Sleep hygeine

Sleep Hygiene
A good night’s sleep is incredibly important for your health. It is just as important as eating healthy and exercising. Unfortunately, our modern times are interfering with our natural sleep patterns. People are now sleeping less than they did in the past, and sleep quality has decreased as well.
Sleep hygiene means habits that help you to have a good night’s sleep. Common sleeping problems (such as insomnia) are often caused by bad habits reinforced over years or even decades. You can dramatically improve your sleep quality by making a few minor adjustments to lifestyle and attitude.
Why is Sleep so important anyway?
 Poor sleep can make losing weight more difficult than it should be. Short sleep duration is associated with a drastically increased risk of weight gain and obesity, in both children and adults. In one extensive review study, children and adults with short sleep duration were 89% and 55% more likely to become obese, respectively.
 Poor sleep affects hormones that regulate appetite. Those who get adequate sleep tend to eat fewer calories than those who don’t.
 Good sleep can maximise problem-solving skills and enhance memory. Poor sleep has been shown to impair brain function.
 Longer sleep has been shown to improve many aspects of athletic and physical performance.
 Sleeping less than 7–8 hours per night is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
 Sleep deprivation can cause pre-diabetes in healthy adults in as little as six days. Many studies show a strong link between short sleep duration and type 2 diabetes.
 Poor sleeping patterns are strongly linked to depression, particularly for those with a sleeping disorder.
 Getting at least eight hours of sleep can improve your immune function and help fight the common cold.
 Sleep affects your body’s inflammatory responses. Poor sleep is strongly linked to inflammatory bowel diseases and can increase your risk of disease recurrence.
 Sleep deprivation may reduce your social skills and ability to recognize people’s emotional expressions.
When you are sleeping your body is rejuvenating, repairing and detoxing. Therefore prioritizing quality sleep is super important!!

Here are a few of my key tips for a good night’s sleep.

  1. Routine, getting into the habit and routine to switch off. Relax, quieten the mind and unwind. This should be done about 30-60 mins before bed time. Humans respond well to routine. Having a specific bed time helps our body clock and circadian rhythms.
  2. Minimise blue light exposure, this is a life changing tip. Blue light messes with our circadian rhythm by blocking melatonin production. Melatonin is responsible for regulating sleep cycles. Studies have shown that blue light emitted by screens (TV, computer, phone etc.) suppresses melatonin levels making it more difficult to fall asleep. I wear blue light blockers at least an hour before bed if I have late night work to do on the laptop or watching television.                                   
  3. Journaling, if you can’t fall asleep due to a busy mind, try journaling your thoughts. Write gratitude lists or set your intentions for the next day.
  4. If I am going through a stressful patch and feel anxious I will take one or two herbal rescue tabs to calm the nerves, this helps to get into that relaxed space to be able to unwind.
  5. Epson salt baths, these are amazing at relaxing the muscles. Try adding 1 cup of Epson salts to your next bath!
  6. Music and listening to meditation music can be very calming and allows you to wind down for the night.
  7. Salt lamps generate negative ions. Spending time in nature, especially around water, is definitely the best way to get exposure to negative ions, but salt lamps also generate small amounts, especially when used consistently over time. My salt lamp just sets the tone for a cosy sleep cave feel.
  8. Ear plugs. Wax ear plugs are life changers if outside noises are disturbing your sleep!

Hope this inspires you to prioritize your sleeping routine and perhaps change a few things to get in some extra zzz’s.

X M

Mindset is power

Life is only as good as your mindset.

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At the end of the day, it’s not what you say to everyone else that determines your life; it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the greatest power – the way you speak to yourself matters.

What you think about is what you end up manifesting.

Your thoughts are more powerful than you think. Waking up each day, thinking about the negatives, the people and things that weigh you down, emotional damage or long to do lists will have impact on the outcomes of your day – why… because your thoughts govern how you perceive all aspects in life.

Taking a moment to be grateful 1. For being given another day to live and 2. For being given a powerful mind. Spending time every day looking and finding magic all around you – changing your perspective will alter the way you react.

Having a powerful mindset will allow you to be your best version, to grow and become exactly what you want.

You can become a master of your life when you learn how to control where your attention goes. Always value, what you give your energy and time to.

Movement is therapy

20180709_194901_0001Movement or Exercise is physical and mental therapy.

A big component of health and wellness is movement. This is why I love what I do!

Physical activity is used as a treatment therapy for many chronic illnesses, to rehab injuries and to relieve mental illness and depression.

In the age of sedentary lifestyles, desk bound jobs and technological conveniences, movement is neglected.

I have found that many people don’t even know the importance of movement.

  1. Movement makes you feel and perform better in all spheres of life
  2. It makes you healthy and happier.
  3. It is required for the functioning of the body and mind.

Many systems in the body depend on movement – lymphatic, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, neuromuscular… Movement is a free form of mental therapy. It releases feel good hormones, which make you feel amazing. It helps clear the mind and reduce stress.

Movement should be utilized as a tool to improve your mental and physical health.

Get going, get moving, for a better you today!

X M

Self Care 101

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Something that I really wanted to prioritize this year, starting a new chapter, in a new environment was my own healing process, which entails a lot of self-care.

People want to know all about self-care, and of course they do because once you find out that there’s this magical thing that can make your life better, of course you want to jump on that train.

But people are like “I don’t … How do I … I don’t have time.” News flash, if you’re one of those people who feels like you don’t have time for self-care, then you’re really in need of self-care. As a recovering overachiever, I totally understand what you’re feeling, so I want to talk about it.

Step 1 to practicing self-care is letting yourself know that you deserve it. YOU deserve it.

So self-care is basically any set of practices that makes you feel nourished, whether that’s physically, emotionally, spiritually, all of the above. Self-care is putting aside time to recharge in a way that’s meaningful to you, and that can mean different things to different people.

I’m actually really introverted, which means that I find rejuvenation in activities that centre quiet, calm, and introspection. Others who are extroverted may find it refreshing to be in environments that are active, energetic, and social. Some people fall somewhere in the middle. What’s important is recognizing that what might work for some people might not work for you.

For example, when I’m feeling lonely, anxious or overwhelmed, what’s works best for me to get back to a neutral place are activities like taking a walk on the beach, meditation, yoga, journaling, going to the farmer’s market , a bubble bath, stuff like that. But I have a lot of extroverted friends.

When they know that I need self-care, they’ll text me “Hey, do you want to grab a drink? You want to do such and such social thing?” And I’m like “No, not even a little bit actually.” But for some people what they need at the end of a stressful day is to go out for a couple of drinks and vent, hence why happy hour exists, and none of these options are right or wrong. It’s really just about finding what works for you.

Figuring out what works for you, can be one of the biggest hurdles to self-care because it’s not something that we sit down and reflect about a lot. But the problem is that if we don’t already have a list of self-care activities that we know are going to work for us, sometimes, we’ll just pick one at random that isn’t actually all that helpful. One way to think through a self-care plan is to ask yourself who, what, and where make you feel safe and supported.

Who are the people that you can surround yourself with who will make you feel supported?

What are some activities that you can do that bring you a sense of calm, and where are the places that you can go to feel safe and comfortable? For example, earlier when I was talking about introversion I gave you a list of activities that are useful to me to find self-care, but what about the people and relationships….

I frequently reflect on the relationships in my life and actually hand pick the ones that I want to nourish. I actually sit down and choose a group of people who I want to be my support system, and I re-evaluate as necessary. I make sure that toxic people are no longer in my life, and I prioritize the relationships that help me grow. Remembering that it’s up to you who is a part of your life and who isn’t is actually a really powerful aspect of self-care.

So my take home message on self-care is making a list of 5 things that you can do sitting at your desk or wherever you are that will calm you down when you’re feeling stressed. My list is breath, move, gratitude list, tea, getting into nature. Five really simple things that can help calm me down when I’m in a state of anxiety.

The only rules are that they have to be something that you can do in the moment. You can’t put on your list go get a massage or take a vacation, because usually those aren’t available to you in the middle of the day.

Self-care really isn’t something that takes a lot of time, which is what I think most people think. It can be as easy as consciously choosing who you spend your lunch hour with. It can be remembering to take a 10-minute break in the middle of the day to go for a walk or to do some breathing exercises. It can be as simple as promising yourself that you won’t do homework on the weekends. It can be starting every morning with a cup of tea or watching the sunrise. It can be whatever works for you.

But it’s psychologically necessary. You need to take care of yourself. You need to prioritize yourself because you deserve to be prioritized. Self-care is one small step towards self-acceptance and self-love, and cultivating self-love is so, so important because holding yourself in respect and honour and compassion is a really beautiful, powerful thing.

It’s the only love guaranteed to you in life.

X M

Exercise types and well-being

1200-running-beach-workoutExercise types and well-being.
Have you ever started a new gym program, and then suddenly get ill for no reason. Well its just a response from you immune system being suppressed due to the new stress added to your body.
The science: Bouts of exercise results in an acute response in a number of immune function components, followed by a dip below pre-exercise levels.
Chronic exercise which is moderate in intensity, results in enhanced immune function, where as exhaustive exercise, overtraining, or high intensity exercise may lead to immunosuppression.
I remember before I started using exercise as medicine (now training everyday, at a moderate intensity) I would always, without a doubt catch a cold and be man down for a couple days just as I start a new exercise routine. I would be demotivated and give up. Until I found the motivation to start again – A vicious ongoing cycle.
Now Im not saying high intensity training is bad, in fact it shows huge health benefits, increased weight-loss and not to mention how time efficient it is. Just don’t over train/ run yourself down.
But if you are a little demotivated from being ill and or suffer chronic disease this might be something you can use to change it all around.
Using exerise as medicine is cost effective, fun, a massive stress reliever and a natural anti-depressant!!
If you can relate to any of this or if you know you have a weak immune system, try taking it slow, taking it day by day, listening to your body, change your perception of why you want to exercise. Do it for health, do it to fend off disease, do it to move you body and shake up your energies.
Exercise isn’t always for the aesthetics, that’s just a bonus 😉

What is ‘Biohacking’

 

What is ‘Biohacking’?

It’s the process of making changes to your lifestyle to “hack” your own body’s biology and to feel your absolute best.

Every single thing we put into our bodies – our foods, our thoughts, our physical movement and our environmental exposure affect the way we behave. You have the ability to transform your body so that you can feel like the best version of yourself.

When you function at such a higher level you are able to be more productive, feel more energized, focused, feel happier, be more mindful, and have lowered stress levels.  You will feel more in control.

Here are a couple of ways you can dabble with to “bio-hack” yourself:

  1. Nutrition – Eliminate anything that causes you any digestive stress – good digestion is key for a well-functioning system. Try the elimination diet, if you cannot pin point causes of digestive stress.  Digestive stress can cause symptoms like; bloating, bowel changes, skin issues, cramps, nausea etc.
  2. Water – drinking enough water is the first step, then drinking clean filtered water is the second. Remember water flushes out the system, the type of water we drink is definitely something we need to pay more attention to.
  3. Sleep – I cannot stress enough how important getting adequate amounts of sleep is. On average you should be getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night, this also increases the more active you are. If you’re an athlete, and training almost every day, sleep is vital for recovery.
  4. Eating patterns – Intermittent Fasting (IF), the new craze diet in the fitness industry. IF is not really a diet, rather a timeline/ pattern of eating and not eating. The benefits are numerous, I suggest doing IF a couple days a month, to reap the benefits of autophagy and longevity.
  5. Exercise – movement! – My favourite hack – why? – Because this really gives you so much room to play. I recommend any physical activity that you enjoy – again I emphasize ANY activity YOU enjoy. If you do what you enjoy, chances of doing it again are much higher! Moving your body – releases endorphins (the feel good hormones), gets your heart and muscles working – we were made to move!
  6. Eat more fat – no I’m not saying go all out KETO (ketogenic diet). Adding more fat to your diet is good for your health, but make sure it’s the healthy fats like avocados, coconuts, olive oil, fatty fish like salmon and mackerel etc. Fats are vital for hormone production and many processes in our bodies. (side note – note the increase in obesity worldwide since  LOW FAT diets were propagated)
  7. Develop a daily gratitude practice – get yourself a journal, write down a list of what you are grateful for, write down your goals, your to do lists, favourite scriptures, this task is so easy to do yet – we always too busy liking instagram posts to do it, you become so mindful with how you spend your time when you make time for journaling and practicing gratitude.
  8. Grounding – Nature is healing! Take off your shoes, walk around barefoot on the grass, on the sand, allowing your feet to connect with the surface below them. When we spend time barefoot on the earth, our feet act as electrical currents, allowing the natural electrical charges that the earth produces flow through us.
  9. Get in to the sun – Getting some vitamin D. Exposing your skin to sunlight is so important. Most people are vitamin D deficient, this can lead to terrible side effects like lowering your immunity, fatigue, hair -loss, headaches etc.

Some food for thought, with these practical ideas on how you can hack you biology to upgrade yourself!

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