Spring Cleaning Your Health
It's that time of year when we look around our house and consider cleaning house. I say consider doing the same for your health. Life piles all types of stress, causing distress. It's not the same for everyone, and the distress wares us down. Look at the different aspects of your life that contribute to your health and take inventory of what is overwhelming you, draining you, or bringing you joy. Below different categories to get you started.
Mental health is something most people over the last year have had to confront because of COVID-19. We work from home, the kids are running around, you are stuck in a house with the same people day in and day out.
Is the lack of work-life balance getting to you? Consider making a workspace that you only use for work. Set hours for working, even if broken up into chunks throughout the day. Having some structure can set the tone for maintaining balance.
Is stress building up? Dealing with your stress source is very important and how we deal with it is just as important. Find a healthy outlet to de-stress. Don't be afraid to voice what you need and find time for it.
Are there toxic relationships in your life? Social distancing might have brought to light which relationships are draining you. Don't be afraid to continue to cut off those relationships as the world begins to open up. The relationships we keep significantly affect our mental health and increase unhappiness.
Are you spending too much time on social media? Since you can't hang out with people in public, are you passing your time on social media? This can be detrimental to your mental health. It's important to remember that what we see on social media is not real life. Many posts are staged to seem more glamourous than it is. Try spending less time on social media, reading a book, trying a new recipe, or finding a hobby you enjoy.
Are you suffering from depression and/or anxiety? Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand, and the stressors we suffered over the last Year have pushed many to their limits. There are many different types of therapies to help work through this. These days different types of talk therapies ranging from yoga, flower arrangement, medication, natural treatments, or sit on a couch and talk are options covered by many insurance companies. Don't be afraid to reach out to your doctor for recommendations. If you have self-harm thoughts, don't hesitate to call the National Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255).
Let us be real. Our hectic lives make it hard. We are now almost four months post-New Year's resolutions. Be honest with yourself. What do you want to accomplish? What are the struggles you are facing? We all have different struggles or don't know where to start. Most people don't. Making small sustainable changes is key, and seeking support from a nutritionist or naturopathic doctor can help support you. There are a lot of classes you can watch for free online. Some things to consider when looking at making dietary changes are;
Most people in the US consume 2-4 times more sugar than recommended by the American Heart Association. Besides the fact that sugar leads to increased weight gain, the more important fact is the increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Our brains are wired to love sugar and release feel-good hormones to encourage us to keep eating more. This hormonal reaction was vital to our survival when food was scarce, but this works against us in our society. Consider switching out processed sweet treats for whole natural fruits is a great way to satisfy that sweet tooth.
Fats are an essential part of our diets. However, the fats we pick play a considerable role in what our body does with them. When we eat fried foods, fast food, and other junk food, we aren't providing our bodies with the healthy fats we need. Instead, we are providing fats that hardened our arteries and cause heart disease. Try opting for healthy fats from nuts, avocado, fish, lean meats, and whole eggs. You might be surprised by all the great sources of healthy fats. Don't forget that when you are using oils for cooking, consider using avocado oil, coconut oil, and olive oil.
Fruits and Vegetables
If there is one thing you can do to improve your health, remember to eat a rainbow every day. Every different color in vegetables/fruits provides us with various antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Ensure half your meal portions are vegetables. Try different cooking methods to find how you best enjoy vegetables cooked (steamed, stir-fry, oven roast, sautee, boiled).
According to the Cleveland Clinic, about 100 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep disorder. This can include insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and so many others. Our sleeping habits are one of the easiest ways to change our health. The National Sleep Foundation guidelines recommend 7-9 hours of sleep nightly, depending on age. When we sleep, we allow our body to do the work of regenerating itself, resting during REM sleep, and saving our memories. Sleep dramatically affects our hormone levels, which affect every aspect of our health, including how we deal with stress, body weight, hunger, energy, thought patterns, and sex drive. To maximize your sleep quality, consider shutting off electronics 1 hour before bed. This helps your body's natural melatonin to ramp up and make you sleepy. A dark room will help you attain deep sleep. Check your thermostat because being too cold or too hot can affect the quality of your sleep too.
Finding the time to exercise is challenging, with so many demands pulling us in different directions. We all know we are supposed to work out, but how do we get there? It's essential to find what works for you, what type of exercise do you enjoy? Swimming, running, walking, biking, yoga, pilates, HITT workouts, or boxing? Once you figure out your exercise choice, think of when you can incorporate it, don't be afraid to voice your needs to your partner. Do you have a favorite show you can watch while you do some exercise in your house? Can you wake up before everyone else? Can you work out during your lunch hour? Health experts from the American Heart Association recommend 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise.
What can your doctor help with?
Don't be afraid to recruit your healthcare provider to help make a health plan. Naturopathic doctors have training in nutrition, primary care, natural medicine, and more. They help assess any health issues that need to be dealt with, recommend supplements with intent, prescribe medications, manage natural therapies, help manage chronic illness, boost your immune system, and help build an attainable health plan.
Sprouting Health and Wellness
1300 N.E. Linden Ave., Unit 6
Gresham, OR 97030