I have listed them loosely in the order as they come up in the day. Here goes:
1. Drink lots of water. This is such an easy thing to do and so many folks miss out on all of the health benefits of simply drinking water. I found that when I focus on drinking enough water for my body, I don’t want anything else.
2. Eat breakfast. This is such a no brainer. You have been asleep throughout the night and your body has not been fed for about 10 hours. The best way to begin the day, keep your hunger and blood sugar balanced, and kick in your metabolism is to feed it something for breakfast.
3. Eat a salad once a day. Whether you have a salad for lunch, dinner or somewhere in between, it’s such an easy way to get your vegetables. I would suggest the greener your greens the better and add some color to the salad . . . AND don’t drench it with heavy, fatty salad dressing!
4. Move some every day! It’s like the commercial says, “A body in motion stays in motion”. If I had written this list a few years ago, I would have said sweat every day. I know, though, that this is’t always realistic. Work schedules, travel, kids’ functions, even failing energy levels mean that we cannot always get in an organized sweat session. This doesn’t mean we cannot get off our bottoms and make sure we move throughout the day. Take the stairs, stand while talking on the phone, park at the end of the parking lot, get up to turn off the TV, walk the dog, take a walk during your lunch break at work, whatever you can do to make yourself move, add steps to your day and get out of the chair will do you good.
5. Go to the doctor. Take care of yourself. If you are a Mom and you aren’t taking care of yourself, how can you take care of others? Get a check-up, go to the dentist, go to the female doctor, or get the male stuff checked if you are a guy. Know your body, your numbers – meaning your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and get the tests done that we all need as we get older. Don’t put this stuff off. Be your own health advocate. (I learned this from my Dad who, on more than one occasion, found potential deadly things wrong with him before, or in spite of, medical advice.)
6. Take a break. If you are in the habit of working out and exercising make sure it doesn’t begin to rule your day or life. Have a rest day each week to give your body a chance to recover, grow and rest. Overtraining can lead to injuries, burn out, and other physical issues. If you are constantly injured, overly tired, get sick easily and not enjoying your workouts, then it’s probably a sign you need to listen to your body and give it a break.
7. Forget perfection. We are all going to have bad workouts, bad eating days, days when we yell at our kids, snap at our spouses, and don’t accomplish our “to do” lists. We all have days when we compare ourselves to others or to make believe people we think are just perfect and then we think we fall short. These are the times we just need to know that there is no such thing as perfection and “tomorrow is another day.”
8. Get enough sleep. This one is a really tough one for me. For the life of me I have tried for years to get a good night’s sleep and it always seems to escape me. So frustrating! I was the girl in college who couldn’t sleep late regardless of when I straggled into the dorm room. In order to try to sleep I make sure I get into bed at a decent hour, even if I just lie there for far too long! I know not to have caffeine, late night electronics, evening exercise or much alcohol. A bedtime routine is key to winding down and relaxing, even if you have trouble sleeping. And don’t feel guilty with taking a cat nap when you can. Sometimes it’s just what you need to be energized and able to think and function!
9. Remember the not so popular aspects of fitness. Being able to run miles each week is great for fitness, as is a regular routine of strength training. However, for the long haul, remember to add flexibility and balance work into your lifestyle, and also remember to keep your brain trained. These things don’t have to add stress or loads of time to your weekly schedule. Simple things like standing on one foot while talking on the phone, blow drying your hair or doing your bicep curls counts. If you don’t practice yoga that doesn’t mean you can’t stretch on your own right before bed, while your coffee brews or during a television commercial. As far as your brain, keep it working with crossword puzzles, mind teasers or simply reading books. These all will help you stay balanced all over.
10. Find a laugh and joy each day. Your spirit is just as important as your body and will do wonders for helping you stay physically well. This has been a big one for me in the past couple of years and I can attest to what a difference it can make to your well being. They say laughter can add years to your life. I don’t know if that’s a scientific fact, but I do know it makes your quality of life so much better! Whether it’s a joke from one of my sons, a goofy pose by the dog or an episode of Modern Family, I’ve been making a conscience effort to make sure I find things funny and have a few laughs every single day. As my Lent Challenge to Find Joy demonstrates, I think it’s really important to find some joy in each day. If things get pesky I make sure I “Don’t Let It Steal my Joy.” My boys even remind me of this if they see things turn sour. If you don’t let things steal your joy you will be amazed at how often a bad day can disappear. Simple things make me happy. I painted our laundry room a color called tangerine. You can imagine the color! My animals always give me some joy, a little quiet time with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning is a joy, as is a hug from one of my smelly boys. Let the little moments of joy sink in. Your spirit and well being will be so much more healthy!
That’s my list. There are no crazy juicings, no calorie countings or crazy exercise gimmicks. These are just the things that make me feel well, whole and strong inside and out.
Enjoy your weekend!