One thing that has struck me since I quit working last year to take care of Nige, is how much we deny ourselves the basics of life because of our bad habits and time limits. Animals don’t do this. Their lives are all about the basics. They instinctively know what to do to survive. We are the most intelligent beings on the planet (perhaps debatable), yet we sometimes forget to allow ourselves even the most basic requirements for survival.
A person’s day should probably really go something like this:
Awake naturally shortly after the sun – positive affirmations and visualisations for the day
Get up – couple of short stretches
Drink of herbal tea/water with lemon to get digestive system going
Light exercise in sunshine and fresh air – in nature if possible
Healthy filling breakfast with all food groups – healthy fats and oils, whole grains, fruit/veg, calcium
Into the day
Lunch of cooked or raw veg, wholegrains and protein
2pm more light to moderate exercise in nature if possible, sunshine, fresh air
3pm herbal tea/water with lemon and small snack
6-7pm dinner of cooked or raw veg (which ever you didn’t have at lunch), protein, wholegrains if you didn’t have at lunch
Lots of water throughout the day, snack on low GI fruit, nuts, chickpeas, veg etc
Walk barefoot when possible, hug the occasional tree
Occasional glass of wine before bed or with dinner
Bed – meditate, listen to healing music, fall asleep
How it used to go for me:
Awake to sound of alarm
Feel cross that I had to get up, start thinking about today’s “to do” list
Grab a coffee
Rush around getting ready, zoom out the door to work/school – stressed to the max
More coffee and food, usually dairy based
Lunch – protein, very rarely wholegrains, very rarely veg, never fruit
2pm more coffee
3pm struggle not to eat unhealthy snack, feel really tired
6pm get home, stress about dinner, settle for something easy and vaguely healthy – one veg, lots of meat, some carbs (not wholegrain)
7pm snack on high carb, high sugar foods
Sometimes take dog for a walk or go to exercise class
Bed – think about what went wrong today, to do list for tomorrow, beat self up a bit for how little achieved, how badly I dealt with people/kids/partner
Meditate because can’t sleep, eventually fall asleep
Spent most of day inside, wearing restrictive clothing and shoes, away from sunshine, fresh air and nature
No time to create healthy food, forgot to drink water.
AND I THOUGHT I WAS PRETTY HEALTHY!
WE ALL NEED THE BASICS – SUNSHINE, NATURE, WATER, GOOD FOOD, EXERCISE, OXYGEN.
FIRE = SUN, WARMTH – FEEL, SEE
EARTH = NATURE, PRODUCE – SEE, SMELL, TASTE
WATER = SWIM, SHOWER/RAIN, DRINK – FEEL, HEAR, TASTE, SEE
AIR = EXERCISE/BREATH OXYGEN, COOL WIND – SMELL, FEEL, HEAR
Our senses are bombarded all day long by sounds, smells, sights, and tastes that we don’t always choose, and that aren’t always good for us.
DO YOU WANT TO TAKE THE POWER, YOUR BASIC RIGHTS AS A LIVING, BREATHING CREATURE BACK?
Then what we need here people is a plan. An easy to follow, realistic plan that anyone can achieve.
Plans are important for EVERYONE. Don’t wait until you’re sick. There is only one life and it’s happening now. It’s never too late to change, and anyone can do it, one baby step at a time if you have to. The important thing to remember here is that it has to make you happy, you need to enjoy the things you do during the day, so choose your version of “the plan” wisely. Here is an example:
Wake up to alarm. Don’t fool yourself that 10 more minutes of sleep is going to help. What is going to help is when you push snooze, instead of going back to sleep, thinking of one thing you are going to do today to make yourself happy. Try and make it something that is not related to food, material items, or a reward for being good. It can be as simple as “I am going to play music while I have my shower this morning and sing loudly”. Try to make it a small and achievable goal. Imagine yourself doing the thing that makes you happy and smile. Then envisage the rest of your day going just as smoothly. Don’t let those negative thoughts ruin it, acknowledge them and then wave them goodbye! Have a cup of your favourite positive affirmations sitting in the kitchen next to a lemon or a green tea box. Let that and your happy moment in the shower (!!) be your incentives for getting up. This should only take 10 mins – when the alarm goes off again you are ready to go. But wait! Sit on the side of your bed and stretch your arms up. Breath in by pushing your stomach out. Then stand and stretch your arms above your head again, bending to the left and right. Shake your legs and hands out. You are good to go.
Make your first action of the day about YOU and you alone, and make it a positive healthy action. Either jump in the shower with your music, or make a green tea/water lemon drink. Select your affirmation for the day. After you have brushed your teeth, say it in the mirror a couple of times. This will only take a few seconds!
If you are walking to work/bus-stop/school great. Just try to remember to focus on breathing and appreciating the world around you as much as possible. If you are going straight from house to car to air conditioning you need to find 2 minutes to be outside in the morning, breathing the air, letting the light hit you. Try to at least touch a tree if you don’t feel like hugging one! It has been scientifically proven that being around nature improves your health.
Drink your pre-prepared juice on the way to work https://throughthebarsoforion.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/the-joys-of-juicing/
At work the key to a great day is preparation, and it needn’t take long. Get your water sorted as soon as you walk in so it’s right there in front of you all day. You will sip it without even noticing. Breakfast can be made the night before. Bircher muesli is excellent for this, and super fast. Buy a low sugar version. Soak overnight in a container that you can take to work, I soak it in unsweetened almond milk, but you can use apple juice. Next morning stir in yoghurt, top with fruit, close the lid and off you go. Once you start the day well, it’s likely you’ll finish it well too.
Lunch should include veges and protein. Make sure it tastes good. Find a way to make it taste good to you. there are many healthy ingredients you can add to make something like a salad tastier and something to look forward to. Don’t be fooled. A large salad can fill you up easily, and it’s not that “I’m so heavy and stuffed” kind of full you get from junk food either. It’s an “I feel satiated but still light and energetic” kind of full.
At 2pm go outside for just 5 minutes. That’s all it take. If you can’t do that and you have a window, stare out the window for 5 minutes. Walk around the office. If the view is shit daydream for a bit, If anyone asks you what you are doing, say you are sorting out a work issue in your head. If you can go outside and you are by water and/or nature, fantastic. Otherwise just do the best you can, even if it’s just watching a bird, or standing near a tree. These little things may sound silly but they all add up to a much nicer day and therefore life. Because all life is, is the moments that make it up.
At 3pm break out the herbal tea/lemon water combo and some palatable food that will give you a lift – NOT coffee or crap food. Try fruit, nuts, sweet treats made from low GI sugars. They are possible to find if you know where to look, taste awesome and are practically guilt free! FINISH YOUR LAST COFFEE BY 2PM so you sleep well.
Have a vege juice if you are hungry before dinner, otherwise have it after exercise and dinner
Practise making healthy dinners in the weekend. Once you have them sussed you’ll realise it’s just as quick and easy to whip up a raw salad and some baked fish as it is any other meal. Again it’s about adding those little herbs and spices and extras that make a bland meal taste wow! Try to get prepared in the weekend so all the ingredients are there. Make lists and stick them on the fridge! DO IT TOGETHER. Usually one person cooks, the other does the dishes. Some unlucky people do both! IT IS SO MUCH MORE FUN TOGETHER! I am not a great cook. If you can’t cook, you can certainly peel or chop. Chat to each other, laugh, put music on. Do the dishes together too, anyone can dry or rinse a dish. That way it doesn’t become one person’s “job” to do a certain thing. Expectations like these can lead to resentment and boredom, the fun is gone. It works on trust, you trust that if you help cook, the other person will help clean.
Now exercise becomes a tough one here. If you don’t have much time, try the options below, whatever speaks to you. Otherwise try to get thee to a yoga/gym class or out for a walk twice a week and once in the weekends. If you can do more great, but don’t pressure yourself, you need to enjoy what you do. If you are short on time:
If the weather is fine go outside, barefoot if possible. It has been proven scientifically that walking outside barefoot is good for your health and well-being.
If you have a tramp, jump on it while listening to music. Don’t make it about how many jumps or how long, just enjoy yourself and do what you feel when you feel it. If you want to run around the tramp, do it, if you want to bounce softly, do it, of you want to see how high you can bounce, just do it! FUN is the key here. 10 minutes is fine. If you have kids it’s something you can do with them and get them knocked our before bedtime too. Did you know that bouncing might also help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles? Sounds like much more fun than Kegel exercises! For more information on re-bounding check out my blog https://throughthebarsoforion.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/the-importance-of-movement/
If you don’t have a tramp, put your music on and dance, or run around on the grass, do handstands, skip. Whatever makes you happy, just do it for fun. DO NOT focus on how hard you are working, or how long you have been doing it for. Do it until it’s not fun anymore then stop.
10 MINUTES IS FINE IF THAT’S ALL YOU CAN MANAGE. If you are a morning person, do your exercise in the morning before breakfast.
You can manage a lot of the above inside too. If you have kids, let them join in, because you are only doing it for fun! Try to do it barefoot too – it’s still good for you if you go barefoot inside.
As bedtime nears, acknowledge that there is nothing wrong with a glass of alcohol, just choose wisely the kind and amount. A glass of wine is good, a litre of Jim Beam is not!
IF YOUR DAY DOESN’T WORK OUT PERFECTLY LET IT GO AND MOVE ON, YOU HAVE THE VERY NEXT MINUTE TO IMPROVE ON THINGS.
Just before you go to bed, write a to do list for tomorrow and put it far away from you in another room. If anything has or still is bothering you, find a way to acknowledge and release it. You might do this by writing it down, thinking about it while exercising, drawing what you feel when you think about it, meditating, talking to someone about it. It’s important to just sit quietly for a couple of minutes before bed to see what comes up. Even if you feel okay prior to bedtime, nasty thoughts can pop up the minute you turn the light out if you haven’t acknowledged and dealt with them first.
People are different when it comes to getting to sleep. Even if you’re a great sleeper you can benefit from a bit of “meditation” before nodding off. Meditation does not have to mean what you think it means. All it is is focusing on shutting up the voice in your head for a bit. YOU WILL DISCOVER THE ANSWER TO A PROBLEM FAR QUICKER IF YOU STOP THINKING ABOUT IT. The key to “meditating” is distracting yourself, and trusting that “you got this”.
Here are some examples of simple meditating:
Lying in bed, close your eyes, and imagine a big warm sun behind your head. Imagine a beam of light is coming out of it, and that you can redirect it with your mind, It starts at the tip of your toes and it very slowly works it’s way all the way to the top of your head. It touches every part of your body on it’s way.
Some people prefer music. If you like to drop off to the TV or radio this is for you. Music without words is good, or there are many online meditations you can listen to. All you have to do is lie back and listen. When you feel the time is right turn off and sleep.
Breathing: Lie on your back with your knees bent, arms relaxed by your sides. Take a deep, slow breath in through your nose by pushing your stomach out. Fill your lungs. Make a small “o” with your mouth and slowly blow the air back out. Your stomach should deflate as you exhale. Take as long as possible to. Work up to 1 minute of exhaling if you can! Repeat. Singers use this method to improve breath control. It is also very relaxing.
These are simple, small things you can inject into your everyday life to make it better. Weekends are for the big version of your day – i.e. more nature, time to create wonderful healthy foods, time to reflect, communicate to loved ones with meaning etc. There are many more things you can do, but sometimes the best part of the journey is discovering them yourself. One of the most important things to change is the way you eat. This can also be the hardest. I am going to do an entire blog about this at some stage. The emotions behind our food choices must be dealt with before anything can change permanently. But don’t delay, just change one small thing today. Because baby steps lead to a whole new, better life.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and that if you are struggling in anyway that it helped a little. Remember it doesn’t matter how many times you aren’t perfect, it only matters that you have made time for yourself today. Try to have fun. If you are taken care of by you, those around you can be taken care of, and learn to take care of themselves.
It’s only over when you say it is. It’s only too late if you give up.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3265077/ – walking barefoot is good for your health