Christina Carreau BA ND
I know that you are busy. I know it is easy to feel like making a commitment to your health is complicated and confusing. I know health in general feels like a massive and often overlooked item on your list of to-do’s. And I know you just may not feel up for another challenge today… you just want to get through this week, this month, this season and then when the time is right, you are going to prioritize your health. Believe me… I know that feeling all too well.
But here is the thing. As far as I can tell, life isn’t slowing down. Our list of to-do’s is ever growing, not shrinking. So when are we going to find that free time to address this most important aspect of our lives? The longer we wait, the longer we accept sub-optimal personal health and the greater the risk to our quality of life. This might mean lower energy levels, poorer sleep quality, compromised ability to handle stress, inability to focus, digestive upsets, loss of motivation, loss of sex drive or any number of other things. So, let’s stop pretending that there is a ‘right time’ to invest in ourselves. Today is a perfect day to prioritize your health and invest in your well-being.
Taking your health to the next level doesn’t need to be complicated or confusing. We just need to get clear on what we want and start taking action to move ourselves closer to that goal. Here are five specific and uncomplicated ways to take health your health to the next level.
- Establish your baseline. Define your current state of health? Poor? Decent? Good? Great? Fantastic? Getting an up to date ‘read’ on how you are feeling is going to help you determine your next best steps. How can you plan where you’re going if you don’t know where you are now? So, check in with yourself in terms of mood, energy, sleep, appetite, digestion, bowel regularity, joint pain, muscle tension stress levels, hormone balance, libido, memory, concentration, hydration, allergies, immune function, activity level, skin health, etc. Try and determine one or two target areas that you would like to see improvements in. Write these down. This is your ‘starting line’. You can now measure progress against this simple subjective baseline. As always, if you are not sure what to prioritize, reach out. I am more than happy to help you with this.
- Set goals. There is no point establishing a baseline if you don’t intend to do something with it. What do you need to focus on to improve your quality of life? Is it movement? meal planning? joint health? focus? energy? self-love? joy? sleep? mood? One of the mistakes that I often see is that our goals are too broad. For example, “my goal is to feel better” or “improve my energy” or “lose weight”. Let’s get really specific in setting goals while ensuring they are realistic, sustainable and attainable (by you). Specific goals would be: “Monday to Friday I am going to go to bed 30 minutes earlier” or “I am going to do 15 minutes of light stretching on waking” or “go for a brisk walk around the block at lunch” or “drink at least 2L of water daily” or “make my lunches in the morning” or “stop the afternoon sweet treat”. Again, write it down. Review it regularly to ensure you are following through on the promises you made to yourself. Adjust goals up or down, without compromising your end game of getting healthier. Celebrate your success in a way that feels good. Keep moving the bar higher each time you achieve stability at your goal – and in this way you will take your health to higher and higher levels.
- Establish a morning routine. I know that those 15 extra minutes of sleep seem so precious at the time but trust me, you can get getter bang for your buck. Front load your day with ‘you’ time. There are so many options. Maybe you roll out a yoga mat and do 10 minutes of gentle stretching and movement, write down 5 things that you are grateful for and reflect on that, enjoy a warm cup of tea while gazing up at the changing color of the sky, write in your journal, read a book, practice your positive self-affirmations, bounce on your rebounder, listen to your favourite song, skip rope, practice diaphragmatic breathing, set an intention for your day? I promise you, if you take the time to find what feels good and establish your own routine it will be a powerful game changer.
- Mind your mind. We live in a world that is much more physically focused than mentally focused. The global value of the fitness and beauty industry combined is $7 trillion! The marketing efforts of these industries are targeted on your insecurities – aging, your size, your shape, your firmness, your masculinity or femininity, your abs, your skin tone, your thighs, your hair color, your bra size, your pallor….the list goes on. Freud proved that if you tap into people’s insecurities and arouse their deepest feelings of inadequacy, then they will buy just about anything. Be aware of what is going on below the surface. What is your story? Is your story helping you or hurting you? How do you really feel about yourself deep down? Are you kind enough to yourself? Do you tell yourself that you are enough? That you are beautiful and smart and funny and perfectly imperfect? Your mindset is the filter through which you view the world. We cannot continue to underestimate the importance of a healthy mindset and the many positive impacts that it can have on our health and well-being. #mindsetmatters
- Turn off your phone. So many of us are connected all day every day. We are so inundated with opportunities and expectations that we are perpetually online. And with so many of us now working from home, this is likely the most ‘plugged in’ we have ever been! The science is clear – hyperconnection has numerous negative health impacts. It can lead to sleep disturbances, musculoskeletal issues (text neck, text claw, gameboy back, generalized or localized back pain), eye strain, increased risk of anxiety, depression and feelings of isolation. Internet addiction is now a diagnosis in our Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Be strategic and set specific times to unplug EVERY day so that you make time to connect with yourself. Again, write these down to document your commitment and hold yourself accountable.
If you need support, accountability, clarity, help with goals setting or a plan of action, please reach out! I am here to help you reach your health goals. I want you to thrive in your busy life and I know you want that too! Let’s take our health to the next level! #letsdothis