Healthy Choices Equals Healthy Living
Last week I introduced four tips for making healthy choices for healthy living–snacking on protein, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and making a Lifeline List. Utilizing even one of these tools will rescue you in times of stress, but doing them all is like a “get-out-of-jail-free” card! Of course, I am talking about the jail of pain and loathing we create when we sabotage ourselves. Sheer will and discipline are not enough to save even the strongest of souls when the going gets rough. We need tried-and-true techniques that calm our nerves and nourish our bodies. Here are four more tips to support your body and mind for healthy living.
Detoxify Your Life
1) Pull the Plug. If fate has just knocked you on your butt, take a good, hard look at your to-do list. Cancel or delegate everything not needing to be done right away. Stop. Step back. When in a funk, the best thing to do is recognize it; and not make big decisions or tackle ambitious projects. Resist the critical mind-chatter broadcasting that the world will end if “X, Y and Z” are not completed by 9 pm tonight. It will not. Make your home your sanctuary. Healthy living demands that you find peace–whether with a good book or a good friend. Remember, this too shall pass.
2) Move It. Run, swim, hit a tennis ball, hike a mountain, or walk your city. Moving till we sweat calms the mind and releases stress. When the voices in your head turn from cranky to compassionate, you have done enough. If not, keep moving! Creativity flows when we detoxify. If your knees — or any other body part — is fragile, choose a form of exercise that does no harm. Exercise must not ever be a form of self-punishment.
3) Ban Sugar. Sugar is a depressant, and is poison to the immune system. In Katie Couric’s excellent film, “Fed Up!“ they show a graphic of a brain on cocaine, and a brain on sugar, They both look exactly the same. Small amounts of sugar can be handled by some people for celebratory occasions. Have you noticed that when you are hurting, small amounts of sugar — one piece of cake or two cookies — is never “enough”? A whole batch of brownies can disappear in one day into a nervous stomach! Do not expect self-control during a crisis. Healthy living insists that you stay away from sugar and sweet desserts.
4) Reach Out. Alone time is a wonderful, healthy thing. But when we are traumatized or stressed, isolation can turn alone time into a dangerous form of solitary confinement. We are not alone in our bliss, but alone with our demons. It is natural to want to crawl into a cave and lick our wounds when we are hurting; but it is not a good idea to go 48 hours without positive, human interaction. Protect your vulnerability and reach out to the kindest, gentlest friends and family you have. Tell them the truth. Ask for help. If you do know anyone in your life that you trust to love you unconditionally, call a help line or seek free professional counseling. An abundance of support is available; and we need only ask.
These are turbulent times. This month, I am moving my office. My first child is leaving home to go to college. My daughter is starting her first job. And, a dear friend is ill. These eight tips written in bold print are posted in my kitchen! It is easy to forget how to support ourselves when our world is shaking. I am sending prayers to all for a soft landing. May we all be delivered to exactly where we belong: held in love, bound by faith, for the ultimate in healthy living.