When it comes to health and wellness there is an overload of information, however, perfection isn’t the answer. In fact, if you were to follow all of the advice, or even attempt to (as most of it is contradictory), you would heighten your anxiety levels so much that it would negatively impact your health, not to mention the likelihood of losing most of your friends in the process!
I am the first to agree that finding the right balance in your life is more than tricky! In fact, it has been my life-long goal with hurdles at every turn. However, I have learnt some valuable lessons along the way, which have allowed me to feel more in control of my health, whilst still being able to enjoy a few vices and have a bit of fun. Wellness is not about perfection, in fact, studies have linked perfectionism (yes, it is a recognised term) with increased levels of stress and anxiety.
“So how do I find the right balance?”, I hear you ask.
Here are my 5 Top Tips:
Tip 1: A Vice can be Good for you!
Now this is one rule that you probably didn’t expect to hear from a naturopath, however, for our mental health we all need some variety and spontaneity. The key is choosing your vices wisely and embracing moderation.
Tip 2: Move More Everyday
Exercise not only makes us feel good by stimulating the release of happy brain chemicals, it also literally keeps our internal cellular machinery running at a younger age. You don’t need to have a “perfect exercise routine” to get all the benefits, as just increasing incidental exercise can still have a major effect on all aspects of health. The key is – some is better than none at all. Also make sure you find something you enjoy, or you simply won’t stick with it for the long term.
Tip 3: Get More Rest
A study done on military personal showed that having only two hours less sleep than the ideal of 7-9 hours a night, resulted in the same reduction of mental function after ten days, as if you were completely sleep deprived for a whole night. So, if you think you only need 5-6 hours a night, science is saying the opposite. A great idea is to set an alarm an hour before you need to go to bed, then turn the lights down low, put on some music or run a bath, and let your body wind down.
Rule 4: Plan Ahead
Studies show that people with scheduled exercise far out perform those who have no real plan. If you have important meetings or events that you need to do, you schedule them, right? The problem is that most people try to fit far too much into a day and then don’t have time for important life-prolonging activities such as exercise, sleep or relaxation. The answer here is to SCHEDULE these activities too.
Rule 5: Eat Unprocessed
Don’t try to be perfect with your die,t as that usually results in restrictive diets that miss out on variety.
My three tips to a better diet are: 1) Eat mostly fresh and unprocessed foods (and watch the sugar content). 2) Plan ahead and freeze meals as a back-up. 3) Make sure you eat plenty of colourful foods, especially vegetables, fresh herbs and spices, as these are rich sources of health-giving phytonutrients.
So the moral of this story is: making just one small change every day can make a massive difference over time, without needing to be perfect!