Summer is often a time when the rules are a little less rigid. Come fall, we get back to “real” life.
Rumblings of apprehension and fear persist among parents, caregivers and generally everyone since the pandemic. It’s not a healthy way of living; so I try to help clients control what they have control over. It all comes down to three basic questions:
- What are you eating?
- How are you sleeping?
- How much exercise are you getting?
We can’t control everything, but we most certainly can hold these essentials to balanced living.
First, focus on eating whole and real foods.
I set up a shared spreadsheet for my family where we all have access to enter meal ideas day-by-day. Then once a week, the grocery shopper of the house has each meal planned out and knows what to buy for the week. Now is a perfect time to head out to a farmer’s market on the weekend and eat what is in season.
I love to find out how farmers grow their produce and whether they’re using GMO seeds, spray pesticides or fungicides. I also ask questions about how the animals are raised and if regenerative farming methods are used. Posing such questions is such a great practice! The more consumers ask, the more educated we become about our food sources.
Sleep is another important criterion.
I use a sleep tracker; there are some great ones out there to choose from. Look for reliable trackers whereby you can measure patterns of your sleep. It’s not about having one bad night — it’s about watching out for trends and seeing if your body is recovering well as you sleep.
- What is your HRV (heart rate variability)?
- What is your heart rate?
This leads me to my last point. Your recovery “scores” will tell you how ready your body is for exercise and what type of movement might be best for the day.
Activity is critical to overall wellness.
It is a way in which we do good for the heart, weight, and mental health; it helps us age better. Walking is excellent, but we need to do more as we reach midlife. We need to include resistance training, consisting of weights or bands, plus stretching and cardio. I do my best to get out in nature when I walk because this is also great for the mind. I try to stay off my phone — no podcasts, no phone calls — and use this time to connect with nature.
I urge you to ask yourself the above three fundamental questions. Analyze how your body feels currently and where you are in terms of overall wellness. Look out for any cues your body gives. Above all, it is crucial that you act on fulfilling these three needs – appetite/diet, sleep and activity. If done right, you’d be in full control of your health!