healthy, 20% not-so-healthy is a good aim for your week’s meals. Better achieving the 80% than none at all by dwelling on the hot chips, and giving up on a healthy diet. Enjoy the 80% and enjoy the 20%.
Indulge: If its too gourmet or an extra dollar here or there, go for it if possible. Compared to other not-so-good spending habits, splurging a little extra on that favourite meal is not too much to ask of ourselves. Not only will it leave you happy and content but it is our life-sustaining energy source, so savour every morsel of your must-have meal of the day.
And that must-have meal might just be hummus and crackers which is the delight of my young niece’s day, or a juicy cucumber with its clean flavours which her brother absolutely loves. What about an organic sweet carrot dipped in your favourite dip of tahini, garlic and cannellini beans = good protein, fibre, beta carotene and a variety of other vitamins and minerals.
Finally, lets try for organic. Even better, a low sugar and even dairy-free meal, as there are many alternatives around that are absolutely delicious e.g. Organic Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Ice Cream. Try it for a change.
2. Exersise – this is definitely in the top 3 along with food and sleep to de-stress our body and mind.
A daily bounce around in a dance class, stretch and strengthen with yoga or pilates, relaxing with qigong or tai chi, or a good run, walk or bike ride plus a few bench presses thrown in are all great ways to de-stress our mind, stretch out tight muscles and calm our nervous system.
Once you have decided to spend the next 30-60 minutes of your day for pure fun – the first few breathes are a release of all the anxiety built up from a busy schedule. Breathe. Once our mind has the focus on pure fun for the next moments, be in the present, in tune with your body, breathing in new energy, releasing stale air to detoxify, energise, stretch and relax sore muscles from sitting or standing all day.
Tip on posture: sitting cross-legged infront of the TV is much better than sitting in another chair again, after your day of sitting in chairs or standing. It will open the hips and work the core muscles.
Remember: good posture in the core centre region of our body creates good alignment above the centre to our head, and below the centre to our feet. No more flat feet or protruding chins straining our neck muscles, no more hunching or slouching bellies causing lower back pain. Slightly tuck the pelvis under, activate your tummy muscles (lower and upper), look straight ahead, sit your head on top of the spine and feel your back and shoulder muscles ease alittle, by using your core tummy muscles to also help in every day posture.
Draw and pull an imaginary string up through your spine through the top of your head and feel your body and vision take a new perspective in a relaxed and stable posture.
The head weighs 5-6kg. Imagine trying to hold onto a big rock tilting on the edge of a cliff, all the strain and energy required to hold onto this rock from falling over the edge. This is what our neck, shoulder and back muscles feel every moment we tilt our head forward for lengthy periods of time. Chin to chest stretches are fine, though how long do we hold this bad head posture looking at a PC or laptop. Scroll your content up to the top of the screen to align your head and eyes up. Even better, position your monitor so the eyeline looking straight forward is at least in the centre of the monitor or slightly above.
3. Sleep more and earlier for ‘larks’ or be fine sleeping late if you are in ‘owl’ – we’ve talked about the Science of Napping and the Sleep Diet in past posts and we cannot under-estimate the importance of a good sleep for our pure happiness so we can have another fun-filled and healthy in mind and body day. Sleep balances cortisol levels in our brain so we can better manage stressful moments. Less than adequate sleep raises cortisol which creates inflammation, making it even more difficult to fall asleep.
‘Larks’ sleep and wake early – so prepare and unwind early with the natural setting of the sun by lowering light sources, less bright light from PCs and TVs, listening to soothing music and eating ideal foods as posted here. Putting in these good routines for the majority of the week will allow plenty of rest for those few late nights we indulge in.
‘Owls’ work best later in the day to late at night. We are not all the same, so once we understand our nature and of others, accepting the variety of daily routines allows us to work in harmony with each other and ourselves. Give that ‘owl’ in your life some quiet time in the morning to enjoy their slumber time.
4. Laugh at your mistakes today – oh silly me, lets not dwell on things that do not turn out as we would like them to, or should. In reality you’ve nearly made it there, and the next time you try, you’ll know how to with clearer insight. We are all perfectly imperfect.
5. Laugh – yes just laugh, have fun, and enjoy a good laugh with friends, colleagues or on your own. Of course, lets not laugh at another’s expense. There is so much more to observe in life, we are sure to find a funny moment somewhere in there.
6. Focus on reachable goals within our control – breathe and think for a moment, what is important today? Plan a realistic daily schedule where you are not set up for unnecessary disappointment. Feel good with what you have accomplished today.
7. Hug your loved ones – even a short 5 second hug, the longer, even better, is an instant stress relief, lowering your heart rate and any lingering anxiety. A hug deepens and slows our breathing and mind from the frantic pace we set ourselves each day.
8. Do something you have been putting off … for ages! We only have so much brain space to jam all the ‘to do lists’ we give ourselves without frying a few nerves along the way. What a relief it is when you cross even one point of that list. You are progressing, slowly and surely.
Call that someone, browse and dream through tropical island photos, clean up that corner, fill in the paperwork, go for a long-deserved walk, write in your diary by hand, watch a favourite movie or bake a cake ; ) !
(Ever tried The Ultimate Black Bean Chocolate Cake ? Dairy and gluten free, increase your protein, low GI sugars, healthy coconut oil, antioxidant plus with cacao. Great way to increase beans in your kid’s diet. Pure yum for us all.)
There are many more great tips, though if we could just do these top 8 at least every other day, we’ll be feeling better without the week flying past in a blur of chasing tasks to do. Demands on our lives are greater than ever, though we have control over most of it if we make the right and healthy choice.
Have fun and have a great day today!