Recently, I was talking with a client who wanted to get on track with a healthier routine. Like many of us, she said she knew what she needed to do, but wasn't doing it. She talked about the familiar culprits; lack of time, lack of sleep, lack of energy.
It's a catch 22; if we had the energy we would take the time for healthier habits, if we had the time for healthier habits we would have the energy! These days it seems we just don't have the time or the energy for anything and we have so much to do! What a vicious cycle!
I heard recently that people are not taking vacations they have earned because they see the piles of work waiting for them upon their return. Not good my friends! Not taking time for fun, relaxation, good food and exercise leads to a poor quality life!
I get it, the busy disease has gotten a hold of me as it probably has you! So, I began to share with my client some of the things that I have actually been implementing for myself. Things we can all add to our daily routine that are SO SIMPLE and take NO TIME at all! So simple in fact, that we tend to take them for granted. But, don't because it's true, the little things are what matter most.
Here are my Top 5 Cheap and Simple Strategies that will bring fast results for improved energy, better mood, sounder sleep and a reset metabolism! Imagine what you will do with all that!
1. JUST ADD WATER
Why: Our bodies are made up of over 70% water and our brains almost 80%. Probably why dehydration can make us feel fatigued, trigger stress headaches and effect mood and concentration. Drinking more water can energize us, boost metabolism, curb cravings and even help us to sleep better naturally.
How? Simple: Make it your morning routine to drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up and a glass of water before every meal. I drink a small glass of water after each session. At home I keep water at my desk. Begin carrying water with you in a bpa free bottle. Bonus: Get a water bottle with an optional diffuser for fresh lemon or frozen berries! Try a lukewarm lemon water elixir before your coffee or tea in the morning. Add coconut water to your smoothies to hydrate at the cellular level. Get creative and build the habit! How much? Ideally, you will want to consume about half your body weight in ounces. So, if you weigh 150 lbs you will drink about 75 ounces a day. Want more? Check out this study on how mild dehydration affects mood in young healthy women. Drink up!
2. S-L-O-W DOWN
Why: So many of us have a bad habit of rushing. Stress starts as soon as we open our eyes in the morning and continues all day long. These days multitasking is thought of as a strength and the busiest one wins the game of life. In fact, I have talked with people who have said it feels shameful to say they are NOT busy! What a shame! Guess what though, multitasking is for computers not people. And rushing, stressing and being TOO busy is costing us big time. Most of us really need to take it down a notch...
How? Simple: First, in the morning before your feet hit the floor, consciously set your intention for the day. For me, I have a little thing I say: "Love to you, love to me, I am free, thank you" That one little statement grounds and anchors me setting me up for my best day. Then during the day, take a few one minute breaks. While at your desk or parked in your car or where convenient for you, STOP, close your eyes and just breathe and focus. For one minute or so, just take in the present surroundings. Breathe in and out slowly through your nose. Notice what you hear around you, listen for the faint sound of the fan or traffic outside. Notice any smells, notice what you feel, the clothes against your skin, the floor under your feet, the back against your chair. Also, be mindful while you eat. Remind yourself that all you have to do right now is eat this meal. Savor it, notice the flavors and textures and smells. Prioritize your day and focus on one thing at a time. Practice mindfulness in everything you do. It may feel counter productive, but you will actually be MORE productive as a result! No more forgetting things and having to waste time!
3. SPEED UP!
Why: Just as important as slowing down, we also need to speed up! We need to move our bodies to reap the health benefits of increased energy, metabolism, and to experience better sleep and mood.
How? Simple: No time for exercise? No problem! Take advantage what Tony Robbin's calls NET or No Extra Time. Among other things, I do jumping jacks while waiting for food in the microwave, walk while catching up with friends on the phone, stop what I am doing in the kitchen if I hear a good song and dance to it, and do push ups, sit ups, or hold a plank during commercials. Also, walking my fur kids not only helps me, but is good for them and I soothe my spirit out in nature. Get creative with your NET time. Yes, gardening and housework count, now just add some music, dance steps and sit ups too!
4. MORE TEA? YES PLEASE!
Why: In addition to all the studies supporting the great health benefits of tea in general, the catechins in green tea has been shown to increase the body's ability to burn fat as fuel, leading to improved muscle endurance. Take note that black, white, green and matcha tea all have caffeine. Herbal teas do not.
How? Simple: Substitute your morning or afternoon cup of joe with a cup of green tea instead. OR, add a tsp of matcha tea (shown to have even greater benefits!) to your morning or afternoon smoothie. If you have trouble sleeping take care not to consume caffeine in the afternoon. Later have a cup of herbal tea that soothes you to sleep such as chamomile or my favorite, Bedtime Yogi Tea.
5. MAKE YOUR BEDROOM A BLUE FREE ZONE
Why: You may have heard already that the blue glow of electronic devices may be impeding your good night's sleep. Light can keep the pineal gland from releasing melatonin therefore, making it harder to wind down and fall asleep naturally.
How? Simple: Best idea is to leave your phone or electronic device out of your bedroom completely. If you cannot do that because you care for children or parents, make sure to keep the phone in earshot, but not eyesight. Also, if possible, don't use your electronic device at all a few hours before bedtime. If you absolutely cannot do that, then turn down the brightness on the device. I also understand new apps are being created to solve the night light problem.
So there you have it! Ridiculously simple no cost strategies for better sleep, energy and overall wellness that you barely have to think about! And within a short time you won't have to think about it all!
I would love to hear from you! Do any of these make a difference for you and much as they do for me? What else do you do that works for you? Please feel free to comment below or on social media. Please don't forget to share with your friends!
Rise & Shine!
Did you know that at least half of the population (and more for certain age groups) is magnesium deficient at a cellular level?
Deficiency can be caused by various stresses on the body including a lack of adequate dietary magnesium, emotional stress, certain drugs, heavy exercise, excess calcium in the diet, smoking, alcohol, caffeine and sweating.
Chronic stress shows up as our uncomfortable symptoms of Magnesium depletion. If not handled it starts showing up as illness and without remedy it can become disease.
8 Signs of Magnesium Deficiency:
Benefits of Magnesium...
Magnesium is found in many foods, but much of the mineral can be lost through food processing and refining so stick to whole organic foods when you can. Some good choices are:
You can take a supplement like Natural Calm. Natural Calm states that their product restores a healthy magnesium level and balances calcium intake. You can get a free sample here!
Magnesium Oil and Lotions can be rubbed or sprayed on your skin. Some people find that it leaves their skin feeling a little itchy and dry. If you don’t like the feeling of the magnesium oil you can spray in on your skin and leave it on for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes you can shower off the oil. Here are some different applications of the Ancient Minerals brand:
Goodnight Magnesium Lotion
Magnesium Bath Flake
Magnesium Lotion Ultra
I hope this gave you some good basics and a plan of action to see if magnesium deficiency is an issue for you.
Remember, if you have been struggling with anxiety symptoms, sometimes it's not JUST in your head! The thought-mood connection is powerful, but you can change your thoughts all day long and still not feel good! Magnesium deficiency is just one thing to consider.
As always I encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider before beginning any supplement regime.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Peg Haust-Arliss, LCSW-R
Therapist, Author, Coach
Vegan Egg-less Salad
Enjoy my vegan recipe for delicious egg and olive salad. Eat on top of greens or in a sandwich. I especially enjoy this as a sandwich using Ezekiel Bread with greens and a tomato. YUM! I changed up this China Study Cookbook recipe and made it my own. Try my a version below and try the original from one of my fave cookbooks: The China Study Cookbook!
14 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and very well patted dry to get as much water out as possible.
1/2 of a white onion, diced
1/4 cup Veganaise (use to your preferred consistency)
2 tsp dill relish
2 celery stalks, diced
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp black salt (black salt adds an "eggy" flavor)
1/4 cup green olives chopped
1. In a large salad bowl crumble the tofu. I like to use my hands to mash it up. Add the rest of ingredients and mix thoroughly.
2. Refrigerate or enjoy immediately over greens or in a sandwich with lettuce and tomato!
Let me know if you make this! Are you trying on a plant-based lifestyle? Let me hear from you!
Rise & Shine,
Peg Haust-Arliss, LCSW-R, CHHC
Therapist, Author, Coach