It's the new year, and I know that I always find myself about this time of year, re-evaluating how my life is going. What are the things I've surrounded myself with and what good (or bad it is doing for me?). Life is so busy and so fast and the older we get it seems almost impossible to change old habits and to integrate new ones that can help us be a happier, healthier, and even a more pleasant, more relaxed person to be around. There is so much emphasis on what we SHOULD be doing on a daily, weekly, yearly, life-long basis. That the "I" voice inside all of us can get squashed down into a quiet murmur. Before we know it, we have forgotten how to help ourselves grow as a person and feed our inner voice.
Here are a few things that we can all do to keep our mind, body and true selves healthy.
Sit, walk, or run in the forest:
Did you know that just by standing in the forest you are boosting your immune system and healing you lungs?
The Conifers in the forest; cedar, pine, firs, juniper. They all have constituents they release that purify the air. When your in the forest you are allowing your body to breathe in the air given off by these amazing trees which will boost your immunity, detoxify your system, and clear your lungs.
It's no wonder it feels so good to take a deep breathe when you step out of your car and into the forest. Treat yourself. get outside and breathe. The next time your in in the woods, think about what wonderful things these trees are giving us all and breathe out.
Drink more water than you are already are
Drink more water. Stay hydrated. yeah yeah yeah we've all heard this a thousand times before. We ALL know this. So it surprises me that when I talk to people about this, most people barely drink any water in a day, the people that do drink water tend not to drink enough and, most people don't even realize why it's so important.
SO, how much water should we be drinking? It depends on body weight, but on average, an adult should be drinking around 3 liters of water every day. If your exercising or drink a large amount of caffeine or soda, you should be drinking more. NO. Caffeinated, carbonated sugary drinks and alcoholic beverages do not count, they are actually all diuretics in nature and actually dehydrate you.
So why drink water? Staying hydrated keeps your bodies tissue, blood and cells running smoothly. It oxygenates your blood, which gives you more energy, helps brain function and mood function. Drinking water frequently, also helps your body flush out toxins through sweat and urine. This is a very important thing to remember! We are constantly exposed to environmental toxins everyday. Through the air that we breathe, and the chemicals and pesticides that are in our food, skincare, and cleaning products. Our liver is our master detoxifier, but for it to detoxify and filter properly it needs a body that is well hydrated. If your not doing that, then toxins that come into your system will recirculate back into your blood stream and begin to cause problems. Signs of this happening show up at first as nervous system issues such as: headaches, rashes, skin problems, sore joints, acne. Long term effects of this are much worse and can contribute to things like high blood pressure, cardio-vascular disease, kidney stones, digestive issues and even cancer.
I personally, was someone who never even came close to drinking enough water in a day. I simply couldn't ever remember and didn't think about it. For me to start drinking 3 liters of water everyday I had to come up with a method. I first needed a container that I could measure. . . The easiest thing for me were mason jars, we have many around the house, the amount they hold is very clear and they are easy to carry around as to-go containers. So I started by carrying a 32oz jar size around with me. At my desk, in my bag, in my car, to meetings, movies, everywhere. And it was simple math that I could keep track of. I needed to drink 3 full jars in a day. At this point I'm so used to it that I feel like something is missing if I'm not drinking water all day. . . but it did take some diligent training and time. And it was worth it. My body is working better and feeling better and I know yours will too!
Sit down for 10 minutes in a day and do nothing. I mean nothing!
This is surprisingly hard. And it's surprisingly easy to make an excuse as to why you can't find ten minutes to do nothing: I have too much to do, I'm always around someone or some sound, I don't like to sit still, doing nothing is frowned upon, this is waste of time, this shit is for hippies. . . etc. . . etc. . . .the excuse (and judgement) list can go on for miles. The truth is, we waist 10 minutes every day. Why not try and put that time to bettering yourself.
If you took just a 10 minute space to dedicate that time where you don't have to make lists, be productive, get something done, problem solve, talk to your children, your partner, your roommate. A place where you don't have to think about anything. Where there are no rules. You may find yourself listening to. . .well. . .YOU! your inner self.
so, how to do this?
When I say do nothing I mean nothing. No "I'm doing nothing distractions" like, reading, texting, internet, watching t.v, listening to music. . . none of that. Find a quiet place where you won't be disturbed. Use a timer. And just sit for 10 min. It doesn't matter how, just be comfortable and sit there.
You are giving yourself time to notice what's actually happening around you. A shift of light, a neighbor getting home, a breeze hitting your arm. And you are giving yourself a chance to check in with yourself. Do you have a tight stomach? stiff neck? is your body completely relaxed? are you breathing deeply, quickly, quietly? These things are ways to connect back to yourself and the life force around you. Giving yourself this time with no agenda also gives you a chance to see how your really feeling. I'm thinking so much about so and so. . maybe I really do like him. I say I'm fine with this decision but my body is tight and I'm aggravated when it comes up. . . maybe I'm not so comfortable with it. Just observe everything around you and in you. that's it.
Over time the benefits of this are huge! being more aware of your own feelings, more relaxed, a closer connection to others, better focused productivity, feeling like you have more time, more creativity. It also helps with procrastination, and stress levels.