I haven't always been this way. I had a vision in my mind of who and what I wanted to be and what qualities and characteristics I wanted to cultivate, but I had no real path or clue on how to get there. It all started with making small changes. One small change, begot another small change, and then another. And before I knew it (with lots of blood, sweat, and tears,) here I am! Little lifestyle changes do add up! It's very easy to become overwhelmed at the beginning of the journey. Don't think you have to do everything all at once. Start with easy things. Once you establish the small lifestyle habits, they become routine, and then after many small changes and adjustments (because you will continue to adjust and update practices as your life changes) you're living a completely different lifestyle from a few years ago.
My awareness of my lifestyle choices started in 2013 after my miscarriage. I wanted to live a healthier lifestyle to increase my chances of becoming pregnant and having a healthy baby. The first thing I looked at was my environment. I removed as many toxins as I could from the house. Cleaning sprays and scrubs all contain toxins which affect our hormones. We call those endocrine disruptors. I stopped purchasing the toxic cleaners and started to replace it with less toxic stuff. Next up, were all the personal care items that I used. From make-up to hair products to lotions that I put on my body and face. There are so many toxic chemicals that are used in make-up and personal care products. Many of these toxins are banned, yes, banned in other countries, but not here. Consumers need to be aware of what they are purchasing and make educated decisions when it comes their purchases. Remember, we vote with our dollars, so if a company participates in certain practices that you don't agree with, let's say animal testing, STOP buying their products. They will get the message very soon since they're missing out on your dollars.
At this point, I changed my environmental toxins in my home and classroom. Yes, you also need to consider your workplace, since we do spend so much time there. Small little changes, like discontinuing the use of Febreeze, Airwick, and Glade plug-ins, (yes, even the ones from Bath and Body Works are toxic) are a great way to start improving your health. Again, there are many toxins in those sprays and plug-ins that could be causing you and your family respiratory illnesses and allergies. Sorry. Better alternatives to consider are soy candles, incense sticks or cones, or fresh flowers. Essential oils are great to use in a diluted spray bottle.
The next piece to consider when changing lifestyle is nutrition. Food and eating habits can be very personal choices. In 2017, at the prompting of my husband, we decided to become vegan. I already was purchasing vegan make-up which is obviously, cruelty free. So, the idea of not eating or using animal products or by-products wasn't a stretch for me. I'm not going to advocate veganism for everyone, but every time you opt for plant-based, you are doing something wonderful for you, the environment, and your health. Even the Mediterranean diet, also includes some meat and dairy, but only about 10% of the diet. Not every client I see is plant-based. It really is a personal choice, but the research it out there that plant-based diets are best. Sorry, Keto. You lose. But if you want any pointers or help transitioning to a plant-based diet, I can help.
Sleep is also another area which is very important for our health and well-being. If you're not clocking between 7-9 hours a night of restful sleep, it's going to affect your memory, your energy levels, and your waistline. Sleep is essential to health. This is the time where our bodies rest, digest, and heal. So much work is being done in the body when we sleep. Make sure to practice healthy sleep hygiene. Meaning, no phones for at least an hour before bed, use blue light blocking glasses in the evening when on devices, and no caffeine or sugar before bed. And for heaven's sake, don't go to bed with a full belly. Have some tea to help lull you to sleep or try a Yoga Nidra on Insight Timer.
Movement. We all need to move our bodies. If you're not engaging in some form of physical activity, any kind from sports recreation to yard work, you body is not going to function optimally. This is where that old saying comes in "if you don't use it, you lose it." We want to keep our joints and muscles lubricated and flexible. You know what helps? Walking. Walking is so beneficial for the body. Lymphatic drainage. Cardiovascular health. Digestive health. Circulation. Skeletal. Muscular. Get it yet? All systems in the body benefit from movement. Even just taking a walk around the block after a meal can do wonders for blood sugar and digestion. And if you can't walk a block yet, walk for as long as you can without pain. Don't rush into anything, especially if you've been inactive for a while.
Last, but not least. Stress management. Stress is huge in America. Many of our chronic illnesses are directly linked to stress. People are overworked, overtired, underpaid, and underwhelmed with life. Daily stressors add up and eventually can lead to more serious and chronic issues, if not addressed right away. For me, exercise IS stress management. When I work out at the gym, or do a quick HIIT workout at home, or a walk with Bettie or a solo yoga session; I AM taking care of my stress and my body at the same time. We hold stress and trauma in our bodies. Moving helps release this tension. Learning how to be more mindful and aware is an important piece of stress management. Once you notice where you hold your stress in your body; maybe the shoulders or upper back area. Or maybe you grind your teeth at night and your jaw is sore and you have a headache when you wake up. That's some stress you're holding. This is where yoga and meditation are very beneficial and you can begin to see and FEEL the difference with these practices.
But don't take my word for it. . . try it yourself. If you need any help in any of these areas, I am your woman! I would be happy to help you on your way to health and wellness. Living a vibrant, meaningful, and happy life is what I want for all my loved ones.
Your Health and Wellness Coach