For the early part of my life, I remember setting resolutions on January 1st. These were goals that were usually pretty grand. Not long ago, I started thinking about how I could set goals that I could not only manage but reach. Do you remember the movie, “What about Bob” with Bill Murray? It was all about the baby steps and creating new habits and patterns. I’m going to use those concepts myself to create healthier habits and patterns. While I eat healthy most of the time, and have been getting more exercise, there are other things I want to add to my life that will be a part of me to create more balance and a sense of well-being.
I was a competitive tennis player starting when I was about 12 and continued until the age of 30. I was able to maintain a very healthy and happy body even through my late 40’s. Then all of the sudden I found myself overwhelmed with life. Dealing with a very bad injury that was causing constant pain for several years, unable to get a restful sleep combined with trying to maintain a practice and being “present” for my young child. Things snowballed and all of the sudden I found myself 40 lbs overweight and struggling to find the way to get myself feeling as great as I did before the injury.
I know that setting small goals and taking baby steps is the answer for me to maintain my intention throughout the year. So, that is my plan and I’m sticking to it. Here are my ideas that I hope you will also find helpful.
The Keys to a Healthy 2013
- Get plenty of good sleep. Adults require 7 to 8 hours of “good” sleep to stay healthy. Anything less than that will not allow your body to heal as it should. To get a more restful sleep, try the following:
- Sit in a relaxed way prior to bed…without the TV or radio on. Think about something that makes you happy…like walking in the mountains or on the beach. Strive for 5 minutes but if you can only manage 2 minutes, it is a great start.
- Drink and eat fewer foods that are stimulating after 3pm (ie sugary foods or foods with chemicals, caffeine, chocolate, etc.)
- Create a positive mental attitude. There is a great book by Bruce Lipton, PhD called “The Biology of Belief”. He talks about how we can create great health just by creating healthy thoughts.
Create a Gratitude Journal. Spend 1 minute every day writing down what you feel grateful for. There is a lot of evidence that feeling grateful for something every day and expressing it will change the way you feel. And if you are grateful for a person in your life, don’t forget to tell them!
- Exercise or movement. I had a clinician while I was doing my internship that used to walk around the hallways shouting, “Movement is life”. Not only does movement keep your blood flowing through your body at a higher level, that blood brings oxygen which is vital to keeping our cells healthy. Start with 2 minutes per day…walking in place….doing a sun salutation or two …jumping jacks…whatever it is that is something you think you can do and will do. Finding an exercise you like is most important so that it does not become “work”. If you like to dance, put uplifting music on and dance for a few minutes. Increase this every week by 1 minute. If you have a dog that you walk, go for a brisker and longer walk. Start creating the habit of getting your body moving by finding a time every day to create this new pattern. The added benefit is increased endorphins flowing through your body which will create a feeling of happiness!
- Eating healthy. By keeping to our theme of baby steps, let’s say you have a diet with sugar, grains, other chemicals (found in pre-packaged food or caffeine) and not a big fan of vegetables, we will keep this easy. Find one thing you can begin to change immediately. Don’t go for the whole enchilada…that’s too difficult to maintain. So, if you drink 3 cups of caffeine per day, with sugar. Start by making it half decaf and start decreasing the sugar. Also, none of that refined sugar crap…go with raw organic sugar. If you are drinking tea, replace the sugar with honey. Start by changing one thing and working on building that each week but incorporating more whole foods like vegetables and fruits and less packaged products into your diet you will find that you feel much better.
- Decrease the amount of gluten in the diet. Most people I know don’t even know what it is and how it can be affecting them. Gluten is found in most grains and packaged products. When it breaks down in the body can cause inflammation. It can cause the foggy feeling in your head that you notice after eating and may be the reason why you are exhausted in the evening. Try going gluten-free for 1 week and notice the difference in how you feel. You might be surprised!
- Reduce stressors. Find the stressor that is causing you the most grief, sit down, and work on how you can decrease the problem. Develop a map as to resolve this. Receiving body work is a great way to release the stress from your body, which may give you the “opening” to find a solution to your stressor. There is also a great Chiropractic technique called Logan which stimulates the part of the nervous system that will allow you to feel relaxed, have less thoughts running around your brain, and releases endorphins. If you’ve been dealing with stress for a long time, your body might have forgotten how to get back to “normal”. This type of adjustment works wonders!
- Keep the immune system strong.
- Vitamin D is essential to keeping us healthy. It’s cheap and easy to find in the store and particularly important to supplement during the winter months.
- White blood cells are the key to devouring those “bad” viral and bacterial invaders in our body. Chiropractic adjustments release extra white blood cells to keep you healthy.
- To make sure you have enough good bacteria in your gut, which helps to kill those viruses and bacteria, take a good probiotic (before meals to have the best effect).
- Make sure your nervous system is working at its’ best. The nervous system is what controls and coordinates the functioning of all of our organs. If there is impedance to it working optimally, the organs will start being stressed and may cause dis-ease or lack of health. Chiropractic is what will keep your nervous system working well so you can achieve optimal health.
People are continually amazed at how I can be exposed to “germs” (when my sick patients come in for their adjustments) and not get sick. I do attribute it to receiving regular adjustments to keep my immune system strong, taking Vitamin D and a good probiotic, getting lots of sleep, and eating really healthy foods (only “good” grains, lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy nuts), and believing I won’t get sick. I will work on exercising daily this year as I do feel and look better when I do.
Just remember to do what you can. If you are not sticking with your plan, don’t beat yourself up. Just reassess and figure out how to move forward. Remember, this is not about doing something for a week or two. You are creating a healthier lifestyle. So relax and enjoy the journey.
Wishing you a very Happy and Healthy 2013!