There are so many ways to connect yourself to health – and they don’t necessarily involve spending too much time or money. My morning ritual of meditation and focusing on gratitude helps set me on the right course for the day, while I find more physical actions like dry body brushing and cryotherapy are essential to feeling vital and energised.
1. Nutrient density
I cannot stress enough how important nutrient dense foods are to building a strong foundation for a healthy life. Invest in yourself and eat the best quality foods that you are able to, aiming for:
- Whole natural foods: Fresh organic vegetables and fruit
- Good quality animal protein: Organic meat, poultry, egg and dairy products that come from animals that are pasture-raised, roam freely and receive no growth hormones or antibiotics.
- Healthy fats: Raw nuts and seeds, avos, extra virgin, cold-pressed olive and avocado oil and fatty wild-caught fish (not farmed)
- Avoid processed foods
- Avoid sugar
- Avoid all GMO
Intermittent fasting: It’s not only about what you eat – but when you eat. There are multiple health benefits to intermittent fasting, and not snacking – read more in my blog post Autophagy: Cellular Renewal.
Exercise is good for your body – and it’s so good for your mind and soul too. Think of it as a way to boost your health, and not as a means to weight loss.
Women especially need weight bearing exercise to encourage bone density and prevent osteoporosis in our later years. Whether its Pilates, a walk or a yoga session, you’ll never regret getting your body moving.
NEAT or ‘Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis’ includes the physical movement in our lives that isn’t planned exercise or sports (or sleeping, breathing, and eating). Research shows incorporating NEAT movements into your day can be an effective way of burning fat – it could be something as simple as short bursts of pushups, squats, lunges jumping jacks throughout the day. Or even playing with the family, or standing at your desk.
3. Restorative sleep
It’s one of the most prolific crises of our times – we’re just not getting enough sleep and it’s what we need to reset our minds, to reduce stress and to allow for cellular renewal. You need consistent doses of deep sleep in your cycle as well as REM time which encourages brain activity and a sense of vitality. Good sleep hygiene costs nothing – no food 3 – 4 hours before bed, no screens an hour before bed and calming meditations are all investments in restorative sleep and a sense of vitality.
Did you know that up to 70% of South African women are Vitamin D deficient? While its known to cause issues with bone density, low levels are also linked to fatigue, hair loss, depression and pain.
The sun is one of the best sources of vitamin D:
- Try and be naked (or most of your body exposed) for 20 min a day without sunblock and sunglasses
- Best times are 10:30am-11:30am or 3-5pm.
Want to connect with your inner child and rediscover a sense of health and self? I love grounding – walking in nature barefoot, be it outside in your garden or on the beach and really keying into the earth’s natural energy fields, makes me feel alive and connected. Grounding is said to decrease inflammation and help with sleep and I certainly feel it.
6. Meditation & gratitude
It’s so easy to get caught up with the daily grind and all the admin that comes with life in the 21st century, but I try to start and end my day with a few moments of reflection and mindfulness. I find it really helps to keep life and its challenges in perspective, especially in trying times. It may be a full 15-minute meditation or just some quiet time thinking about and writing down what I’m grateful for in my life. Each day is different but I always find a way to connect with my higher self.
7. Dry body brushing
Dry body brushing has been around for thousands of years – it stimulates healthy lymph flow, exfoliates the skin and is a natural energy boost.
I usually do a bit of trampoline jumping on my Rebounder first, and then I rub fractionated coconut oil mixed with doTerra’s Smart & Sassy essential oil (a citrus blend) on my body and brush – always upwards. After that, I jump into a freezing cold shower…
You may have seen athletes immersing themselves in ice baths after races or matches – that’s because research shows that cryotherapy (cold therapy) can help reduce inflammation and pain.
Other benefits include an enhanced immune system, increased cell longevity and decreased levels of inflammatory molecules such interleukin-6.
And it’s also thought to help with migraines, increase brain vitality and help with skin conditions.
You can practise your own cryotherapy at home by having daily cold showers (3-5 minutes) – or head for your nearest chilly ocean – it’s a great way to kickstart your day.
I truly believe there is nothing more valuable than having a tribe of friends and family who know you and love you, and who you love and support in return.
Be kind and more present with your loved ones – make time to connect with them. Check in with those you know are struggling and make an effort to stay connected.
Ask yourself daily how you can be of service to others.
Investing in others around you is a priceless exercise in happiness.