It's that time when we look back on the past year and set new goals and intentions for ourselves for the year to come. Often this involves planning a new exercise program, that we're really going to stick to this time. Or planning to cut out sugar in our diets. Maybe it's to make more time for doing things we love, like traveling or growing a vegetable garden. Or maybe we simply plan on not locking our keys in our car this year. Whatever our resolutions are, there are some super easy things we can do to improve our mental and physical health and start the year out right. (I'll leave out the obvious ones, like exercising and cutting out junk food! You know that already.)
1. Drink Warm Water: Do this. Do this when you first wake up before you brew your first cup of coffee. It is the first step in warming up your digestive system which has a big day ahead of it. Heat up some water in the kettle like you're going to make some tea, but just drink it plain. You can add some lemon if you have some handy.
2. Organize Your Space: Whether it's your work or home space, it is where you spend time and it's important that it feels good to you. Get rid of what you don't need and tidy it up. Being in a more organized space will help you think more clearly and help you feel less overwhelmed by stress.
3. Cook Your Veggies: Instead of eating raw, give your vegetables a light cook. This aids your digestive system in the break down process. This is especially important in the colder months when you want to keep your body warm. When eating fruits, avoid eating them right from the fridge and allow them to get to room temperature.
4. Turn Off The Computer: And your tablet, phone, or television before bed. Although all light can keep you from feeling sleepy, research has shown that light towards the blue end of the spectrum, which electronics emit, is especially effective at keeping you awake because it suppresses the production of melatonin. Practice a nightly bedtime ritual which doesn't include using the things that will make it harder for you to fall asleep. And for Pete's sake, please don't sleep with them on! You will sleep more peacefully without them.
5. Eat Fat: There are healthy fats and there are unhealthy fats. The key to good health is not to cut out fats, but to replace the unhealthy ones (trans-fat items such as margarine or hydrogenated oils) with healthy ones (from fish, meat, dairy, nuts, and avocados.) Your brain and heart need these healthy fats to do their thing. For more information on this, especially if you're interested in healthy fats for fertility, take a look at my blog post from October.
6. Give Your Immune System A Boost: A healthy diet and enough sleep will obviously help keep you from getting sick, but you can also include garlic, astragalus root, ginseng, ginger, and reishi mushroom (ganoderma lucidum) to boost your immune system. You can find all of these in capsule form, but if you get them in raw form you can make a tea or cook it in meals.
7. Practice Some Simple Breathing Techniques: One of the best things you can do for yourself is to practice deep breathing. Not only does it benefit the lungs, but it can be particularly grounding and can help you relax before bed. A simple exercise is to take a long, slow, deep breath in through your nose. Think about breathing the air all the way down into your tummy. Fill up your lungs completely and hold for a count of 5. Then, slowly exhale through your mouth completely emptying your lungs. Practice this breath 3 times and do it 3 times a day.
8. Play Hooky: If you're starting to feel over stressed and bogged down by work, take a day for yourself. The work will be there when you get back, but if you continuously overextend yourself, you're bound to get sick or experience pain which could put you further behind or cause you to miss more work. So take a break and go see a movie, get a massage, or something else to give your brain and body a rest.
9. Take A Magnesium Salt Bath: Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. So why not take a bath in it? It will also help relax muscles, benefit your skin, and promote a better night's rest. Add 2 cups of epsom salts to your bath plus a few drops of essential oil such as lavender or rose and soak for 20 minutes.
10. Book An Acupuncture Appointment! Of course I was going to say that. Weather or not you are suffering from pain or an ailment, acupuncture treatment will help naturally re-balance your body's organ systems. It will help lower stress and maintain healthy hormone levels. Plus you get to take a nap!
Call 617-308-6620 to book an appointment today. Happy New Year!