Top Ten Tips to Get Healthy in 2018
1. Eat Real Food
2. Get Enough Sleep
3. Go Outside
4. Be Mindful
5. Drink Lots of Water
6. Avoid Chemicals
7. Move Your Body
8. Breathe Deeply
9. Express Your Emotions
10. Be Thankful
Let’s look at 10 simple steps to improve your wellbeing this year. Many may seem obvious but it is great to have a little reminder to take ourselves back to the basics. These principles are all based on Chinese Medicine.
Eat Real Food
This is not so easy especially with the fast pace of life we currently lead, and the temptation is to opt for fast food both inside and outside the home. The problem is that most fast food is full of chemicals and short in nutritional value. The top tip here is to eat quality over quantity. So, what defines “quality food”? This is food found in its most original form, not that which contains preservatives, flavour enhancers, fats, salt, sugars etc. Try to eat fresh, locally grown foods that are in season. The downside is that this requires planning, but once you start to feel the benefits the local pizza parlor will not seem so tempting!
Sleep is massively underrated in today’s society. It is a chance for the body to rest, repair and heal. When you increase your sleep, you will quickly notice that focus, concentration and memory all improve, and you will function better both physically and mentally. To help with a restful night’s sleep you should develop good sleeping habits. Don’t drink or eat anything stimulating (such as spices, alcohol or coffee) in the evening. Ensure the bedroom is completely dark, have your phone switched off or out of the room, and make sure your feet are warm. Try to be asleep before 11pm.
The ancient Chinese had a very close relationship with nature and the processes that govern it, including the ebb and flow of the seasons. This time of year, we spend increased amounts of time inside our warm houses where the air can be stale. Getting outside in the fresh air can really benefit our health. As well as breathing fresh air, being outside nourishes our senses, connects us to nature and can be very grounding and relaxing for our mind and body. Walking is an effective way to move energy in the body and avoid diseases caused by stagnation.
What does this mean? It means being present, being truly focused on whatever you are doing at that moment in time. Multitasking is seen as a skill in our society, and we are lead to believe that the more you do the more valuable you are. From a health point of view, it would be far better to do fewer things but with intention and focus. One thing at a time helps us to focus and channel our qi. Doing more than one thing at a time makes us less focused and this can scatter our qi, eventually leading to illness. There are many apps that have been created to help switch off the mind and enable it to rest. We rest our physical body so it makes sense that we should also rest our minds.
Drink Lots of Water
We hear this time and time again but often ignore it! Sufficient water is vital for our body to function and flushes out toxins that may cause illness. Drinking warm lemon water each morning can help to eliminate the toxins that have built up overnight. According to Chinese medicine it is important to drink room temperature water so try to avoid very cold or iced water.
This is such a big subject! Consider for just one moment the products you use every day that expose your body to a toxic load. Simple changes can make a big difference to this toxicity. Think about what you clean your house with, what you clean your body with, what food you eat, what you put on your garden etc. If you are mindful and replace products with ones that have fewer chemicals over a 6-month period, you can dramatically reduce your toxic load. Makeup and beauty products can be the worst offenders! The skin is the largest organ in our body, so change to the natural products that are so much easier to buy nowadays, or even make your own. Many supermarkets also have chemical-free cleaning products that are far more effective than they used to be.
Move Your Body
Our sedentary lifestyle is a contributory factor behind many of today’s silent killers such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Chinese Medicine teaches us that illness arises when our qi becomes blocked or stagnated. The best way to circulate qi is to move. If you work in an office then try moving every hour – take the stairs rather than the lift, walk to go and get your lunch, or walk part of the way to work every day. There are many ways to move your body. Finding something you enjoy will make it much easier!
Most of us just breath into the upper part of the lungs. Breathing deeply into the lower part of the lungs has huge health benefits – it helps release tension, relaxes the body and mind and helps to relieve emotional problems. Breathing deeply massages the organs, increases digestion and ups the amount of oxygen available in your blood. Breath in through your mouth and visualise the air going all the way into your lower abdomen to an area just below your navel. The air isn’t really going there, but by visualising this you will encourage your lungs to really expand and draw in a greater volume of air. If you have bad posture, qi gong (breathing meditation exercise) can really help.
Express your emotions
Emotional health is a big part of Chinese Medicine. Now that we have most of our physical needs catered for, unbalanced emotions have become one of the main causes of disease. We all experience strong emotions throughout our life (both happy and sad) and these can have a profound effect on us. Emotions that are bottled up and not expressed can cause disharmony in the body, manifesting in physical symptoms. Having a healthy emotional life by expressing your emotions freely and not allowing anger and resentments to build up facilitates better physical health.
Most of us take so much for granted every day. Take a moment to stop and be thankful for the things you experience. Appreciate the small things in life – a beautiful flower, a nice meal, someone holding a door open for you. This in turn will lead you to show consideration and kindness to others instead of being too busy. Things like this may be small but are so important that they add to our happiness and our health.
Modern life is busy and full-on, but if we can find a way to stay in balance, be mindful and keep things simple we can find a much healthier way to live.