5 healthy habits you can practice to improve your health in a holistic way

It seems as though our lives are getting busier and many of us are dealing with chronic stress, anxiety, and other mental health conditions that can wreak havoc on our internal body systems, so it is crucial that we begin to take care of our mental and physical health.

Being healthy should be part of your overall lifestyle. Living a healthy lifestyle can help prevent chronic diseases and long-term illnesses. Feeling good about yourself and taking care of your health are important for your self-esteem and self-image.

Many folks are confused by the aspect of holistic nutrition and combined mental and physical wellness. Well, holism means ‘a whole that is greater than its parts’. When we talk about holistic health, we’re talking about several smaller actions that contribute to something bigger when they are practiced together. Holistic health has been described as an aligning of the mind, body, and spirit in harmony, creating a richer state of health than would be achieved if the attention was solely focused on one part. In conclusion, holistic health creates a healthy balance within us.

Here are 5 easy, everyday lifestyle habits you can include into your daily routine to live a happier, healthier, and more holistic life:

1.     Manage Stress & Listen to Your Body

We all deal with stress daily, no matter what type of job or responsibilities we have. We all experience it and unfortunately it can have a significant impact on our physical and mental health, reducing the body’s resiliency and slowing the healing process. Stress is increasingly becoming one of the root problems in most health conditions and is an especially significant element in pain and fatigue conditions such as fibromyalgia. Stressors are commonly encountered throughout our lives and may be due to a busy schedule, a demanding job, family life, financial burdens, relationship difficulties, or large life events such as a new job or a big move.

How we deal with our daily stressors is what separates the relaxed and comfortable people from those who are anxious and on edge. If you can effectively learn how to reduce stress, you can take the steps to regain control of your life and be a much happier person overall.

Here are some stress management techniques to help you feel happier and more productive throughout the day:

·        Practice deep breathing

·        Maintain physical exercise and good nutrition

·        Use guided meditation (try using apps like Calm or Headspace)

·        Connect with others but find time for yourself as well

·        Listen to your body – accepting you need rest when you are tired 

2.     Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is crucial for our wellbeing. Those who don’t sleep well have a higher risk of being sick, often struggle more with their mental health, are more likely to be overweight, and even have a higher rate of cardiovascular problems. When you sleep, your body repairs itself, and your mind is given a break, this is vitally important to your overall health.

You need around 7-9 hours of sleep a night to function at your full capacity. If you struggle to sleep, try incorporating a bedtime routine into your life, so that your brain begins to recognize this as your routine, and prepares itself for sleep.

To begin practicing good sleep hygiene you can do things like, turning off technology an hour or two before you want to go to bed, adjusting the lighting in your home to remove blue lights, and making sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature (sleeping in a cooler bedroom, 15-20 degrees Celsius, makes it easier to get a good night sleep since our body’s core temperature drops in the night).

3.     Remove Toxins

Toxins are defined as any substance or element that is toxic to the body. The environment today and normal cellular metabolism exposes the body to toxins. Detoxification is one of our body’s most important processes when it comes to maintaining optimal health. Removing toxicity from our lives and bodies can help balance hormones, curb cravings, and help us feel better overall by promoting energy, reducing aches and pains, and improving our moods. To maintain health, it is imperative that the body can handle the toxins and is able to adequately eliminate them.

Here are some ways to protect our body from toxins:

·        Focus on a whole food diet. Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and dietary fiber promotes decreased transit time in the colon which is essential to assist in the elimination of toxins through the bowels. Whole foods have a low toxin concentration and are better for all systems in the body. Processed, packaged foods contain more chemical compounds and substances that are difficult for the body to eliminate.

·        Increase your intake of good quality water. Water is a necessary component of every bodily function: digestion, absorption, circulation, lubrication, regulation, elimination, and detoxification. Adequate water intake allows toxins to be taken away from the cells and transported to the kidneys to be excreted.

·        Living a healthy lifestyle can help decrease exposure to toxins and help the body with elimination. Removing or limiting things like cigarettes, drugs and alcohol from your diet will reduce oxidative stress and free radicals in the body, further reducing the toxic load on the liver (our main detoxification organ).

·        Choose good quality personal care products. Conventional products like cosmetics, perfumes, soaps etc. all contain a great deal of synthetic chemicals which can be toxic to the system. These toxins accumulate overtime in the body and put stress on the body. This added stress and amount of toxins can hinder the body’s ability to eliminate and detoxify. Using natural, chemical free personal care products can greatly decrease exposure and not overburden the routes of elimination.

4.     Be Mindful of What You Eat

A healthy diet is essential for good health and nutrition. It protects us against many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Eating a variety of foods and consuming less refined sugar and saturated or trans-fats, are essential for a healthy diet. Diets that are higher in processed foods have a negative impact on not only our physical health but also our mental health, affecting our mood and even contributing to anxiety and depression.

Focus on eating clean protein from plants and animals, healthy complex carbohydrates, and remember to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential micronutrients and minerals plus they are low in calories, which makes maintaining a healthy weight easy!

Preparing and packing your own lunch and snacks for the day is a good way to eat on the go. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also avoid excess sodium, sugar, fat, and chemical preservatives in meals at fast food restaurants.

5.     Move Your Body

Whether working out is something you look forward to or something you dread, you probably can’t deny that exercising just makes you feel better. Not only does exercise give you an energy boost and help you manage your weight, but it also reduces your risk of several health conditions and improves your mental wellbeing. According to the National Cancer Institute, regular exercise helps control weight, maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints, and reduces our risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

30 minutes of exercise, 5-6 days a week, giving your body one day to rest and recuperate is recommended. The exercise doesn’t have to be excruciating and something you dread, something as simple as a brisk 30-minute walk can work wonders for your health and it can be supplemented by taking the stairs at work, a 10–15-minute walk during lunch, or even using a standing desk and shuffling from side to side while you work. The main thing is to find exercise that you enjoy, not something that’s an ordeal.

Published by bailfitz

BA, RHN registered holistic nutritionist

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