What Health Means to Me
For me health encompasses everything on and off my yoga mat and on and off my plate. What we put in our bodies is important, but just as important is our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Health is about balancing all the layers within our life – family, friends, and career amongst everything else to ensure we are able to live long, healthy and enjoyable lives.
Top 5 tips for Health and Wellness
1. Set a morning routine
Having a routine can set you off on the right track for the day. Try to take a few moments when you wake up to breathe deeply and set your intentions before you start looking at your phone and getting on with your to do list.
Take a couple of moments to stretch – nothing strenuous, some simple twists, maybe a cat/cow and child’s pose. Just enough to wake your body and get the blood moving.
Try a mug of hot water rather than your usual tea or coffee – it warms your digestive tract and gets your body ready for optimal digestion.
Any way you want to. Run, walk, lift heavy things, try yoga, have a kitchen dance party! It really doesn’t matter what you do unless you are training for something specific. Just move any way that makes you feel good and do it as often as you can. You can join our online yoga classes at www.andotheryoga.com
3. Eat more, not less
Add more plants to your diet, try to fill your bowl at every meal with a rainbow of colours. Focus less on cutting back on things you may consider ‘bad’ and instead focus on filling your day with nutritious food.
Eating as many colours with as much texture as possible will help you to include all the main food groups. We want foods containing protein, fats, vitamins and minerals which can all be found in good quality fruits, vegetables and grains.
Sounds like the worst tip in the world! But breathing isn’t as easy as it sounds. We often take short, chest breaths and forget to fully inhale and exhale. Taking full breaths helps to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system – the system responsible for rest and digestion. Try this short breathing exercise whenever you feel stressed or overwhelmed:
Inhale deeply through the nose for a count of 4.
Hold the breath at the top of the inhale for a count of 7.
Exhale through the nose for a count of 8.
Continue for at least 5 counts or for as long as you need. Repeat whenever you need to.
5. Set an evening routine
Try to rise and go to bed at the same time each day, even the weekends!
Put your phone away at least an hour before bed if you can. Allow your body to settle and get ready to sleep. If you feel the need to snack in the evening try a calming herbal tea – Camomile is perfect before bed.
Take some time just before bed to relax, meditate or follow a Yoga Nidra class online. Whatever relaxes you and enables you to get a good night’s sleep. And a good night isn’t necessarily 7 to 9 hours a night. If you feel rested after 5 great. If you sleep for a few hours, wake up and do something, then sleep again for another few hours that’s also great - if it works for you!
Health is not a one size fits all - find positive additions to your day that are sustainable and manageable. It is not a short term fix - health is about constant behaviours and long term changes so whatever you do, make sure it is something that will fit in with your life for the foreseeable future!
Written by @andotheryoga