WHAT TO DO TO CREATE HEALTH AND WELLNESS WHEN YOU’RE AT WORK.
You’ve probably heard it all before:
“If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything ”.
“We spend the first 40 years of our lives damaging our health and the rest of them, rebuilding it”.
While it’s easy to understand that good health is fundamental to your well-being, it can be harder to achieve it. And what is ‘good health’ anyway? It’s becoming clear that it’s not just an absence of recognisable illness as many people feel tired, stressed and unhappy when there is no diagnosable condition present.
But not everyone – me included – longs for the gym at 6:00 a.m to ‘keep fit’. And is fitness the same as health?
Good health needs to include a balanced mix of physical and emotional well-being, not just a firm six-pack or the ability to spend an hour in the gym, without breaking sweat. Yes, absolutely, you must attend to the physical well-being of your body. Life is so much easier when your energy levels are high and your stamina is good. But find out what makes you feel good and do that, rather than take on something you’re never going to fly with.
Simple is often best and particularly when you can blend it in with the needs of your family, your job and your personal taste. Consider how much difference a 30 minute daily walk would make to your health, temper and possibly weight. Can you find a way of taking a 15 minute walk during your day and doing it twice? Perhaps you’d love to dance or take up a martial art: swim or cycle? Having a goal that has fitness included in it can be much more motivating than ‘just’ getting fit.
Emotional well being plays into your physical life. Modern medicine is now accepting that the mind/body connection is real and powerful, so take time out to chill. Meditation isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it is now proven to give great benefits to anyone who practices. And it needn’t be all about sitting on a mat saying “OM”!. You can do almost anything meditatively as long as you intend to give it your single-pointed attention. So creating art, walking and listening to your breath, even washing the car or floor can become meditative when done with awareness, calm and focus.
Having healthy relationships makes for good emotional health. Asking and giving help, repairing arguments, having fun time planned in your diary and making new friends all contribute. So even joining a group once a week to do something new, like reading a play, going to the movies, walking or just hanging out, will give you a boost.
Here are some of my best ‘easy to do’ tips to help you focus on your health and support your wellbeing, particularly if you are find it hard to get time out to exercise.
Ask yourself, right now, what area of your health concerns you?
Maybe you feel tired too often, or you have a worry about your weight, or heart/digestion/joint pain? Just relax and allow yourself to see what is concerning you in an observational way. Now, imagine how you would feel if this was no longer an issue. For instance, would you feel:
Safer: happier: more relaxed , more confident, more attractive, or stronger? Just write down all the words that describe how being healthier will make you feel.
Keep this list somewhere easy to read – in your purse, wallet or as a screen saver – to remind you what the bonus of a positive change in your health will be and also take steps to discuss your concerns with your health care provider. Create a plan that works for you and don’t make it a chore, choose fun stuff!
2. Allow yourself a few extra minutes in the morning to move your body.
Be smart about this – if time is short, dance while the kettle boils! Do some squats before you get in the shower – even just 5 minutes of moving your joints, skipping, or bouncing will help you to start your day in a way that energises you, gets the blood flowing and brings fresh oxygen to your system.You’ll find you are more likely to want to exercise later in the day if you’ve started like this.
3. Eat breakfast – but be smart about it.
A great start to the day is a glass of warm water with a big squeeze of lemon juice in it. You need an empty stomach for exercise, so this is ideal as your first drink. If you’re used to caffeinated drinks you may feel this is a big thing to ask, but the buzz from the exercise should help.
Eat a nourishing breakfast, low in refined sugar preferably. Think ‘more’ than cereals. Eggs on spinach; rice and vegetables; grilled lean bacon and tomatoes: fish – all help to give you a boost in the morning. Vary your breakfast foods. Avoid having wheat every day. Choose rice or oat based cereals and bread some days. Cottage cheese is a great source of protein, as is yogurt. In the summer, why not peel yourself an exotic mango in the morning and add some chopped bananas and pecans for a very special summer taste. If you don’t feel like eating how about buying quality smoothies or protein drinks? A glass of smoothie and a handful of dried fruit can be a good start, then you could eat something mid-morning.
4 If you drink alcohol, allow yourself a night off as often as possible.
Alcohol takes 24 to 48 hours to clear your system and plays havoc with your liver, skin, sugar levels and temper. Try drinking mocktails, alcohol-free wines and lagers once in a while. If you are socialising and you really feel you need a lift I recommend herbal helpers that will lift your mood – these are not drinks! Try Party Potion (Moon Flower and Calamus) from http://www.sensorysolutions.co.uk, or just dab a drop of Geranium essential oil onto your inner wrist. Geranium and Rose essential oils are very uplifting, so use them in your bath, mixed in water and sprayed in your room or car. For natural gentle feel-good moments put them in a diffuser/burner in your room.
5. Rest when you come home for at least ten minutes
When you get home, lie on the floor and put your lower legs (calves and feet) onto a soft chair or sofa, so they are supported. Make sure you are warm, (cover yourself with a blanket if necessary) close your eyes, and just listen to your breath for ten minutes. When it’s time to get up, do so slowly – if you have high or low blood pressure, roll onto your side first and then sit up.
6. Take 5 minutes to walk (away from your desk), about 4 times per day, and walk briskly to get your circulation flowing and clear your head. Take 5 deep, slow breaths in and out of your nose, during your walk.
And if you like the idea of quietening your mind chatter, but can’t imagine how you would even sit still for long enough to do that, how about using this specially-designed short guided visualisation from my collection? It will get you in the right frame of mind and help you to stay there.
It’s short enough to fit into a break time/commute/walk and powerful enough to help your sub-conscious mind think in new ways. This one is perfect when you want some extra support in making healthy changes!!