1. Stop what you're doing and just breathe. Breathing exercises can help us manage cortisol production. Cortisol is the hormone that is released during the “flight or fight” reaction that the body has to stress. It helps our bodies to physically get ready for stress in short bursts but can deplete our body of energy if we don’t regulate it through the day. Try the following breathing exercise: Inhale for four counts, retain the breath for four counts, exhale for four counts. Complete four cycles, four times a day to lower your stress and calm your mind.
2. To exercise or not to exercise? One of the best things we can do for our health is to exercise - when it's appropriate. Mild to moderate exercise for 30 minutes, at least five days per week is recommended. When we're feeling sluggish and tired, we often decide to skip a workout contrary to the fact that the workout would be stimulating and give us the energy we seek. Yoga, Pilates, stretching and walking are great low-impact ways to strengthen the body without overexerting the nervous system. When to avoid exercise? If you're feeling really stressed, intense exercise is not recommended.
3. Create a sleep ritual. Turn a good night's sleep into a habit by creating a ritual you look forward to each evening. It could include a warm beverage, 10 minutes of reading, 8 minutes of stretches, a relaxing scent like lavender, or 5 minutes to jot down your most important to-dos for the day ahead. Create "if this, then that" scenarios to make sure you stick to your ritual. In other words, "if I don't stick to my ritual, I will begin my ritual 30 minutes early the following night." A few things to avoid: consuming alcohol and viewing electronic devices an hour before bed.
4. Think about how you want to feel and make a small diet shift. Easy does it! You don't have to completely overhaul your diet to make healthy eating progress in 2016. We all have our culinary vices. Maybe you adore chocolate. Is it possible to trade in your chocolate for another sweet treat like baked fruit with a drizzle of honey? Could you stand to swap a sandwich for a salad every once in awhile? Think about how you want to feel in this new year and set a goal. If you want more energy, smoother skin, and an efficient digestive system, a healthy diet will support you.
Looking for more healthy recommendations? Set up an appointment at the Nest!