In a recent article, I gave you my top tips for claiming 2017 as your year of wellness and productivity. To sustain momentum, I’m back to offer you my continued support in our healthy tall girl quest to living in balance.
Getting into nature is my number one recommendation for ensuring that you’re staying connected to your goals in a positive way. Nothing will reset your commitment to taking good care of yourself quite like fresh air and a little sunshine. Nature is also relatively free from modern day distractions. While, I’ve never been personally motivated by gym memberships, a long walk during that golden hour just before sunset does not feel like exercise.
In a similar way, I can spend twenty minutes picking up sticks in my yard or planting vegetable seeds, and hardly notice any time has passed. Dr. Andrew Weil, physician, author, and holistic health practitioner, is a proponent of “integrative exercise”, or any movement that happens as a result of a productive activity including housework, gardening, or walking/biking to a destination. It makes perfect sense to me that I don’t want to “waste energy” on a treadmill or stationary bike. On the other hand, I have no trouble walking the dog around the neighbourhood or running under a sprinkler with the kids.
It is easy to go through the motions each day, attending to responsibilities and fulfilling obligations. We sometimes neglect to leave time to identify some personal goals for ourselves. There are obvious time and energy drains such as comparing oneself to others on social media or binge watching Netflix.
Pay attention to how you’re spending your free moments and decide where you have 30 minutes per day to work on something that will bring you more happiness and deeper personal meaning. Perhaps you could spend the first half hour of your day journaling in your tall girl notebook or practising yoga. One of my favourite diversions is spending time on Instagram. While I could easily spend half an hour mindlessly scrolling, I thought there might be a better way to use it to inspire creativity and joy in my own life.
I landed on a practice I’ve come to know as “cultivating wonder”. I day dreamed up this term as a photo hashtag, and was delighted to find that I was not the first person to use it. The best example I can relay is playing a game of fairy spotting with my children. The metro parks system in our city is impressive, and my family’s favourite is a place called Inniswood Metro Gardens. The place is absolutely overrun by fairies. If you ever visit and don’t see them, I encourage you to dig deep, have a quick chat with your inner seven year-old, and look again. My boys and I spot fairy houses, playgrounds, swimming pools, gardens, cafes, schools, bridges, carriages, and feasts nearly everywhere.Your version of cultivating wonder may be appreciating the details of a snowflake or observing dew drops on a spider web. Take a moment to notice and enjoy something that you typically walk past. Make an ordinary day invigorating by seeing your world with fresh eyes.
Notice the colours, patterns, and sounds all around you. If you get comfortable spending some time like this, new ideas and exciting possibilities begin to flow freely into your consciousness. You may be only a beautiful afternoon away from the “Aha” moment that defines your next courageous step in life.
I’m an advocate of a plant based diet with a strong emphasis on greens for optimum health. By no means do I get a perfect score on my daily food choices but I’m learning and it’s all about balance so here are 5 suggested safeguards that I’ve recently added to my routine.
Please consult with your healthcare provider prior to making your own additions to be sure of the recommended dose for your age, gender, and weight, as well as any potential interactions with prescription drugs. Expectant mothers should also be aware of varied dietary needs.
1. Fish Oil
Omega-3 supplements via fish oil or algae can be taken for improved mood and brain health. See what the NIH (National Institutes of Health) has to say here. Adequate daily intake for adults ages 19-50 is 1.1g (female) and 1.6g (male). My kids like the Nordic Naturals brand that come in tangerine gummies.
In the same family as ginger, turmeric is known for potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. The active ingredient curcumin may protect against various ailments and reduce blood sugar. Adults may take a turmeric supplement, bearing in mind that it is not well absorbed unless it’s combined with piperine (a component of black pepper). The advised supplement dosage is 400-600mg. The spice is also commonly used in cooking (think Indian curry dishes). Here’s a recipe by Kris Carr for Turmeric Milk.
This vitamin is created in our bodies when skin is exposed to sunlight. Deficiencies are common, especially in the northern hemisphere. D3 may protect against depression and dementia. Dr. Weil suggests 200 IU daily for adults, as recommended by the NIH.
As this vitamin is derived from animal products, vegans are especially vulnerable to symptoms of a deficiency that can include fatigue, muscle weakness, and dizziness. Absorption of B12 can be impacted by excessive alcohol use, antibiotics, nicotine, and some prescription drugs. The Mayo Clinic recommends a daily dose of 2.4mcg.
Choose local and organic foods whenever possible. Vegetables and herbs are high in antioxidants and fibre. Try making a stir-fry to include broccoli, cabbage, and bok choy. Mix arugula, spinach, kale, cilantro, parsley, or basil together to create a fresh salad. Other high impact options include Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and celery. Don’t forget the mustard and collard greens.
Include nuts and seeds in your diet for a great source of plant-based fats. Top that salad with almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, flaxseeds, cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds. Organic and unroasted will provide the most benefits.
Try also incorporating blueberries, raspberries, and goji berries for vitamins and antioxidants. They also make great salad toppers. For excellent smoothie add-ins, I enjoy the benefits of cacao, chia seeds and maca powder. If you’re looking for a nutrient-filled mood lifter, here’s another delicious smoothie recipe for you to try out.
For more wellbeing motivation and to read more from Tiffany, head across to her author page