Attempting to achieve the American dream may be proving to be a health nightmare. In our unrelenting effort to make ends meet, we usually wind up burning out.
It’s not until we get sick or come down with some frightening illness that we stop and reflect upon our day-to-day behavior. The classic adage applies more than ever: If we don’t have our health, we have nothing. So, what are we going to do to change?
First off, our priority must be our health and wellness. That includes how we eat, sleep, exercise, and also attend to our emotional and spiritual lives. If that statement scares you, it’s probably because you think it’s going to be too hard or too expensive. Yes, it will take commitment and discipline—but so does everything in your life that matters.
To truly succeed, it’s necessary that you place you and your loved ones’ health in the number one spot. So with that said, here are some tips for making your transition simple and enjoyable, not worrisome or costly.
Make a shopping list of all the foods you know (or have read) to be healthy. That would include fresh produce, whole grains, and lean meats. Read labels and stay away from anything that has sugar or corn syrup as a primary ingredient. Keep dairy to a minimum.
Plan to make all your meals at home until everyone adapts to your new eating lifestyle. Look online for yummy recipes to motivate yourself. Worse case scenario, you throw a bunch of greens, fruits, a scoop of almond butter, some yogurt, lemon-water, and ice into the blender.
It takes five minutes and it’s a nutritious full meal. If you stick to a good-food plan, you won’t be able to go back to fast-food or junk; your body won’t let you. It will re-learn how to crave proper nutrition.
As adults, genetics and heredity play a part in the “perfect” amount of sleep for each individual. Research, however, estimates that we need, on the average, eight hours per night for best health.
To achieve this with a hectic lifestyle, make your evening restful. Have a cup of chamomile tea, read, stretch, practice yoga, meditate, do what you can to provide a calm body so that you can fall asleep quicker and more deeply. Refrain from using a computer or Smartphone in bed.
If you think you can’t find enough time for a long sleep, trade-in something else you do that isn’t nearly as important (think: Candy Crush, Facebook, TV, reading gossip columns, etc.).
Just assume that everyday you are going to get exercise. In an ideal world, we’d have an hour each day to do some aerobic activity, weight training, and yoga. But since most of us can’t achieve that, think of exercise simply as “movement.” Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
Get off the bus an exit early and walk a few blocks. Use some of your lunch break to go outside, walk, and breathe fresh air. Chase your kid around the dinner table. 10 minutes of jumping jacks, push-ups, and a few planks is better that no minutes of nothing. What’s most important is making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle.
Peace of Mind: Not everyone wants to meditate. Although its benefits have been scientifically proven to reduce stress, increase attention span, improve metabolism, and help you sleep better, you don’t have to do it. How about sitting quietly and taking deep breaths?
Give yourself permission to be alone. Explore how you are feeling. Pay attention to all parts of your body while you are still. Focus on relaxing and dispelling any negative or anxious thoughts.
Even in five minutes, you’ll feel rejuvenated. If you can try that for 20, all the better. Eventually, you will learn how to do this (and check in with yourself) even with your eyes open, in a room full of people. Let yourself feel calm, joyous, and full of gratitude. There’s nothing like that recipe for a healthy vibe and body.
Your fear of trying something new or making changes should pale in comparison to the fear you’ll experience when your health starts faltering. Being proactive and taking the best action to keep your body healthy really matters more than anything.