This is Dr. Jeni wishing you a very happy new year!
It’s a new month, new quarter, new year, and new decade. Everything is new. In this time of newness, many of us make New Year’s resolutions to accomplish the goals we have in the coming year. Weight loss tends to be at the top of most people’s list. “Getting healthy” is another. What does it mean to be healthy in a truly holistic sense? That is something we talked about on Saturday during the Go Giver Mastermind.
We hear the term “Holistic” thrown around a lot. What does it mean? It’s based on the word “Whole”. As in “The whole 9 yards”, and “The whole kit and caboodle”. Not 8 yards. Not part of the kit and caboodle. It’s funny, but you get the picture. Holistic means everything, like a puzzle where the pieces make up the whole. When the puzzle is put together, the picture of holistic health is revealed. If holistic health is what you are looking for, that means to be well in the various areas of life. What are some of these areas?
- Emotional Health
- Mental health
- Spiritual health
- Familial health
These categories represent pieces of our lives that fit together to make a whole picture. Is your Whole picture healthy? That’s a big question to ask. The start of the new year is a great time to examine those areas that we may be struggling in, and work on improving them so we have better holistic health. On Saturday we brainstormed some ideas to get healthier in each of these areas. I challenged the Mastermind members to pick one area that is falling behind in their life, and work on improving it during the month of January. There are HUNDREDS of things we can do to improve our whole health picture, but ain’t nobody got time to read or write an article that long. So; here are a few principles you can implement in each category.
Side Note: Mental vs. Emotional Health
On a side note, some of the members had questions pertaining to mental and emotional health. What is the difference? In a nutshell, your mental health is the ability to think, and your emotional health is your ability to feel. Those things are closely tied together, and they definitely overlap. Your mental health can affect your emotional health, and vice versa, there is a crossover. How you think about something can directly affect how you feel. Knowing this, there is a difference. Mental = Thinking, Emotional = Feeling
- Reach out to a good friend every week for a supportive 15 minute phone call. Make your intentions known to your friend and keep a set time.
- Diffuse essential oils that reduce stress levels. Lavender, Vanilla, Orange, and Peppermint are all great.
- Deep breathing. Take 3 really deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold it for 2 seconds, then breathe out for 4 seconds. (4-2-4). The increased oxygen to your brain improves circulation and has been scientifically proven to elevate mood.
- Have a cup of tea. Chamomile, green tea, herbal, fruit.
- Give someone a hug. They tend to hug you back :). Scientific evidence shows improved emotional wellbeing with 4 hugs a day. Hug your spouse, kids, parents, close friends, contractor 😉
- Share with someone one way they have impacted your life positively. Gratitude improves attitude.
- Meal prep a ton of veggies every week. Carrots, cucumbers, celery, onions, broccoli….whatever you like. Chop them and store them in containers in your fridge. Taking an hour once a week to do this will save you time (not chopping veggies every time you eat, not cleaning up the mess) and is super convenient for lunches, salads, stir frys, and any of those one pot meals. This way veggies are always ready to add into meals or grabbed as a snack.
- Have a smoothie every day for breakfast. This takes less than two minutes and it’s packed full of nutrition. Need a recipe? One cup unsweetened almond milk, ½ cup spinach, 1 banana, 1 cup frozen fruit of your choice (I like mixed berries), 1 Tablespoon almond butter. Have the same smoothie every day and switch out the frozen fruit. Switch the spinach for kale if you really want to supercharge your health.
- You can eat healthy almost anywhere you go. Salads with vinaigrette. Ask for grilled over breaded. Baked over fried. No bun. Hold the cheese and croutons. Choose veggies as your side instead of bread or potatoes. Ask for a double portion of veggies. Get the veggie or tomato based soup instead of the “cream of whatever”. Ask for no MSG. Take home half of your meal. Get the fruit plate. Use lemon on your fish instead of tartar sauce. Avoid fast food. Eating out doesn’t have to be a train wreck. Panera- and my favorite, Chipotle, are both great for accommodating healthy choices, and you can genuinely eat healthy in these restaurants if you are careful.
- Do 25 push ups/jumping jacks/crunches every morning right when you wake up. Do 25 more at lunch. Do 25 before you go to bed. Miss a day? You’ve got the next day and the next to not fall into a bad pattern.
- Park in the spot farthest away from the store and walk. If you do this every time you get groceries or go to the bank or run errands, you’ll be walking over a dozen extra miles every year. That’s huge.
- Take the stairs instead of the stairs that move for you. Unless it’s the Sears Tower 😉
- Spend 10 minutes a day walking. Around your block, on a treadmill, in a forest preserve.
- Run for one minute without stopping. Every day, 7 days a week. Run as fast as you can for 60 seconds. This really adds up, burns calories after you’ve stopped, and decreases likelihood of stroke and heart disease. Yep, just one minute.
- Make sure there are no tvs or laptops or tablets in your bedroom when you go to sleep at night. Your bedroom is for sleeping, reading, and intimacy. There are other rooms for your devices. Having EMF emitting devices in your room while you sleep is scientifically proven to reduce the quality of sleep and intimacy- who wants that?
- Get an extra 15 minutes of sleep at night. You can accomplish this by going to bed 15 minutes earlier. You can accomplish that by watching 15 minutes less tv, or spending 15 less minutes scrolling through social media. Take 15 minutes of wasted time, and put it toward recharging your brain. You will get 1,368.75 extra hours of sleep every year by implementing this principle, and more on leap year 😉
- Sage is a great essential oil to diffuse for mental clarity. There is a reason why it’s called Sage 🙂
- Make sure there is no clutter in your home. Do you have 3 of something? Donate it, sell it, throw it out. Clutter = stress. If you haven’t used something in the last calendar year, get rid of it, it’s not serving you. Unless it’s that huge roasting pan you only use on Thanksgiving, or has extreme sentimental value, toss it. Declutter your desk, cabinets, spice rack, car….anything that needs it.
- Workout (see “Fitness”). Working out has been shown to significantly improve mental clarity and cognitive function.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question someone asks, wait. Pause and think about the answer before blurting something out, if you don’t know, get back to them. Thinking before you respond or react to a difficult situation speaks volumes, and can save you from embarrassment cleanup, reducing stress and saving time.
- Pray. Don’t know what to pray for? Health, relationships, wisdom, guidance, success in business. God listens.
- Meditate. There is no “ideal position” for this. Sitting down on the floor, in a chair, or lying down are all fine. Make sure you’re comfortable. You don’t need to sit like a guru making the ‘ok’ sign. Meditate somewhere where there is no clutter and no devices. You can diffuse essential oils, or have instrumental music in the background- but you don’t have to. Meditating literally means to think. Think and focus on what needs to be done. Visualize your results as if they have already happened. It’s the same principle as the ‘Law of Attraction’.
- Fellowship. Talk to others who share your faith. Attend church or your house of worship.
- Give. If you help someone with sincerity, it will only improve your own life. That’s important to us all right? We’re all about giving back. It feels great and serves a greater purpose.
- Eliminate the things in life that cause spiritual “noise”. Are there movies you watch or songs you listen to that aren’t congruent with your spiritual practices? Get rid of them.
- Read the bible. It’s a great source of wisdom and guidance, and we live in a country where everyone has access to God’s word. There’s bible apps too! I use Bible Gateway.
- Date your spouse. Have a dedicated date night every week. This doesn’t have to be steak and a movie, it can be a picnic on the beach. Or making a meal together at home. Take dancing lessons, painting lessons, golf lessons, tennis lessons, anything you enjoy doing together. This is for adults only, leave the kids at home. If you’ve got money and success and come home to an unhappy spouse, how happy are you going to be? MAke time for quality time with your significant other.
- Listen. When your partner voices concerns or ideas to you, actively listen. Put down your phone, shut the tv off and use your ears. They’re telling you something important, so make it a priority. You married them, and caring about what they have to say goes a long way 🙂
- Have “dates” with your kids. Make time every week for them. Use time spent eating, walking, hanging out together, or doing fun activities to find out how they’re doing at school, or if they’re going through a tough time.
- Make a set of family principles, and follow them- YOU be the example. Some great principles are: No phones at the dinner table. Family meals together at least 3 days a week. No more than one hour of TV per day. Have a 30 minute family meeting every week and give compliments in areas where your kids have done well, and encouragement to improve in the areas that need to get better.
- Tell your spouse and kids every day that you love them. If your kids are at college call or text this. It takes seconds. Being told “I love you” every day by a parent and spouse is vital for emotional well-being.
- If you say you’re going to call a friend, do it. You don’t want to be someone they see as flaky.
- At least twice a month make time for friendship. Even two 2 hour coffee dates, lunches, walks, or activities done together can help facilitate connection. People need social interaction to feel like they matter to you.
- Pick one friend every day to text something kind to. When you run out of friends, start over.
- Pray for your friends in need.
- If you see a friend who is struggling, let them know that you care, and you can set aside a dedicated time to talk through an issue, give advice, or just listen.
- Perform a random act of kindness once a month for a friend. Babysit their kids for free, help them with a project, give them a ride to the airport, cook a meal for the family who just had a baby….there are lots of ideas.
Can you imagine if you picked one area to improve in your life and applied several of the principles? Do you think you would see improvement in the health of that area? Say you want to work on fitness. So you walk 10 minutes a day, do 25 crunches when you wake up, take the stairs over the elevator, and park in the spot farthest away from the store. That’s a lot of small things that take very little time, and no money; but, if you choose to do all of them, I guarantee you’ll see an improvement in your fitness.
I challenge you to pick one area in your life to improve this year. You can work on more than one if you want to see your wellness level really rise. Apply the principles, and get healthier in that piece of the holistic health puzzle. Improving in one area will improve your overall wellness.
In good health,