I hear the terms "Health and Wellness" thrown around a lot these days. It seems like every social media post and online article has some sort of tip on how to achieve long-term "Health and Wellness." Do we even know what that looks like? What if my version of health and wellness is different than yours? Are we still both healthy and well even though we have different versions?
Today I'm going to give us a little working definition of what it means to be living a life of health and wellness.
Let's begin with the definition of wellness I found on Dr. Google, "Wellness is the act of practicing healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better physical, mental, and emotional health outcomes."
AWESOME! I'm so glad they cleared that up! Okey dokie, let's go be healthy and well!
Wait a second, what do they mean by healthy habits? What are these healthy habits? Is there a universal standard? Or can I make up my own rules? Is daily consumption of ice cream a healthy habit? It brings me extreme happiness, so therefore it must be good for me, right? Turns out, there are universal standards for healthy habits. Good thing I'm a health coach and I know what those are, and that's what I'm going to share with you today.
As a wellness coach and movement specialist, this is what I work on with people. I help people- specifically pre-menopausal and menopausal woman working from home, create healthy, sustainable, long-term health habits to improve their overall well being. Together we collaborate on how to create healthy routines that are simple, enjoyable, and easily incorporated into their daily lives. The point is to reduce stress, NOT increase it!
This is why an individualized approach is so important. What works for me may not work for you, even though we're both after the same end-result; a healthy and well-balanced life that includes activities that help reduce stress and maybe...just maybe...give us a bit of true joy. Now, you might be thinking "the only thing that brings me true joy is Ice Cream. Now what?" Well, we would work on finding a way to keep SOME Ice cream, but also make sure we're incorporating some other healthy habits to balance out the ice cream. Think of the Scales of Justice- we want Lady Justice's scales to be as balanced as possible, not too heavy towards one side or the other. Before we get into all that, let's first talk about the 5 Daily Healthy Habits to Wellness.
Here are my Top Five Healthy Habits for a living a a life of Health and Wellness.
Drink water. Plain water, water with lemon, water with Apple Cider Vinegar, water with cucumbers and mint- whatever- drink water! Minimum of 64 oz a day.
Why? Water is the most important nutrient for our bodies- more important then food! Our bodies are 60% water. Even a slight drop in hydration levels can severely affect our mood, our energy, and how our bodies feel. If we're already thirsty that means we're already slightly rehydrated. More extreme symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, dizziness, dark urine and confusion. If you're experiencing brain fog on regular basis, this might be a sign that you need to drink more water.
How much water do we need? Minimum recommendation for women is about 12 cups a day, or almost 3 liters. If you're drinking enough, your urine will be the color of straw and you don't feel thirsty.
How to get more water into your day
Make a deal with yourself- one glass of water BEFORE you drink anything else- then let yourself have your coffee, tea, wine....mmmmm...wine....
Really bad about getting enough water? Set an alarm to go off at the end of every hour. First- stand up rom your desk, and then drink 8 ounces of water.
Make your water taste good! I put a little cranberry juice, lemon, and mint into a pitcher and try and make it through my pitcher (about 32 ounces) everyday.
Already doing all these steps? Try starting your day with a glass of warm water with lemon to help detox your liver.
2. Move everyday
And I don't mean walking from the bedroom to the kitchen, then to your home office. Nope- I'm talking exercise.
"Exercise is physical activity that requires effort (sorry) to attain health and wellness".
It doesn't need to be a lot. Start with a 10 minute walk everyday, 10 minutes of Yoga, 10 minutes of dancing, a 10 minute Fitbreak with me at Get Fit with Sue at EZ Fit in 10!
Go to bed! Turn off the TV, the iPad, the computer, the phone, the Kindle...you get the idea. As a society, we are not sleeping enough. Our bodies are meant to wind down and go to sleep when the sun goes down. Most adults are supposed to get 7 to 9 hours a night (that's hilarious).
If you're not consistently getting enough sleep, then it's time to work on your sleep routine.
Where to start? Start with going to bed between 10 and 11 pm. Try that for 2 weeks. Turn off the electronics and put on a guided sleep meditation to help you wind down. Personally I love the Calm app. Another popular one is Headspace.
Diet and Nutrition is a whole separate article, book, course- let's just say that diet and nutrition are a big deal in terms of creating healthy habits. Nutrition deserves its own Top Ten Daily Habits (future blog post) for Long Term Wellness. Today, I'm simply going to give you my favorite acronym: Stop Eating C.R.A.P!
Seriously- stop eating this stuff and it will make a HUGE difference. All of these CRAP foods cause inflammation- in our joints (causing arthritis) and in our hearts (cardiovascular disease). If you're looking to clean up your diet, start here and stop eating CRAP!
We've got to start dealing with that 500 lb elephant who keeps sitting quietly in the corner of your office. Yes, she maybe adorable, but she's got to go! Stress is a big deal causing long term health problems. How we deal with stress is just as important as the actual stressors. It's not about getting rid of stress, because we all know that's ain't gonna happen. however, we can change how we DEAL with stress.
In order to change how we deal with stress, we need to first become aware of how we react to stress. This can take a bit of time, patience, and practice. Step one; start using your fancy Apple Watch and BREATH! Do 1 minute of deep breathing once a day for 2 weeks. This will help you to start building awareness as to how you respond to stress. One minute of breath slows us down, helps us get centered, grounded, and back in the present moment.
"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present".
Yes, this is just the tip of the ice cream cone, but let's get real. If we think about the whole mountain, we'll never start walking that trail. Here's my action step. Pick ONE, 1, UNO, tip off this list to start incorporating into your daily life. Let's say you choose to work on your water intake. AWESOME! don't try to double your water intake in a day. You'll end up spending way too much time in the bathroom. Start with 1 more glass a day. Pick a time of day that you can realistically do this- right before lunch or after a walk, and start. Keep doing it for 2 weeks. After two weeks, we add another easy step, like drinking a glass when you get up in the morning.
These steps may seem small, but they are steps forward. One step at a time. That's how we climb that mountain. You got this!