Sanity is in short supply of late and health care costs are set to rise 25% to 70% or higher in 2017, depending on where you live. With businesses to run, grandkids to nurture, and bucket lists to check off, it’s time to take stock of how you do you—in the category of mind and body care rituals. The two are tied together by the intricate system of hormones and neurotransmitters, all of which wait for our input to determine their actions. What we take in and what we release forms the basis of our experience. As simple as that sounds, it’s true.
We are more like radio transmitters and receivers than static lumps of clay, and even information impacts us on the inside. Too much of the bad stuff shows up on the outside. Use this list to help you check in on the part you are playing in the “everything is food” category. It can help restore your mood, sleep, productivity, and sanity.
1) Commit to conscious consumption. Eat real food, love with real intention. Move away from those people or things that hold you back, zap your energy, and in general make you sick. This includes the news! There isn’t much good out there, at least this week, so why not take a break? When you get caught up in a media frenzy whether it’s a celeb or the political scene, with so much fear and making others wrong your system goes into fight-or-flight mode. Adrenaline, cortisol, and other powerful messengers course through your system, preparing you for movement of some kind. When nothing happens, those chemicals linger in the body, causing weight problems, fatigue and mood swings.
2) Occupy your mind fully and make it not about work or your usual day-to-day to-do list. To re-energize your focus and productivity and restore sanity, do something that takes your mind off of what it gets sucked in to. That might be work, it might be family, your future. Sometimes this means doing something physical like hiking, kayaking, or dancing. For puzzle people, it could be a new crossword or jigsaw puzzle. Maybe you are someone who knits, colors, walks dogs at the shelter. These kinds of activities take you out of your head and you’ll come back with new eyes and renewed energy.
3) Realize you can’t control everything—not even most things. Would that the world listened to us or we could have it our way all the time, but it ain’t happening. Letting go of that possibility is freeing; it’s health enhancing and will give you back some time in your day and space in your mind for things you enjoy. Whether clients, customers, kids, or the corner bakery that lost your order for that special cake stuff is going to happen and people are always the issue. Knowing this, and also that we are each one of those and as imperfect as the rest, why not take a breath, see what can be done to restore order and resolution, and spend your free time enjoying what’s going well.
4) Spend some time in silence. This is different from choosing your news with caution or limiting the time you allow yourself to engage in the social media world. Silence allows for space, for no thought. Remember at the top of the article I mentioned that what we take in and what we release is the foundation of our health and mental well being? Silence is where you release: thoughts, breaths, judgments, must-dos. By releasing those things we make room for creativity, peace, maybe even joy or simple happiness born out of the nothingness. How cool is that? Get something good for nothing.
You do you is about doing the thing that’s you on a normal day. Taking stock of where normal for you might be adding to stress or keeping you in an unhealthy pattern is simple to do, and more important than ever. We are the best form of health insurance there is, and prevention is both underrated and inexpensive compared to co-pays and deductibles. Take stock, take a break, and save your sanity so you can check off one more item on your bucket list.