5 Steps to Improve Health + Wellness in 2017

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Happy New Year.  We made it through another year, wonderful or not. We may have overcome obstacles, got stuck at forks in the road, made decisions that we thought were best, or not. All of these should be viewed as lessons and, until we learn them, they will keep appearing until we do. They might reappear exactly as they first did, they might be wearing a disguise next time.  Either way, it is a reminder to take a step back and first recognize that this is a reminder, and second, start to make changes.

Our mind-body connection is powerful. Our intuition should not be ignored. The better you tap into this, the more power you have over your every move, your motives, determination and decision making. Listen to your body’s cues.  You know yourself better than you think.

  1. Let go. Holding on to past relationships, grudges, stress, all affect your health. Stress has a huge influence on sleeping patterns as your body releases cortisol to get you through the tough times. Over time, chronic stress can deplete other hormones which affect estrogen levels, sex drive, immune system and nutrient transportation and absorption. Lack of sleep leads to foggy brain, inefficient work, low self esteem and poor decision making. Try to let go of what might be keeping you up at night. The past can’t be changed. Try to handle what has already been done and move forward.
  2. Start a gratitude journal. I feel that I am more present when I say it out loud and write it down. Feelings start to flow around why I am grateful, what steps I took to get to that moment, who was involved and how I feel about it now. The warm and fuzzy feelings have a domino effect that bring happiness, contentment, better sleep and the urge to pay it forward. Once you see the big picture and who and what was involved in making your moment worth being thankful for, you feel full and the flood gates open.
  3. Commit to fitness. You don’t have to join a gym, you don’t have to body build or even buy equipment for home. You simply need to get your heart rate up above normal every day for 30 minutes. You can break up the time or you can work through the 30 minutes all at once. Work different muscle groups, use your own body weight, try getting outside into nature for fresh air and vitamin D, try different classes and commit to that. Write yourself a plan of activities, times that those will work best, and make it a lifestyle. You need to keep blood flowing to help flush toxins, maintain a healthy weight, keep bones strong and exercise is a great way to relieve stress.
  4. Eat more plants. Try to fill half your plate with veggies, the other half with whole grains, plant-based protein or fish and healthy fats. Benefits of a plant-based diet are abundant, including lowered blood pressure, healthier weight, less cravings and mood swings, more energy, lower risk of cardiovascular disease, less inflammation to name a few. Start small by cooking fatty fish twice a week instead of red or white meat, and try #meatlessmonday with a vegetarian chili, whole grains, big salads or soups. Meal plan, prep and grocery shop for the week, chop your veggies and fruit ahead of time to reduce the stress of a dietary change.
  5. Do one thing for yourself every day.  It doesn’t have to be for a certain amount of time but it has to be for you and only you. Self care and self love are crucial for your well being, sense of self and self esteem. Taking the time for something you enjoy is also a great way to reduce stress. Whatever it is you choose to do, you can enter it into your gratitude journal as a reminder of it’s importance. Try to connect with an old friend whose voice makes you happy, go for a pedi, buy yourself fresh flowers, purge-clean out your closet!, take a photograph of something that inspires you and frame it or paint it, stand up for yourself, enroll in a new fitness class…any other ideas? I’d love to hear them 🙂

Most of all, don’t sweat the small stuff.  Does it really matter? I always wonder if I will be a well-lived lady at 85 and look back to realize that most of what I stressed about really didn’t matter in the end. Sure, there were lessons to be learned and hopefully I will have learned them. But, hopefully I will have learned and loved and loved some more. Happy 2017.

 

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