How has life been the past few months since staying at home more?
Have you indulged a bit with sugary, carb-loaded, salty foods and alcohol?
Has there been less exercising?
How about a more loose sleep schedule?
If any of these are true, don’t feel guilty! Life has been altered from the pandemic and the stress and restraint may have led to less-than-ideal choices.
However, summer is here and it’s a new season to shed the poor habits that have sprouted during quarantine and embrace the responsible and healthy choices you once knew.
While we still don’t know everything about COVID-19, we do know that it is not straight-forward. There may be lingering effects that we are not fully aware of at this time; even though some infections may be or have been asymptomatic, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can get away without any health consequences.
In addition, stress, low-movement, altered diet, and improper sleep can all have damaging fallouts. Regardless of whether you have been ill, have just been dealing with the change in life as we knew it, or have been reeling from the trauma of recent events, it may be time for taking real stock in how we recover and treat the physiological and psychological effects of this unique period.
And…you can start right now.
1. Detox Your System and Support Your Liver.
If you’ve been baking a bit more, ingesting extra comfort carbs, or just enjoying takeout often because you haven’t felt like cooking, it’s now time to support your liver in processing the overload.
Consider simple ways to detoxify and support your liver by:
– getting the right regular, moderate exercise to increase blood and lymph flow. Aim for at least 10 minutes of elevated heart rate activity each day to get started. Be mindful that you don’t have to pursue excess or hardcore exercise (unless your fitness goals include it) and you shouldn’t need a lot of recovery from movement right now.
If taking a nap or recovering over days is necessary, it may be time to gently adjust your workouts to walking or hiking so you don’t deprive yourself of energy. Your exercise should improve your mood, energy, sleep, and digestion – not work against them right now!
– having regular bowel movements. The body needs to remove excess toxins and hormones, and bowel movements are where it’s at. Pay attention to when your body needs to go to the bathroom (we can easily ignore it due to busy schedules) and take a break to go.
Drink a full glass of water and stretch (just like your pet!) as soon as you wake up to stretch the stomach and encourage movement.
And opt for magnesium to support healthy elimination as well (the body uses up magnesium quickly when stressed and many people are deficient in this mineral to begin with). I like Natural Vitality®’s Natural Calm magnesium powder supplement. Start low, following the directions each night before bed and gradually increase as needed.
– hydrating! Flush out the bad stuff by drinking the good stuff (water, that is)! Try for your body weight in ounces.
2. Nourish Your Body with Fruits and Vegetables.
If you haven’t been eating well lately, this is the perfect time of year to change that. Summer provides abundantly with fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season and readily available.
If you or your family don’t know where to start, are a bit intimated, or just simply don’t like much fresh produce, optimize your diet by:
– starting with salads. Buy a large box of pre-rinsed spring garden mix and add a protein such as chicken, egg, or beans as well as carrots, peppers, cucumbers, etc. with a favorite dressing for an easy lunch!
– adding dips! Whether it’s ranch salad dressing, hummus, guacamole, or another favorite dip, serving cut-up vegetables (either purchased that way or chopped up by you), can add great fiber, anti-oxidants, and plenty of vitamins and minerals to everyone’s diet.
– steaming. Steaming fresh or frozen vegetables is an easy way to cook these valuable foods. I especially love broccoli – it’s easy to find and simple to cook!
– making smoothies. These fun drinks are a great way to include greens and fruits in a diet. Freeze ripe bananas for a starter and then add other fruit (frozen or fresh) such as dragonfruit, berries, peaches, mango, pineapple, etc. with a handful of greens and a spoonful of flaxseed before blending with yogurt or your favorite non-dairy alternative.
– having clean, fresh produce ready to eat. Rinse and place fresh berries, cherries, cut-up apples, peaches or pears on a plate for kids and adults to quickly grab and devour as the urge to snack overcomes!
3. Recover and Restore with Proper Sleep.
If work and school schedules have changed recently, your sleep schedule may have changed, too. Staying up later or waking up in the middle of the night thinking about things can make any of us tired and it’s important to get back to what works for us.
Sure, it’s summer and that can mean a more relaxed sleep schedule, however, think about what you need to thrive. Is it 9 hours of sleep? Is it going to bed at a certain time? How about waking up refreshed?
Developing habits that work specifically for you and your family is what’s crucial right now for your bodies to restore themselves from stress and toxins and to increase your immunity.
To do this, try:
– researching the general amount of sleep needed for optimal health based on your or your child’s age here (tip: young people may not think they need a certain amount of sleep to feel good, but many times, they aren’t good judges of this)
– sticking to a routine. What works for your family to relax and get ready for sleep? Is it reading together quietly? Rubbing your kids’ backs? Journaling or meditating? Your routine doesn’t have to be rigid, but should generally work on most nights.
The best part of following these 3 must-dos? They all work together!
Supporting the liver, eating well, and getting proper sleep are all connected and working on one aspect can help another. Don’t underestimate the power of this healthy interdependence!
If you live in the Boulder or metro Denver area and would like additional support for detoxification, digestion and bowel movements, and/or sleep, I am here to help you. Please call me at (720) 340-0193 or send me a message so we can talk further about finding your optimal health.
Transitioning from the past few months of shock and trauma into a more normal and mindful life may be challenging. But step by step, you can. Let’s start now.