By Emily Countryman
Has the word “busy” replaced the word “fine” as your automatic response when asked by someone how you are doing?
The world is moving faster, and we have more expectations and demands on our time. The new normal is that both parents work; the kids have dance class, football, piano lessons, you name it… Fast food and delivery pizza have become our go-to dinners and a full night’s sleep is a dream.
Being at your maximum speed all day every day takes a toll on your body. You may not know it, but your body probably isn’t functioning optimally if you are stressed.
Some secret signs of stress are headaches, pre-mature hair graying, heart palpitations, profuse sweating and anxiety. Life is busy, but that doesn’t mean your health has to suffer.
Luckily some minor changes can lessen the effects on our bodies and minds. Here are six simple tips to help you get and stay healthy:
•Eat Slower: If you can’t slow down your life, slow down your meals. Take the time to chew your food and consciously eat and enjoy your meal. Take smaller bites. You will benefit with better digestions and less calorie consumption as well.
•Meal Prep: This is easier said than done but if you aren’t doing it yet you must. Set small goals by meal prepping two dinners this week. Not only will you save time with dinner preparation but you will save time and money at the grocery store as well.
•Say No: If overtime isn’t required at your job, say no. If you have made cupcakes for the last 10 school events, this time say no. If you are a people pleaser this will take practice. Start small by saying no to simple tasks. All those 10-minute tasks you say no to will add up so that you can slow down.
•Ditch the Drive-Thru: There are so many quick and healthy items you can get in a pinch. Rather than grabbing the family burgers and fries go to the grocery store and get a pre-cut bag of veggies, a bagged salad and a rotisserie chicken. For a quick snack many stores have ready-to-eat veggies, salads and even peeled hard-boiled eggs.
•De-Stress: Put on relaxing music, close your eyes and visualize something calming for five minutes. If you have more time, take it. Go on a brisk walk for 10 minutes. This is the perfect time of year to enjoy the outdoors. If all else fails watch a funny cat video on YouTube; you’ll notice your stress levels come down almost instantly.
•Brain Dump: If you aren’t able to make any of these changes right away you must get into a habit of de-stressing each day. If your mind is going a mile a minute spend a few minutes every evening jotting down the items you need to accomplish the next day. Get it out of your brain and relax. No time is no excuse. Get healthy, be healthy, stay healthy.
Emily Countryman is a board certified health coach and owner of Ideal Wellness in Marysville. Her health and wellness column runs monthly.