“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.” ~Carol Welch
Today we begin discussion of the first of five essential aspects of living a balanced life.
Step One: The physical.
Our body governs all dimensions of a balanced life. It is the key. The most concrete, in some ways it is the easiest facet of balance to address.
When my clients confide that they are feeling highly anxious or depressed, not able to function, or just feel “off” this is where we always begin. The physical. We must first address the needs of our bodies to become balanced and healthy emotionally. There is nothing new here. Nothing that you don’t already know. Certainly nothing that your own body doesn’t whisper to you every, single day. But we all need an occasional reminder–a nudge toward what we know is good for us.
To that end, I focus on the following three aspects:
- Food & Nutrition
When we are not exercising, properly fueling our bodies, or sleeping well, it is impossible to improve the quality of our lives. The three are intertwined and even the slightest improvement in one area will lead to improvement in the other two, and eventually, our well-being. Depression and anxiety make changes more difficult, but I encourage my clients to take even the smallest step toward improvement; it will help.
Please note that I am not a trained expert in any of these areas, nor do I wish to over-simplify. I share here the vast improvement in my own life, as well as those of my clients, when physical health, the cornerstone of self-care, is addressed. I outline below a guideline where we can begin making improvement.
- Move–just move more today than yesterday. Walk. Walk. Walk.
- Cardio–3-4 times a week for 30 minutes–make this a goal.
- Seek a partner–facilitator, spark plug–someone who will join your fitness quest.
- Do anything that is physically active and fun for you.
- Yoga–If you’ve never tried yoga, find a beginner class or DVD
- Qi Gong–Check out Lee Holden on YouTube–great stretching
Food and Nutrition
- Regularly scheduled meals–avoid long periods without food
- Balanced nutrition–we know this!
- Food awareness–when I eat _____, I feel ________.
- Hydration–plenty of water
- Address food addictions and emotional eating.
- Regular pattern–schedule
- Prepare for sleep–what are you watching on T.V.? Reading? Is it calming?
- I do not believe in televisions in bedrooms!
- Play soft, relaxing music
- Meditation–If you are new to the practice of meditation, seek a simple, teaching app or CD for beginners. This can transform your sleep!
The good news is that even one, tiny step forward yields positive results. Move a bit more today than yesterday. Eat bit cleaner today than yesterday. Research. Plan. Consult experts. Gather information that is readily available for help in all the above areas. Make small improvements over time and then celebrate your success. Give yourself permission to start fresh as many times as you need.
***A word about medication. For some, a chemical or hormonal deficiency in the body requires medication to achieve balance. Managing dosage and the proper medication plays an essential role in physical health for those people. Each of us is the expert in regard to his or her own body. Communicating with your medical provider regarding the effects of medication is essential.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” ~Jim Rohn
“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.” ~Plato
Next week: Mental (Thought Process)