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Holistic Health: Looking At The Bigger Picture (World Health Day)

Every year on health day we see a lot of attention on the importance of clean eating. For most of us the focus of health day then becomes solely what’s on our plate, and yet have you ever found yourself focusing on your healthy eating, and sure you lose a few kilos but the weight doesn’t really seem to move, your acne remains the same while your hair loss just seems to be getting worse and not better?

Welcome to today’s biggest problem- the problem of hyper focusing.

We zoom into one nutrient, one diet, and one aspect of our lives all the while ignoring the bigger picture. We clean up our diets by knocking out the toxic foods but never stop to consider the toxic emotions and lifestyles we swim in. We load up on a supplement a friend told us about all in the name of good health- but never think to cut back on those late night Netflix sessions or deal with our stress in a more healthy way than after hours TV. That’s why this health day we’re going to shake things up a little.

If you’ve never considered it before- consider it now- the body is a complex interconnected series of systems all silently working together to maintain a balance. When anyone system is compromised it’s up to the others to pick up the slack and keep the show on the road (everything working the way it should be). The damage you incur in one area of your life inevitably spills over the others.

Those late nights add up and give you junk food cravings. The weight piles on and gives you anxiety. The anger you hold on to stores up and causes low-grade inflammation. The stress you keep avoiding keeps you needing that weekend drink. The thirst you ignore makes you overeat.

It’s all connected, it always has been and it always will be.

So instead of focusing on any one aspect- let’s step back and take a look at the bigger picture and the major pieces to the puzzle. You can remember this with a simple acronym “for perfect health we need to get everything off our C.H.E.S.T.S

  • Clean Eating
  • Hydration
  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Toxic Emotions
  • Stress

Clean Eating

Eating clean doesn’t mean you have to put yourself on a diet, sign up for Atkins or get yourself a customised plan. It can be as simple as eating local foods when they are in season. Buying your vegetables from local farmers instead of at the hyper-mart. Cutting back on the breakfast cereals and waking up earlier to have something home cooked. Preplanning your office meals to avoid ordering out.

To simplify it: Make sure you are eating as little outside and or processed food as possible. This not only includes your favourite restaurants ( bye-bye swiggy) but also anything that comes out of a packet or is factory made- yes those so called health biscuits count too!

Hydration

We can’t stress the importance of water enough. With summer just around the corner it’s now more than ever – important to keep those bottles handy. Find water boring? Try drinking an infused water combination (or try keeping a bottle of chia seeds handy to sprinkle into your bottle) in the office.

Exercise

Why is it that for most of us the only time we think about exercise is when we want to lose weight? Exercise has a tonne of other amazing benefits like helping you retain muscle mass as you get older, keeping your bones healthy. Getting your skin that cover magazine glow some studies even show that it can boost brain health- helping you to think faster and remember skills better.

Sleep

The simple act of sleeping may not seem like much but is everything to your bodys maintenance cycle. At night while you’re far off in dreamland- the body takes time to repair the wear and tear incurred during the day. Think of the body as one large factory that works through the day- while the night shift gets the plant ready for operation the next day. Its during this time that the body regulates your hormones and even reduces inflammation. When you cut into your sleep by spending 1 extra hour on Netflix- or giving yourself only 5 hours to sleep a night- you are without knowing it cutting into that much needed maintenance time.

Toxic emotions

This life is a wild unpredictable ride in which at some point we experience negative situations and sometimes yes even people. These sticky instances tend to fill us with fear, anxiety, may even get us riled up and ready to give someone a piece of our mind- and while it’s not possible to avoid these feelings- it is possible to deal with them in a healthy sustainable manner.

Most people numb toxic emotions by treating it with either psycho active substance (hello alcohol!) or self-consoling behaviours such as comfort eating, smoking or even pure ignorance. While avoiding these feelings may seem like the cleanest option- bottled feelings have a way of creeping out.

Try journaling, talk therapy or even exercise to deal with frustrating feelings.

Stress

A lot like toxic emotions none of us can go through life without incurring stress along the way. While stress is a natural response to inevitable life events- here are a few tips to help you fight that fatigue:

  1. Avoid too much caffeine- while you’re stressed reaching for a cuppa coffee may seem like a really refreshing thought too much caffeine can unnecessarily stimulate your already over stimulated fight or flight glands.
  2. Try a relaxing floral or herbal tea- also known as tisanes- these help you calm your nerves while also boosting your anti-inflammatory response.

Perfect health is never possible- but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying! Take care of the little things and trust me- they’ll add up to big results.

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