The Good Life with Dr Libby
As the weather warms up, you may notice your mood naturally starts to lift, you feel more optimistic and more willing to become involved in activities. The summer months provide the ideal time to revitalise your health. Naturally you’re drawn to a way of life that promotes health, however some of us may need a little bit of extra care as we transition into summer. You may decide to incorporate just one of these tips, or try all of them – simply do what works for you. Whatever you choose to do your health will thank you for it. Remember success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and out.
Movement in the morning Begin each morning with some sort of gentle stretching, yoga, Pilates or a brisk walk. Walk without sunglasses early in the morning so the sunlight can assist the production of serotonin our feel good, happy, calm and content hormone. Regular walking has been shown to help prevent type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers. This week give yourself a target of walking briskly for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
Bounce Get a mini-trampoline and do some rebounding in your living room. Listen to uplifting music while you do so. Bouncing on a trampoline is like a gentle massage for your lymphatic system. The lymphatic system clears toxins, waste and excess fluid from the body and rebounding can help you to experience more energy across your day.
Get a professional massage Certain trigger points or areas of tension in musculoskeletal tissue can cause back pain. Ask your therapist or body worker to focus on particular points of tension for therapeutic benefit or simply enjoy the restorative and relaxing qualities of massage. A great way to give your body some extra love.
Make a commitment to view food as nourishment Many people have a love/hate relationship with food, which is often exacerbated by years of dieting or calorie counting. When you look at a food instead of looking at the caloric value consider what nutrients it supplies you with and how it will make you feel. Ask yourself the question ‘will this nourish me?’ before you eat.
Turn off the television Are you still watching TV late into the night? Although some television programmes can be educational, generally television is better switched off. Read more books and set yourself a target that instead of one hour of television watching you’ll read a book. Reducing your exposure to bright light at night can also help you improve your sleep quantity and quality.
Prepare your own food Many people eat a nourishing evening meal as they dedicate the time to prepare one. The trick to looking after your diet is to be prepared. Take Sunday afternoons to set your week up and freeze any leftovers for easy lunches. This way you control the quality of oil, salt and produce you use and as an added bonus you save money too. Another helpful tip to improving the nutritive quality of your diet is to find a way to get an extra serving of greens in every day.
Take the stairs Do a little bit extra when it comes to movement. Take the stairs, walk to the grocery store if possible, or park a distance away and walk to an appointment. You won’t consciously feel like you’re trying to increase your movement but by default you’ll be getting some extra time in the fresh air.
Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products Certain chemicals commonly found in conventional cleaning products present known or suspected problems for the people that use them and the environment once washed down the drain. Volatile organic compounds, used to enhance the performance of a product, can impair neurological functions, while other problematic chemicals can act as respiratory irritants, carcinogens or reproductive toxins, depending upon the extent of exposure, according to the National Environmental Trust and other environmental groups. It’s a common misconception that eco-friendly or green products aren’t as effective as their conventional counterparts and recent research has proven that green products can certainly achieve your desired results.
Manage your energy, not your time If you take a moment to think about it, you’ll probably realise that you are better at doing certain tasks at certain times. For example, some people find that their creative energy is highest in the morning, so that may be a great time do creative tasks such as writing. By comparison, you may decide to block out afternoons for phone calls and emails or admin related tasks. You don’t necessarily need your creative energy to be high for admin tasks, so that may be the best time to get them done. The same goes for exercise despite the fact many people feel great exercising in the morning, you may not. If you prefer late afternoon or early evening as your exercise time, organise your day around this. Start to keep a diary of when your energy is high, low and whether or not it’s your creative time. What type of energy do you have in the morning? What task is that energy best suited for?
Restorative rituals Take a relaxing hot bath with Epsom salts and soothing herbs like lavender. It will do wonders for your mind and your muscles. Play soothing music while you bathe to unwind further. If having a bath isn’t your thing, light a candle and let the fragrance and gentle light signal it’s time for you to unwind and facilitate that transition from work to leisure.