Have you noticed how we humans tend to complicate even the simplest things? You can’t really accuse dogs, horses, or even cats of this kind of behavior – it’s purely a human thing.
Think about it:
- When a cat is sleepy, what does she do? She lies down and goes to sleep – wherever she happens to be. She doesn’t stick a paw out to “gauge” the room’s temperature, light a lavender scented candle, or grab a notebook so she can log the number of hours she slept once she awakens. She’s sleepy – she sleeps.
- When a dog is hungry, he eats. He doesn’t worry about the number of calories he’ll be consuming, doesn’t turn to Google to see if so and so or such and such approve of his lunch choice, and he doesn’t take that final bite while telling everyone within ear-shot, “I’ll have to chase the cat for 20 minutes to burn this off later!” He’s hungry – he eats.
- Animals instinctively know they need to get activity each day. They don’t do it to burn off the tuna fish, chicken, or stolen cookie – they do it because it’s fun and it makes them feel good.
Then here come the humans. We arrive on the scene with fit bits, pedometers, activity apps, and a couple of backpacks filled with books telling us what to eat and what (Heaven forbid!) not to eat.
I apologize if I’m oversimplifying – actually, I’m very aware that I am, but let’s face it, I oversimplify beautifully and… well… I like to flaunt my assets.
When it comes to health, it’s simply not as complicated as we try to make it.
- Eat Healthy.
- Get Some Activity on Most Days of the Week.
- Cut Out Stress.
- Get Plenty of Rest.
EATING HEALTHY. We could debate for 6 months straight about what makes a healthy diet. Personally, I subscribe more to the Mediterranean Diet philosophy than any other. I believe a good diet is more about balance than anything else. I’m also a firm believer in drastically limiting sweets and fried food. They do far more harm than good and can easily be replaced with a ripe juicy peach or big red apple.
My personal tip: Smoothies, Salads, and “Bowls”. Combining delicious food that’s good for you – such as fruit, leafy greens, vegetables, chia seeds, coconut milk or almond milk, EVOO, flaxseed, and collagen – and enjoying them in one place is both clever and tasty. Smoothies, salads, and “Bowls” allow you to “up” your daily requirements quickly and painlessly. But there’s even more to it than that when it comes to salads and bowls.
I first fell in love with salads and bowls when I had to (health reasons) stop eating wheat and gluten. I quickly found that I could put what I once put into a sandwich into a bowl or salad. When it came to things like my beloved Big Mac Salad (pictured above), I ended up gaining more nutrients while cutting out unnecessary calories.
“Bowls” also allow you to pile in as many vegetables as you’d like while enjoying your favorite meat in the process. You don’t miss the bread or tortillas at all.
Just keep in mind that your goal should be adding extra vegetables and extra nutrition – not more empty calories.
ACTIVITY. In addition to good old-fashioned housework and gardening, I also walk for 30-45 minutes five days a week. I can literally feel the fresh air and activity doing my body, mind, and soul a world of good. It clears the mind and even gives you a healthy natural glow. The girly girl in me loves that.
My personal tip: Find ways to move more! One of my guilty pleasures is old movies (the Golden Age of Hollywood is an obsession with me), so when I’m watching one, I make a point of actually doing something during the majority of the movie. Whether it’s yoga, calisthenics, laundry, or simply walking in place – moving is healthier than not moving. Period.
ADIOS, STRESS. In my family, the joke is that I don’t suffer from stress… that I’m more of a carrier. Guess it must be my lack of budgeting skills. Or my driving. Or the fact that I’m kind of accident prone. Or all three. Probably all three. Stress is horrific for your mental and physical health – to say nothing of your emotional health. What so many people fail to realize is that when yo get all worked up over small things, your central nervous system and your circulatory system have no idea that what has happened to you is small. For all they know, you’ve been in a colossal wreck, totaled your car, and lost your job and best friend all within 20 minutes – when, in reality, you’re simply having an adult temper tantrum because the server forgot you wanted A1 instead of Heinz 57.
My personal tip: Live in the moment. I have, like, a gazillion and three not-so-spectacular things about me. We’ve already touched on my spending habits and driving. I won’t depress you with my hatred of cleaning closets, phobia of snakes, inability to tell jokes without laughing before the punchline, belief in Bigfoot (I’m serious here, guys), or any of the other oddities that I’ve come to expect from myself. However, if there’s one thing this gal is good at, it’s living in the moment. I may visit it, but I most certainly do not live in the past – even if the past was 10 minutes ago. By the same token, I may consider it, but I most certainly do not get ahead of myself by living in the future. I live in the moment. I reside in the breath. Doing so allows me a more peaceful life than some allow themselves. I travel lightly… no baggage.
REST! We’ve talked before about the importance of a great night’s sleep. Make no mistake about it, getting quality sleep each night is healing and healthy. It allows you to handle life’s little ups and downs better. But it’s more than just sleep that we’re talking about here. If you don’t allow you mind to “rest” periodically during the day, you’re inviting trouble. Each evening, try to “shut off” the thought factory for a while. Put down the iPhone, shut off Twitter and/or Facebook, and just relax. Breathe in. Breathe out. Just BE. You don’t always have to be checking on something, seeing what someone said, or responding to people online or off.
My personal tip: Schedule a little down time each night (or in the afternoon, if you’d prefer). In the warmer months, I love to sit in the yard, admiring my zinnias and the butterflies they attract. It’s a relaxing, delicious, and beautiful little period of time that carries vibes of happiness and peacefulness throughout the rest of the day. In the winter, I unwind by drinking hot chocolate and looking out the winter at birds and squirrels at my feeders.
Yes, while watching for Bigfoot.
Try to always have a healthy attitude about health. Don’t complicate things – it’s really not that difficult. You know the healthy things to eat. Eat them. You know you need to stop stressing about things. So chill out. You know you need to get more activity. Move that body!
Speaking of which, I think this one needs to move a little. I might even clean a closet.*
~ Joi (“Joy”)
* That is so not going to happen.