Updated: Oct 11, 2020
Optimal health can be described as the balance and integration of physical, social, emotional, and psychological elements of life. There is no one thing or single "hack" that will allow you to achieve it. Finding and maintaining optimal health requires consistent work and the successful balancing of all aspects of life, including exercise, sleep, nutrition & hydration, stress, and mental state. Are you maintaining a balance lifestyle? Here are several considerations:
1. Are you exercising daily?
This doesn't necessarily have to be running a mile or lifting weights. The key is to get your body moving, stretch/provide resistance for your muscles, and elevate your heart rate.
2. Are you drinking enough water?
Our bodies are made up of nearly 60% water. I'm sure you've heard this one before: drink 6-8 8 oz glasses a day. This is so important for not only keeping your body hydrated, but for brain function as well. Many people live in a state of dehydration, which causes fatigue (among other negative effects). In order to function efficiently and with high energy, ensure that you are properly hydrated throughout the day. For more info on benefits of hydration see the previous blog post "Benefits Of Morning Hydration."
3. What are you eating?
Avoid fast food and processed foods, refined carbs, and sugar. Stick to whole, natural foods: fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, whole grains. Eat dairy only on occasion. If you can afford to, go for grass-fed beef. Trade that bag of chips, highly processed protein bar, or cookies for a healthy snack like apples/celery with almond butter (choose almond or cashew butter over peanut butter). Skip the soda! If caffeine is absolutely essential to make it through your day, drink coffee instead. Avoid coffee drinks loaded with sugar!
4. Do you get enough sleep?
One of the most important considerations of general health is adequate sleep. Benefits include improved cognitive function, increased immune function, lowered risk of health conditions (heart disease/diabetes), preventing weight gain, and improved mood. If you're having difficulty falling asleep at night: 1. Limit phone/computer/TV screen exposure before bed (blue light blocking glasses are terrific for filtering artificial light, wear for at least 30 minutes before bed), 2. Exercise daily, 3. Have a routine sleep schedule with consistent sleep times, 4. Avoid eating late at night, 5. Avoid spending time in your bedroom while not sleeping (naps, TV, working, laying in bed).
5. Do you meditate?
Meditating means something a little different for every person. For me, it's simply clearing the mind. You don't have to be a monk and you don't have to spend hours sitting on the floor with your legs crossed. Make sure you find time in the day (10-20 mins), in a comfortable/relaxing position, to turn off the constant chatter in your mind.
Quieting the mind can also include entering into a flow state by spending time doing something you love, such as playing an instrument, surfing, or running. The key is to distract your mind from work activities, stress, and everyday responsibilities!
The easiest way to implement these practices into your schedule is to make them routine, start small and do your best! If you would like some more details on how to achieve daily balance and optimal health, please send me a message. I hope this helps!