By: Dr Dawn
I am constantly reading about some new health food/supplement, exercise regime, or guaranteed cure for whatever ails you. There are so many gadgets and supplements on the market that ensure their use is the one exact tool you need for a healthy happy life. Well, I am here to tell you that none of those “things” are important components of healthful living. In fact, the recipe for living a healthy happy life is quite elegantly simple although challenging to commit to on a daily basis.
I believe there are essentially 7 daily habits, that if adopted, will surely lead you to a healthier and happier you!
1) Get plenty of sleep/rest
Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep every night for tissue regeneration and overall rejuvenation. Above and beyond a good night’s sleep, quiet restful times sprinkled throughout the day offer tremendous assistance to both our physical and mental performances. I include meditation in these moments.
2) Eat REAL food
Real food is unprocessed without any added ingredients. Buy, cook, and eat fresh organic vegetables, fruit, and protein as often as possible throughout the week. Whether you subscribe to paleo, gluten free, South Beach, vegan, vegetarian, etc eating REAL whole unprocessed foods is the most important factor. Make your own energy bars with raw ingredients from your own kitchen. Cook dinner and make enough for left overs at lunch the following day. Start every day with a hearty home made breakfast… you can make egg muffins days in advance if cooking in the morning is too much of a time-challenge.
3) Move your body
Determine what movement based activity you enjoy doing and do it!! OFTEN!! And don’t forget to mix it up! Take walks, hang from the monkey bars, participate in group strength training sessions, go for a bike ride, etc. Our bodies are made to move and require daily movement in a variety of ways to tease out the fascial cobwebs that sleep and rest tend to spin.
4) Practice good posture
Stand up straight! Sit up straight! Our mothers really did know what they were talking about! Practicing good postural biomechanical alignment is one of the most important factors for reducing repetitive stress pain. Sit on your sit bones and stand with shoulders over hips over ankles. For more info please see https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dr-Dawn-DPT.
5) Establish a regular self-care routine
A self-care routine may include massage, self-massage with myofascial release tools (Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls are my personal fave!), and stretching. Meditation or just quiet reflection/contemplation can be included here as well.
6) Communication and Socialization
Quality time and talks with loved ones is extremely fortifying! Talk to your spouse/partner every day about life, love, desires, quests, hardships, disagreements, etc. An open line of communication is the thread that stitches the tapestry of your relationship. Spend time laughing and enjoying each other’s unique perspectives on life. Make sure you include time with good friends who nourish your social needs.
7) New skill acquisition/life-long learning attitude
Never stop learning and growing as a person! Create and encourage new experiences to challenge your status quo! School, continuing education, informal skill learning, dance class, new exercise challenge… the options are endless and only limited by your own desires and imagination.
None of these ideas are earth-shatteringly complex! No rocket science in these ideas! But it does take some thought, attention, and mindful practice to really follow this path to health and happiness. It takes accountability. Only you can do this for yourself.