I’m a firm believer that optimal health and performance is equal parts nourishment, self care, quality sleep, and intuitive movement. I consider these the pillars of health that need to be addressed with equal care to ensure you’re living your best life.
Lets spring clean your health and habits by conducting an audit of each of the pillars of health. Read through the gold standards in each category and assign yourself a letter grade A-F.
• Adequate fuel, avoid under eating or over eating • Consistent eating patterns (day to day and/or throughout day, small frequent meals) • Avoid skipping meals or snacks • Balanced food choices, pair carbs with protein and/or fat to stabilize blood sugar • Low stress over food choices, healthy relationship with food • Follow intuitive eating: honor hunger, respect fullness, choose satisfying foods • Schedule time for meal planning, shopping, and cooking • Create a mindful environment for meals/snacks (minimize distractions and multi tasking, do not see eating as a ‘transaction’) • Include variety to food choices, avoid being a “creature of habit” • Prioritize proper hydration, avoid excess caffeine or alcohol • Identify + correct micronutrient deficiencies; avoid inappropriate supplement use
Self Care • Identify + manage stressors • Rate stress low or moderate on a 1-5 scale • Avoid or re-frame negative self talk, address problematic thinking • Explore and prioritize self care • Spend time doing things that bring you joy • Set healthy boundaries where necessary • Spend time outdoors • Incorporate deep breathing, mindfulness, meditation, journaling
Quality Sleep • Prioritize 7-9 hours of sleep each night • Follow a consistent schedule (same bed time + wake up time) • Disconnect from devices 30-90 minutes before bed • Explore and incorporate a relaxing bedtime routine: hot Epsom salt bath, sleepy time or chamomile tea • Set the stage with a comforting environment: dim the lights close to bedtime, diffuse essential oils, room darkening curtains, white noise or sound machine • Avoid caffeine and/or alcohol late in the day • Have a satisfying bedtime snack with carb + protein/fat to stabilize blood sugar
Intuitive Movement • Explore and incorporate exercise that brings you joy • Set goals and schedule workouts on the calendar calendar, do not follow too rigidly that it discredits intuition (rest when you need it) • Do not force yourself to workout in a way you don’t enjoy • Strive for 10,000 steps a day • Take microbreaks from your work/day to take a walk or go outside • Fuel workouts and recovery
Well, how did you do? Look at the top 1 or 2 categories where you score the worst and think about small steps you can take to improve your grade. Need some help? I’m happy to assist. Don’t forget to take the opportunity to pat yourself on the back for the categories you are doing well in. Celebrate the small wins!
PS – Spring cleaning your house can actually be a great form of self care, there has even been research linking a cluttered home to higher levels of cortisol! Marie Kondo is on to something.