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Entries in health (8)


What Have You Done For YOU Lately?

You have probably heard the question "What have you done for me lately?" It might have been a frustrated response to a neglected "relationship ring" or it could have been a statement made by an employee or employer. But, we tend to be a little more worried about our relationships and whether or not we are taking care and doing things for those around us.

But what about taking care of and doing for yourself? What have you done for YOU lately? It really is easy to get caught up in our relationship and work rings and forget about our self ring. We talked about sleep in our last blog. How is your diet? Are you eating healthy foods? How about exercise? When was the last time that you stretched your brain? If you think about it, your body and mind are the tools which will enable you to accomplish those things that matter the most to you as well as enjoy the time that you have in life.

Schedule a check up from a doctor, get up and go for a walk, eat more fruits and veggies and less junk food, go see the dentist, read a book, work on a puzzle or difficult problem, zip up your overcoat and be sure to get enough sleep. Take care of you because you are the only you that you have got!


Sleeping Well?

If you are like most people, the answer is "No." According to an annual sleep in America poll, 60% of respondents experience sleep problems every night or almost every night. That's alot of people! The study also highlighted how 90% of people use some type of tech device with a screen one hour or less before going to bed. They highlighted the effect that electronic screens have on alertness and how they actually inhibit sleepiness.

Getting a good night's sleep MUST be a major act for your self ring. Too many people try to deny it and end up limiting their success in one or more of their other rings. What's so frustrating is that next to "how to eat well" we know so much about how to get a good night's sleep. But, I'm as guilty as everyone else in not always following best sleep practices. So to remind myself (and maybe you too) of what I need to do to better insure a good night's sleep, here's my list of things to help increase the chances of getting better rest:

  • Don't eat anything less than two hours before bedtime. If you must eat something, choose fresh fruit like bananas, grapes or an orange.
  • Get things worked out. Don't go to bed with unresolved conflict with a child or spouse. If you can't get the issue to a level that will let you rest easy, get up and write out your thoughts. Then look back over them before actually talking with the person about the situation.
  • Laugh. I must confess that one way I find to relax before turning in is to find an old episode of "America's Funniest Home Videos" and just laugh and chuckle for about 15 minutes. Even if the video is only moderately funny, the old hairstyles, etc. are enough to make you laugh. Yes, I know it's looking at a "technical device." But I limit myself to 15 minutes or less.
  • Fresh linens. Hang your bedspread outside for the day or even drape it across a chair on your porch for a few hours. The fresh smell is extremely relaxing. You probably can't wash your sheets almost every day, but you can put on a clean pillow case more often-and let the fresh smell move you toward sleep.
  • Get some fresh air. I find that going outside and removing myself from all the distractions in the house for a few moments helps me unplug. Make it a habit before going to bed. A few deep cleansing breaths are good as well.
  • Read something positive or at least something you enjoy reading. Read with your child or even spouse. Listening to someone read-regardless of age-can make you sleepy.
  • Get physical exercise earlier in the day. Too many people go to bed mentally exhausted but physically "wound up."
  • Plan tomorrow before you go to bed. Make your list and plan your strategy. Don't let your mind try to do it while you sleep.
  • Seek professional help. If you believe the problems to sleeping well run deeper, don't be afraid to seek assistance. Remember how you felt the last time you got a good night's sleep? Wouldn't it be good to feel that way more often?

And lastly, kiss your spouse! I can't put my hands on the research now, but I remember reading somewhere that people who consistently kissed their spouse goodnight before turning in actually slept better than those who didn't.


Pushing Yourself

I have a pretty good routine of getting up in the morning and going to the gym 4-5 times per week. It is a great time for me to get the blood pumping. I try to do 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of weight training. I am not saying that I am in great shape but I feel like I am doing pretty least until last weekend.

I went on an "intermission" to a mountain cabin. The only catch with visiting this cabin is that in the winter you have to walk about 200 yards off the main road, uphill, through the snow to reach the cabin. This also includes carrying any clothes, food and other essentials that you are going to use during your stay. We arrived at the parking lot late (just as it was getting dark) and started up hill with a cooler full of food plus a bag of clothes and essentials. We soon found the snow to be quite deep and because of a recent warming trend, very soft. This meant that with almost every step you would sink "thigh high" in snow. This is too long of a story to get the point across, but suffice it to say, by the time we reached the cabin, I thought I was going to die! My heart was pounding, I was soaked with sweat and 24 hours later it was impossible to move because my muscles were so sore.

What had happened to all of my exercise and weight training? Wasn't I in "good" shape? I reflected on my strolls on the elliptical machine and the rides on the stationary bike. It seems that they didn't prepare me for the exertion of climbing up the mountain. I realized that my routine at the gym was not pushing and strengthening me anymore and that I had reached a plateau.

What about your self, work and your relationship rings? Are you just maintaining and doing the minimal in your relationships to just get by? Maybe you are not even maintaining (being a couch potato). What happens when difficult times come along at work and you are expected to dig in and exert yourself? Will you be prepared? You need to stretch and push and improve your skills, muscles and mind. Life in not about maintenance-it is about improvement. How will you improve? No pain, no gain!


Be Happy

Push yourself to be happy. Make it a goal and work at it. Fake being happy until you are happy. It is an attitude and something that you decide. Count all of your blessings and realize that you have a lot to be happy about. You might have a lot to be sad about but consider the glass half full and not half empty-be happy.

Consider the quote from Spencer Kimball, Happiness does not come by pressing a button, as does the electric light; happiness is a state of mind and comes from within. It must be earned. It cannot be purchased with money; it cannot be taken for nothing.

You deserve to be happy-and it's always just one choice away.


Tip For Holiday Eating

Few of us are immune to overeating during the holidays. The food is just so good! Well, if you struggle to control your eating, maybe you should just think about over indulging in your favorite food. Don't believe it? See the research from Carnegie Mellon University in the latest issue of Science.

Here's how it works. You imagine yourself eating the food that normally causes you to overindulge-a favorite dessert or main course. As you imagine eating lots of it, your mind begins a process of habituation-getting conditioned to the food-and therefore losing the desire to continue eating it. According to the article, a similar process occurs when you are exposed to bright lights or bad smells-you just get used to them. The emotion is initially high, but it is lost as the stimulus stays with you over time.

The authors describe the process as a type of motivation, or "mind over stomach." You are satisfying a desire mentally instead of physically. Then, when you are presented with the actual food, you eat less of it.

The process sounds reasonable. The one catch is that it is food specific-you have to imagine yourself eating the specific food on which you normally overindulge (I'm calling all my friends now to ask them what they plan to serve).

Happy mental eating!