Rethink. Reset. Reboot. – Physical Well-Being
In my previous introductory blog, I went into detail about Mind-Body Medicine which refers to how emotional, mental, spiritual and social factors can affect our physical well- being. This is backed by the research in the field of Quantum Physics and Epigenetics.
Now let’s begin by evaluating how well our physical system is doing, before moving on to the social and personal well-being sections in the upcoming blogs.
I am not endorsing any of the sources that I mention. They are from my own views based on my personal experience and I thought that this would help you with some ideas for yourself.
In this first part, we will look at how our current way of living is keeping our bodies in the best shape possible to allow us to be the superheroes we can be. A state of Physical Well-Being includes lifestyle behaviour choices to avoid negative health conditions, so that we can live a happier existence. Our physical well-being is broken into three categories: Sleep, Nutrition and Exercise. Each category has an equal part to play in our physical health. All three sections are part of the same system and they are as important as each other. If one is weak, then the whole system is weak – similar to the “weakest link”.
A. Sleep: ZZZs to the Rescue
- How many hours are you sleeping? Is that enough for you?
- How do you feel when you get up in the morning?
- Do you take caffeine and/ or alcohol that is affecting your sleep?
- Do you need sleeping aids such as calming music to help you fall asleep?
- Do you have difficulty falling asleep because your mind is full of thoughts?
- Are you tired enough at bedtime to sleep?
- Do you take naps during the day?
- What is stopping you from soundful sleep?Our bodies have a natural time-keeping clock known as the circadian rhythm. It affects your brain, body and hormones, helping you to stay awake and when to go to sleep. Some ways to get this going for more restful sleep are:
- Make sure during the day you are exposed to bright lights, either by going out into the sun, or making sure the bright lights are on in your house or where you work.
- Put your phones and other electronic devices off as the blue light negatively affects your sleep. You can download apps on your smartphones to help.
- Do not watch TV right before bed. Stop at least 2 hours before.
- Sleep at consistent times daily.
- Take long deep breaths when you get into bed. Inhale for 5 counts and exhale for another 5 counts repeatedly until you feel you are relaxed. Paying attention to your breath lowers the mental chatter in your head.
There are a few of us, like parents for example, who sacrifice our sleep for other things that we think are more important. we should put more effort into a good night’s rest. However, at this time when our immunity should be at its best, we should put more effort into a good night’s rest. If you have a sleep condition such as sleep apnea, such as when your breathing stops and starts irregularly, please call your doctor for treatments that can help. And for those who snore, or are sharing beds with a partner that snores, there are aids such as nasal strips and ear plugs available at your local pharmacy.
Sleep is very important to keep healthy, and along with that is the nutrition that we consume.
B. To Meat or Not to Meat
The second most significant area of physical well-being is our nutrition. We are flooded with so much information that it confuses us to figure out what is best for us. We have all heard the saying, â€œYou are what you eat.â€ This means that whatever we put into our body affects our health and total well-being. In Ayurveda (it is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems), it is said that our food also affects our characteristics. For example, Ayurvedic doctors believe that eating meat makes you more aggressive by lowering the serotonin in the brain. Use your intuition (yes you have one) to figure out what works for you by being mindful of how you feel during and after your meal. Water is an essential part of our nutrition to keep us hydrated so do not forget to factor that into your checklist.
- How many calories do you consume a day? Do you use apps to help you calculate your caloric intake?
- How does the particular diet you are consuming make you feel? Both physically as well as emotionally?
- After your meal do you feel bloated, sluggish, or irritated?
- Do you know what you are eating? Do you enjoy your meals?
- Are you distracted while eating?
- Do you take your time to eat?
- Are you stressed while eating?
- How much water are you drinking?
- Do you feel thirsty at night before bed?
In my personal experience I have found that whole plant-based foods in their most natural state are good for your digestive system, are very nutrient dense and low in fat and calories, and high in fibre, making it easier for you to maintain good weight. Right now there is a huge trend towards a plant based diet ,making ingredients readily available from your local market. “Noom” is an example of a great resource to create results through habit and behaviour change instead of restrictive dieting, which is freely available for 14 days, if you need additional help with your nutrition.
Paying attention to what you are eating and eating in a good mood are two other ways to support the assimilation of your food intake into systemic energy. This energy is needed for the brain to function well and for the whole body to be at its peak performance. If we are consuming more energy than we burn, we will need an additional outlet for that energy. That comes in the form of physical activity. Some of us love it and some of us hate it, but for us to be stronger to live a full life, we need to get our heart pumping and our muscles in tone.
C. Fat or Fitsion
15 minutes of physical activity a day can make you feel happier, increase your energy levels, help with relaxation and sleep quality, delay signs of aging and improve brain health and memory in addition to helping with weight loss, increasing bone density and decreasing risks of chronic diseases, according to healthline.com. Exercise can also inflame your body, which is good and bad. Inflammation helps you build muscle, but it can also increase the risk of injuries. Make sure that you give your body enough rest to recover. Now let’s see how active you are.
- Are you physically active daily? How many hours a week do you exercise?
- What area do you feel you are lacking? Cardiovascular health or muscletone?
- Do you need more motivation to get moving?
- Do you feel too tired and low after your workout?
- Are you doing what makes you feel good and energised?
- Is your body reflecting your workouts in how it looks?
- Do you feel healthy for your height and weight?
There are a myriad of choices to help you get active. Even if you choose not to go to a gym, YouTube different kinds of workouts to do at home with no equipment. Get up and shake the blues away.
One of my favorite YouTube channels is PopSugar Fitness, which has different kinds of workouts ranging from High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), to dance workouts, as well as
yoga. You can find one to fit your level and the amount of time you have. If you have children at home and need a way for them to partake in exercises that will be good for them, you should
try https://qns.com/story/2020/03/29/indoor- exercise-for-kids-online-classes-and-games- during-coronavirus/ to find what works for your family and the space you have. Another way to
get physical activity for the whole family and be productive at home is to do housework. Put on some music and get moving while cleaning and cooking instead of sitting in your PJs, watching Netflix while eating take-out!
Once you feel comfortable to go outside, even a 15 minute walk while listening to music, a podcast or an audio book is a great way to get moving. I find time goes by a lot quicker when your mind is occupied. When you are working on muscle building with either pilates, yoga or weight lifting, focusing your mind on what you are doing helps with the time, makes your workout more effective and reduces the risk of injury. If you like a sport such as tennis or basketball, being mindful of what is going on makes the game all the more fun.
If you are struggling with exercising you are not alone. It could just be your belief that exercise is boring and takes up too much time and energy. Or maybe you are exercising but it is not changing how you look and feel. Everyone has a different body and what works for others may not work for you. Choose one that makes your heart pump a little harder, makes your muscles a little stronger, and that you look forward to and gives you the rush of the feel-good hormone serotonin.
We have taken a snapshot of how we are doing in the Physical Well-Being department with a few ideas thrown in. A summary is that we should get at least 7 hours a night of restful sleep, eat what makes us feel healthy and in a good mood for at least 4 hours, and move our bodies for at least 15 minutes a day. All of us have our limitations on what we can do, but making the most of what we have is key to improving our physical well-being.
We all want to look good, feel great and be happy. Do you think that looking good and feeling physically great about our bodies is enough to be happy and in good health? In my personal experience I find that there is more to life than just our physical well-being. In my next blog, we will look at another part of overall health which is Social Well-Being. Most of us are surrounded by people in our daily lives and our relationship with them is key to keeping us happy. We will be investigating how our relationship with family, friends and colleagues are and what we can do to make them better.