Updated: May 31, 2021
1) Give yourself a break. As in, don't judge yourself too harshly. The world is not what we expected, it never is and it never will be, and we really don't know what to expect next. We just assume we do. If we are not always 100% on each day we don't need to panic, “hell” go have a 20% day, lets just be sure to avoid stringing those days together.
2) The 1% improvement. Expecting to flip the script on some area of your life or the whole thing over night is not an easy task and those that do often do not develop in the areas needed to on time, and then the progress all falls apart. Take the "marginal Gains" approach of Sir Dave Brailsford and his cycling team. Make small 1% changes every day and that can get you to gold medal status.
3) Spend time with those that matter most. Yes this includes family and friends, but what about yourself? When we are around others constantly distracted with social media or movies glued to the t.v or phone we can not hear our own thoughts and ideas. These valuable pieces of you float off into the forgotten land never to be brought to light again. Turn off, step away from the constant demands on your attention. Our best suggestion is to go out for a walk in nature alone, sit by the lake, river or ocean, find the trees and listen to them in the wind with the birds singing overhead. Allow yourself to be away from everything you will begin to hear yourself think and sometimes you will get great ideas sometimes silly ones and then sometimes you will figure a solution to the on going concern of yours and the stress slips away. WE obviously suggest to be prepared and we don't suggest anything dangerous on your own. Keep it simple it's not a work out.
4) Sleep. It's not just a trendy subject people speak about these days, the fact it is being spoken on so regularly is due to the importance it plays for all stages of your life. Don't get too concerned if you don't get 8 hours per night. Some people can function and be just as healthy on less. I personally have had times when 6 hours felt great and times when 8 hours did not feel like enough. Our body changes and circumstances change. This is why keeping a journal entry on sleep duration and quality may be helpful if you are experiencing any symptoms that may suggest less than adequate sleep. There are also tools available to help you track your sleep more in-depth. You can also give number 7 a read; it could be a game changer for your sleep.
5) Eating. No I did not and will not say that diet word. We need to have a sustainable way of eating. when you diet (sorry) you take 3,6,9 months of teaching yourself how to eat on this or that diet to slim down or bulk up but what happens when that becomes nonsense when you get tired of broccoli and chicken or the double hitter when you can't afford the $600 bucks a month for some pill and shake plan and you have been on it for 6 months and now have absolutely no clue how to eat effectively, and look out start reintroducing foods that you avoided for all that time and extra money. Bloating, fatigue, brain fog or joint pain are all common when people are not aware of the food they eat and how it affects the body and the brain. The solution is very simple: don't waste time! start today and learn how to eat properly and effectively, your body and your gut microbiome may not be the same as your partners either so again with the journal. Track your food in a journal or app and pay attention to how the food you eat makes you feel. Well at the same time being aware of your calorie intake and its effect on your body as well, we are all different what worked for Sue may not work for you. Eat good whole foods, avoid artificial sugars and highly processed foods, remember its fuel for your body and brain so let's stick to premium fuel.
6) Resistance training. We do believe it is always in the number 1 or 2 spot on the importance scale but for this article we wanted to highlight some other areas that many may be struggling with at this time. This is the main area we look to work in with clients as the benefits are across the board. If your sleep struggles try exercise, stress levels rising lift weights, pain discomfort or injury it correct exercise and exercising correctly. You want to improve heart health training is the game. This method of self care does not leave an inch of the body untouched and when we resistance train even 20 minutes 3 times per week and we do it with intent our health can have some good improvements. For those who are looking for a little more of an edge in life then we can ramp up the resistance training with longer or more frequent sessions and then we see improvements multiply. But we also need to look at the brain and the benefits resistance training has on this extremely important organ. We won't dive into all the science but simply, when you exercise your brain creates more of the protein BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) the best way I heard BDNF described is "miracle grow for the brain" (Dr. John Ratey). When we exercise it improves our abilities to grow brain cells. This is something we could all use to our advantage, and wow can you imagine if we had our children exercising before school daily and using exercise to build other important life skills like communication, discipline, resilience, team work, math, science and much more. Lets not forget that those amazing little people around us see what we do and they will copy your actions, lead your pack with resistance training.
7) Breathe. We have all been told by someone in our life and I'm sure we have told others to just breathe, or maybe that friend or family member was a little wound up or even having a panic attack and they hear take deep breaths. What is a deep breath ? Let's take one together and hold it for 5 seconds ? Did you open your mouth, did your shoulders rise up, chest puffed out maybe all the way up and did your cheeks get full of oxygen? Deep breath implies deep as in ocean deep, deep down in your diaphragm and if we eliminate that first reaction of the mouth open we can start to solve this problem. And by problem I mean PROBLEM !! The negative effects of mouth breathing go all across the body and at all ages, some ages the effects can be tragic. The percentage of us that mouth breath is astounding and the way to address it can be quite simple for most people. We can combine proper breathing practices and other breathing exercises, address sleep habits to help you breathe through your nose at night. When you breathe properly and effectively the benefits can be incredible. We do about 25,000 breaths per day lets make them good reps
8) Hydration. This is another one that is usually at the top of the list, yes because it is extremely important and also because so many of us need to be reminded of just how important it is to stay properly hydrated. The body relies heavily on water and we actually lose a large percentage of our hydration through mouth breathing so that makes number 7 even more important. Roughly 3 liters of water per day is needed for the average person, if you're training or you're an athlete then this will need to go up based on your individual needs. This can be tracked as well in your journal. The more aware we are of our habits the more opportunity we have to change them and staying hydrated is one habit we want to have in our life. A simple and convenient way to track your intake is to wrap elastics around the bottle and remove them when you refill your water bottle. Remember 3 liters per day so know the size of your bottle !! And keep in mind there are foods and drinks that can dehydrate us. Be aware of your body and mind and consider all factors in maintaining your hydration.