In our fast-paced modern society, the basic concept of self-care falls by the wayside. We live in a culture where exhaustion and overwork are valued above relaxation and taking time out for ourselves. We take pride in being busy- too busy. So much so that the concept of self-care feels selfish. Instead of taking a walk on the beach, or getting a massage, shouldn’t we be doing something? Our nervous systems were not built for this kind of pressure. Our bodies require down-time to recharge. As a result, we are all in a constant state of burn-out. Ann Wigmore of the Natural health Institute and author of “Be Your Own Doctor” writes “Your health is what you make of it. Everything you do and think either adds to the vitality, energy and spirit you possess or takes away from it.” So how do we maximize our health potential? How do we become our own health care provider? This is the modern version of “an apple a day…”
1.Take Time For You
The airplane homily – ‘put your oxygen mask on first’ – is 100% correct. We need to attend to our own needs before we attend to the needs of others and not feel guilty about it. Prioritize self-care. Self-care is a deliberate action with the purpose of taking care of our mental, emotional and physical state. Psychologist Agnes Wainmen explains it as “something that refuels us, rather than takes from us.” This might be different for different people. Some people might find their fuel with adventure, while others might find it with the company of friends while others still might find it with solitude. Pay respect to your needs. My self-care is sleeping in on weekend mornings, taking time to meditate and spending time with my kids.
2.Eat Real Food
This is a big one. Nothing can either promote or derail our health more than the food we eat. Ann Wigmore says, “The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison,” while Dr Mark Hyman of the Ultra Wellness Center in MA says “I believe the most important and most powerful tool you have to change your health and your world is at the end of your fork.” The food we eat can either create inflammation or put out the fire. Feeding our bodies properly means a whole-foods, nutrient-rich diet devoid of processed foods and added sugar. Vegetables, and low sugar fruits should always be at least 60% of every meal. Well sourced proteins, whole grains, nuts, seeds and quality fats make up the remaining 40%. Quality, when it comes to food, is everything
Is sitting is the new smoking? Extended periods of time without moving has been linked to many chronic conditions including obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high levels of visceral fat, cardiovascular disease and even cancer. Our current sedentary screen-based culture tends to limit physical activity. Get up and move! According to the Mayo Clinic, 60 minutes of moderate exercise daily can counteract the effects of too much sitting. They advise people to take a break from sitting every 30 minutes. Get up and walk around. Walk to work, take the stairs, you don’t need a gym to keep your body in motion. The impact of those simple changes can have a profound effect on your health, most specifically as we get older.
Being our own doctor is simple. Take care of your mental, emotional health, reduce stress, eat real food, and get moving physically. Your body will thank you.
By Tapp Francke Ingolia
as seen in The Purist Magazine