You wake up early and rush to get ready for work. You sit in the car and drive through heavy traffic to get to work. You arrive already stressed and tired. Once at work you sit at your desk all day. You drink too much coffee to stay awake. The air in the office is stale. You feel sleepy and irritable.
You leave the office at the end of the day for the long commute through more busy traffic and many other stressed, tired drivers, all anxious to get home. Too tired to cook, you get take-out, or eat out. You barely have a chance to unwind and then you must fall back into bed. You wake up the next morning having had a bad night, only to have to repeat the routine all over again.
Does any of this sound familiar? Does your health suffer as a result? Of course it does. Even sitting on a daily basis for long periods affects our posture and can cause aches and pains we would not have with a more active lifestyle.
What You Can Do To Keep Healthy When You Think You Are Too Busy
Even though you might think you do not have the time, the truth is there is a lot you can do to maintain health and wellness, even in the crazy busy lives we lead these days.
Everyone knows that the food you consume has a direct effect on your physical health. No wonder that there’s that popular old saying that goes “you are what you eat.” Well, in the same way food affects your physical health, the thoughts you have affect you mental health. Basically, it can also be said that you are what you think.
When you occupy your brain with toxic emotions like anxiety, fear, self-pity, and anger, you will feel hopeless and your quality of life will diminish. However, when you work hard to replace these thoughts with kindness, compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, and acceptance, you will instantly start experiencing a better life.
In general, being emotionally well means balance. It is the ability to identify and express emotions appropriately. It is being grounded and able to take care of your emotional needs, and to prioritize self-care. For many, this is a challenge, and is really a life skill that needs to be learned when it was not taught in childhood.
Men especially have issues with feelings because boys are raised to believe that feelings are not manly and make them sissies. However, in adulthood having the ability to properly cope with feelings and accept them is key in not only having a health relationship with your own self, but also being able to effectively elate with other people.
Of course, doing something like this is not easy, but you can pull it off by following these 6 key steps to emotional wellness.
Taking Control After A Failure
For 45% of us, it is the great ritual we do once a year – set our New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, only 8% of us will actually attain our goal for the New Year. Historically, gyms experience about a 25% increase in membership in January. However, by mid-February attendance is back to normal. For most, it was a “flash-in-the-pan” idea they soon tired of.
However, there are some simple things you can do to keep to your resolution. Here are 5 of the more popular habits people use for success:
Make your fitness goal realistic
One sure way to abandon a resolution is if your fitness goal is too ambitious. Those 20 pounds you want to take off did not come on overnight, but many people have the expectation to take it off that fast. When it doesn’t happen according to their unrealistic schedule, they give up (and usually end up gaining more weight.) Make sure you set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
Exercise with a buddy
Research has shown that it depends on the type of cold you have as to whether you should exercise or not. If your symptoms are no more than having a runny nose and sneezing, then it is probably O.K. to exercise in moderation.
In one study 24 men and 21 women, ages 18 to 29 with varying levels of fitness, were deliberately infected with the rhinovirus, the common strain responsible for about 1/3 of all colds. All caught head colds and two days later when symptoms were at their worst, they were evaluated while running on treadmills at varying intensities. The results showed no impaired lung function or ability to exercise even though the participants reported feeling tired.
Does exercising speed recovery from having a cold?
To answer this questions, we have to once again to turn to research. In one study on cold symptoms and duration, 34 young men and women infected with the rhinovirus were split into two groups. One group exercised on treadmills every other day for 40 minutes at 70% of their maximum heart rates; the other half rested. At the end of the study, researchers did not find any appreciable difference in symptoms nor was there any difference in how long symptoms lasted.
With winter coming on, many people are afflicted with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) commonly called the “winter blues”. Thought to be caused by a decrease in the hours of sunlight, typical symptoms of this mood disorder include a lack of energy, sleeping more, overeating, depression and a general overall lethargic feeling. If you are one that suffers from SAD, you have to take control of it or it will take control of you. Otherwise all the hard work you put into looking and feeling good across the other three seasons will be for naught with a gain in weight as a result. Exercising works at beating the winter blues for these reasons…
Increased blood flow
When exercising, your heart rate increases thus pumping more blood throughout your circulatory system. More blood over a given time means more oxygen going into the cells and more wastes coming out.
Any exercise increases the rate at which your body burns calories, but cardio training tends to burn more than strength training. Because people afflicted with SAD tend to crave carbohydrates more in the winter, it is important to do exercises that give you the most calories burn per minute of exercise. However be sure to include at least a couple days per week (but not in a row) of strength training for toning and definition.
Increased oxygen to the brain
Exercising not only increases blood flow to your muscles, but also to the brain. As a result of the additional oxygen, brain function increases making you more alert and cognitive.
One goal many of us have after the festive holidays is to lose weight. However, some of us approach weight loss the wrong way and either don’t lose or don’t lose the amount we want. Use these 5 tips to ensure you are successful:
Eat the right foods
During the festive holidays, different foods than what you normally stock were in your house. Hopefully those foods are gone and you have restocked with your normal fare. Most holiday foods are high in calories, saturated fat and sugar – all which can sabotage your weight loss attempts if kept in the house. Restock your pantry and frig with fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, lean meats and fatty fish (like mackerel, halibut, salmon and tuna).
Don’t skip breakfast
One common mistake people make trying to lose weight make is skipping breakfast thinking that by not consuming those calories, it will help with their weight loss. Wrong! By not eating breakfast in the morning, your body goes into starvation mode which slows down your metabolism – the process that burns calories, so you end up burning fewer calories than if you had eaten breakfast. Your Mom was right – breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
When the weather turns cold and blustery, it is hard to force yourself to go to the gym, but you don’t have to. You can still get a great workout in the comfort of your home. Here are some cardio, strength training, core exercises and exercise routine suggestions that you can do with simple (if any) equipment.
If you have stairs in your house (or even if you don’t) stepping will get your heart pumping. Go up and down at a rate where it makes carrying on a conversation hard. If you don’t have stairs, you can substitute by using the fireplace ledge or putting a couple of thick hard cover books on the floor and stepping up and down on them while watching television, or buy a stepper from Amazon or your favorite fitness store for less than $25.00 USD.
Another simple cardio exercise is jumping rope. While it doesn’t work well on carpeting, if you have any type of smooth floor, it works great. If you don’t have any smooth floors, substitute jumping jacks for jumping rope.
Strength training can range from something as simple as doing bicep curls with a filled water bottle in each hand to having a small weight bench and a few dumbbells. Weights and a bench don’t take up much room and gives you the ability to do 18 different exercises. If you outgrow dumbbells, you can move up to barbells.
You’ve likely heard it more times than you can remember- laughter is the best medicine. This is true in many respects, as laughter can bring about meaningful neurochemical and physiological changes that can benefit the body. In particular, laughter can improve brain health, and help manage many “silent” disorders, not easily observed by medical practitioners, or society as a whole.
Interested in knowing what a little more laughter can do for your health? Then read on below and find out!
What could be more important than the health and well-being of your brain? From conception to grave, we are worried about our mental performance. Except for that middle bit where we are preoccupied with making money, working, and taking care of our families instead of ourselves, but there are simple, easy ways you can care for your brain health.
Manage Your Stress
Stress is a big deal and can wreak havoc on all aspects of your life and your health. Stress is known to fatigue and seriously degrade the brain and its functions. Stress has an immediate and negative effect on things like concentration, short-term memory storage, and decision-making, but the effects aren’t just short term. Chronically stressed people show slower response time, less brain mass and slower plasticity than there less stressed counterparts.
Many people do not take mental health seriously, doing even less to ensure that they maintain an optimal mental state. It would be safe to assume that as much as 75% of men are not comfortable discussing their emotions, and thus sweep symptoms of depression under the carpet.
Is this ideal? No, far from, as all this does is compound a possibly simple issue, and deprives you of help you could have been receiving.
With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to minimize your risk of developing depression, even though it may also have a genetic link. Regardless, by limiting your external risk factors, you can limit your chance of developing it.
Let’s explore what you can do today:
The term depression is used to refer to a mood disorder that causes you to constantly feel loss of interest and sadness. It is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. This mood disorder can be very dangerous, as it often causes a number of physical and emotional problems. It is also one of the leading causes of suicide.
Those suffering from clinical depression can’t think, feel, and behave properly, which has a huge negative effect on their life. In most cases, patients suffering from depression have trouble performing normal day-to-day activities. This mood disorder is also linked to a lack of motivation for living and can lead to suicidal thoughts.
Considering that physical health is often dictated by mental health, it would be privy to take nurturing the latter seriously. There are a myriad of means by which this can be achieved, but hiking/being in nature, meditation, yoga, nutrition, and listening to music are the focus here. Each offer well-documented and researched benefits that are advantageous to brain stimulation.
Hiking is an excellent means by which our brains are given a chance to thrive. The combination of a serenely scenic and calming environment allows the mind to cognitively realign itself. Being out in nature has a documented, physiological effect on the neurological functioning of the brain.
A recent study conducted by Stanford University explores the beneficial ramifications of being in nature, even in small doses. Unfortunately, opportunities for many to experience a walk in nature for any period of time have grown fewer and farther between with the ever expanding of the urban sprawl.
Keeping your body hydrated aids in transporting nutrients and oxygen to your cells, helps regulate body temperature, and boosts cognitive function (increased mental clarity, more productivity, and better memory). Water also helps detoxify the body by flushing toxins and waste out, increases our metabolism, and helps lubricate joints and muscles for optimal performance and movement.
Roughly 20% of your water intake comes from the foods you eat, particulary water-rich produce. Incorporate the produce listed below into your nutrition plan to increase your daily water intake this summer.
Allergies and inaccessibility to ingredients can definitely make some people shy away from making or even trying some clean, green smoothie recipes. Here’s a brief list of great substitutions you can make so you can still reap the results of a clean, green protein drink!
The fiber in leafy greens help slow down the absorption of sugar from fruit, which means that eating a combination of fruit and leafy greens together is a match made in nutrition heaven. Spinach is the most mild tasting green (and the most popular green smoothie ingredient), which makes it a great leaf for beginners to add to smoothies. But we don’t want you to miss out on all the additional nutrients found in other leafy greens, so it’s time to change it up! Some benefits of rotating your leafy greens:
Andrea Stewart Roa, M.S.
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