My top five healthy lifestyle tips
I like using the change of seasons as motivation to check in on my lifestyle habits. This summer was a complex one for me for several reasons. My brother (and only sibling) died unexpectedly in the spring, as a result, I am grateful to have my nutrition, fitness, sleep, meditation and stress practices rooted in place. Most importantly, even in difficult times, I can call upon these practices to give my mind and body stability. Let’s explore my top five healthy lifestyle tips to support all that life throws at you.
I’ve always supported there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a nutrition strategy. There are multiple effective dietary plans depending on your stage of life, health status and sensitivity/allergies. Following a nutrition plan that includes meals with high-quality protein, healthy fats, plus vitamins, minerals and complex carbs with adequate fibre is an excellent baseline. Nutrient-dense foods are vital in maintaining and thriving mentally. And more specifically, certain nutrients play critical roles in supporting our cognitive and mental state.
My top tip as we move into cooler days in fall is to remember to hydrate. The human body contains about 60% water. The brain, lungs, heart, liver, and kidneys all contain water, about 65-85%, and the bones contain about 31%! The body also requires water to flush toxins out of critical organs and carry nutrients to the cells. Without enough water (fluids) your body won’t function properly, and it can be dangerous. Need ideas on how to hydrate? Click here.
Remember to connect with a qualified health professional to find the most suitable nutrition plan for you.
It’s such a beautiful time of year with the cooler temperatures and crisp air to get outside to enjoy fitness activities. I’ve been drawn to nature my entire life, and now even more as I move through this transition. I recommend getting outside daily to walk, bike, hike or even do yard work like raking leaves.
Did you know you can burn up to 150 calories in 30 minutes cleaning up the yard, plus you have just completed another activity on that seasonal to-do list. What about planning a visit to a local farm to pick apples or wander the corn maze with the family? Make sure to walk local trails to enjoy the beautiful season and fall colours.
I’ve been an advocate for restful sleep decades. As more and more devices began infiltrating our lives, I predicted sleep would be affected. When you don’t get enough sleep it can cause an increase in ghrelin, the hunger-promoting hormone and a decrease in leptin, the hunger-suppressing hormone, making you crave more food than necessary.
Sleep is just as important as healthy eating and research recommends at least seven to eight restful hours every night. Set a sleep routine and stick to it. If you are having trouble sleeping, I suggest turning off all devices at least one hour before bedtime and then calming the mind through meditation or other soothing activities.
I’ve been meditating for almost two decades. I was first introduced to the practice from a Pilates instructor who focused on breathing techniques. Then I followed the practice of Jon Kabat-Zinn. Again, during this time of grief and transition, I have relied on my practice to support the ability to focus on the present and not dwell on the past or worry about the future.
I recommend meditative times to take a break from devices, noise and busy thinking. I usually practice first thing in the morning and before bedtime. However, it is helpful to do it throughout the day when you need to re-centre or even focus on your breathing.
As we adjust to new environments and transitions in life, it can be helpful to have healthy lifestyle habits in place. This will support the challenges and stress that arise with these changes. Healthy eating and sleeping, plus having regular fitness activities are important, along with being aware of your stress levels.
Adapting and developing new routines to accommodate the changes is beneficial. That is easier said than done especially during times of intense emotional upheaval and stress. Being disciplined about how you use your energy each day including identifying the people to best support you will keep things moving forward and give you a sense of daily accomplishments.
Final thought for my five healthy lifestyle tips
The change of seasons can be the ideal time to check in and refresh lifestyle habits. What’s working? What’s not working? From nutrition and fitness to sleep and meditation, fine-tuning and having these practices rooted in place will provide the discipline and routine needed to support a healthy lifestyle even during the most difficult times in life.