Top 5 Things To Look At To Be Your Best Self
Food ↠↠↠ You are what you eat. It’s the truth! What you eat will directly impact how you feel. When we eat processed food full of inflammatory oils, doused in refined sugar, or full of unrecognizable chemicals, we are not giving our body proper nutrients that it needs to function at an optimal level. Incorporating more whole, raw foods into the diet can w
ork wonders and is an often overlooked concept in weight management or "health" modifications. Whole foods are simply anything that comes from nature, with one ingredient, ideally not changed by man. Think about our ancestors, they definitely did not have access to foods that were packaged or consisted of man-made products. They had access to the basics and though they did not live as long, the rates of chronic diseases such as Type II diabetes were far less. (Sidebar- Type II diabetes is no longer considered "adult onset", as it effects many children in the US.) Not only is a whole foods diet more sustainable, but limiting processed, hyper palatable foods can help to slowly eliminate
cravings, which in turn can help decrease incidences of overeating. Not to mention, if you have any sort of digestive problem or skin issue, that is your gut communicating with you and saying “HI, stop hurting me!!!” What you ingest can show up in so many different ways, so it is a great idea to look at your nutrition if you have any sort of chronic issue that seems insidious.
Sleep ↠↠↠ Sleep is the biggest & most important recovery tool. Nothing compares to a great full night of sleep. The research on sleep is still slowly arising and we are now seeing research showing that students that get a full night sleep before a test perform better, athletes that get consistent sleep also perform better, and that sleep disturbance is correlated with many chronic and degenerative diseases. That just shows how much sleep can impact us as human beings. We NEED to sleep & we need to be sleeping consistently. For people (like me 🙋🏻♀️) who struggle with sleep, a nighttime routine is imperative. Having lights on at night tricks your brain into thinking it is daytime, delaying the release of melatonin, the hormone that helps put us to sleep. Try shutting the lights down earlier to stimulate melatonin release so you don’t need to take supplemental melatonin on a daily basis. If you want to go all out, (like I did) purchase a kindle & a salt lamp or two. After the sun sets, get off of your phone, put it on airplane mode or just shut it off completely (yes I know that can be tough, but it becomes habit once you start) and use your salt lamp as the only light sources where you live. Read before bed, theres nothing better than reading something that can put you to sleep. I personally have a few books on my kindle that I am reading at once. I have a fantasy book that usually keeps me awake so I definitely do not read that before bed, but I do recommend something super long that is similar to a textbook so you can learn something and it can put you to sleep as well. I’ve been reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and it has been working wonders on my sleeping routine. On the plus side, I am learning so much about our ancestors and his book inspired this post! Don’t complain about your lack of sleep unless you have tried these things. You cannot sleep well because you need to make lifestyle changes! If you still cannot sleep well or are waking up throughout the night (peeing at 3 am is not normal, it is common…but not normal at all) even after implementing lifestyle changes, I suggest you find a practitioner to do further testing. It is possible that something may off with your hormones or neurotransmitters.
Stress↠↠↠ The body doesn’t know the difference between stress from your lack of sleep, stress from your tough workout, or stress from the exam you need to pass tomorrow! It also doesn’t know the difference between perceived or even imagined stress! Find ways to lower your stress levels. Being in nature, going on a walk, meditating or having time to yourself without looking at a cell phone can reduce stress levels immensely! I did two previous posts on stress so if you’d like further information, check out these two links:
Movement ↠↠↠ Being a movement coach is my jam so let me nerd out on why movement is so important. In order to heal ANY type of injury, we need continuous blood flow. Movement is what gets the blood flowing to all different areas. Exercise, movement & play stimulate the release of endorphins (the feel good 🙌🏽 receptor) which is what makes us want to come back and workout day after day! Daily aerobic exercise can even reduce anxiety by calming down your brain’s “fight or flight” system. That is also why I love my Zone 2 cardio, it keeps my aerobic baseline and I feel absolutely fantastic afterwards. I spoke a bunch about Zone 2 cardio in my last blog, so go there to learn more! Daily movement can influence your emotions and feelings and visa versa too. If you are anxious you may rush around faster during your day. There is definitely a connection with emotions and movement so if we want to be a better human we need to think about our daily dose of movement. Walking is included in movement too but we cannot go from walking to doing a CrossFit workout, we need some generalized training in there as well! That is the part people like to skip. Moving your joints daily through the ranges of motion needed to sustain a comfortable life will give you a focus as well as keep your joints healthy long term!
Self-care ↠↠↠ This is not just something “basic”. So don’t do what I did by looking up “self-care” on urban dictionary. Although, I may have laughed out loud when I read this definition: Self-care is putting absurd amounts of parmesan cheese on your spaghetti. I believe that self care means to put yourself first from time to time. Having a day of no appointments where you can just do what you please can constitute as self-care. It means you do something for yourself whether it means going to get a massage or just spending time at a puppy store so you can get your bit of oxytocin release (Yes it is true petting puppies releases our “cuddle hormone”) self-care can be anything you would like it to be. I know this term has gotten misrepresented because it has been generally aimed at wealthy women and it is many times marketed as an expensive ritual. In reality, everybody needs self care & it does not need to be expensive, contrary to popular belief, it can be free. Self-care is a discipline, it is a deeper understanding of your PRIORITIES! (which is what this entire post is about!!) Self-care is respect for yourself and for the people you choose to spend your time with. It’s not something you do when you are in the midst of life disaster problems, it needs to be done daily and it can be quite easy once you sort out your life priorities. It can be taking your dog for a walk instead of watching another television episode. It can be as simple as a few hours with your friends who make you laugh! It can consist of saying no to an event that you “SHOULD” go to because you do not want to go. Sidebar- I have completely omitted the word should from my vocabulary- another form of self-care because we do not need to should ourselves into things. Self-care can be letting your kid take a “mental-health day off school” and spending some extra time with them. Something my mom let me do every year growing up and something I truly appreciated especially as I got a bit older to understand what she was teaching me #selfcare. For those who do practice self-care, they may feel less overall stress and they are more joyful to be around. They take care of themselves and in turn they have a bit more energy to take care of others!