If you listed out everything you “had” to do each day,
what would your responsibilities consist of?
Feeding the kids and getting them off to school?
Going to work and being productive?
Walking the dog and hopefully getting in an evening run?
And what about all those household chores?
The question I pose to you is this…what is on your list that takes care of your brain?
Considering the rise in neurological disorders such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, it may be one – if the not the most – important organ we should nurture everyday.
More and more research is connecting brain health with the entire wellbeing of the body and its systems, which means that how we take care of our brains can affect how healthy we are overall.
But with busy schedules and oodles of responsibilities, we can easily lose sight of how to purposefully live each day with this in mind.
Let’s be honest…it’s easy to read about what we should do, but it can be hard to implement it.
That’s why I am providing a simple guide to daily living for brain and cognitive health (and in return, overall physical health and wellbeing). Take these recommendations (knowing you can adapt as needed to your schedule) as inspiration to enhance your everyday lifestyle and reap the health benefits along the way.
Intermittent fasting (fasting for at least 16 hours and eating within the remaining 8) is showing positive affects on the brain. Deprivation of food encourages the body to use what it does get more efficiently – leading to more stimulation and protection in the brain. If possible, start your day by fasting until your 16 hours is up.
Whether you choose to fast or not, hydration is key after waking up. Drink at least 16 ounces of clean, purified water when you rise.
Continue your morning routine with movement that you enjoy. Maybe this is a morning run around the neighborhood, yoga on your back porch, or a water aerobics class at the gym – participate in an exercise activity that you have interest in.
Movement paired with fasting can have compounded beneficial effects on the brain, intensifying neuroplasticity to create new pathways. Just remember to replenish your body with water after movement until you eat.
Nourish your brain and body with a nutrient-dense lunch based on the Mediterranean diet.
This way of eating is primarily plant based with whole grains, healthy fats and oils, and plenty of Omega-3 rich fish (although additional meats and proteins can be added in).
Not only is this good for your brain, but you also may be rewarded with lower blood pressure and cholesterol, proper weight management, and balanced energy.
Click here for information on the Mediterranean diet pyramid.
Aim for at least one breathing exercise, meditation, or mindfulness break each day. This can be taking 5-10 deep breaths at a certain time, following a meditation app for a few minutes, or putting everything down and walking around outside to enjoy nature for a moment.
Consider what helps clear your mind to reset and ground yourself.
In addition to a conscious break, take part in one self-care activity where you can explore and pursue your interests when you can.
The more we use our brains for intellectual stimulation, the more it will function properly for us. This includes doing something that serves not only our physical health but also our souls.
If you haven’t had quality social connection throughout your day, evening can provide you this opportunity. Stop and have a long hug or slow kiss with your spouse when arriving home, read together as a family after dinner, spend time with each of your children individually, or even snuggle with a pet.
After another healthy Mediterranean-inspired meal, take time to wind down from the day. Have conversation in the living room with your spouse, put together a puzzle with your kids, or journal about your day. Take time to reflect.
In addition, make sure to implement a healthy sleep routine. Turn off electronics, take an epsom salt bath, listen to soothing music, read, or incorporate any healthy habits that work for you.
With all that we have going on daily, adding one more thing to our list can seem overwhelming. This is why any changes or additions to our day should be simple, enhancing our physical and mental wellbeing in an easy way.
If you live in the Boulder or Denver-metro area and would like to implement a holistic lifestyle for your brain and overall health, please call me at (720) 340-0193 or send me a message here for us to connect.
Whether it’s sleep issues, digestion upset, hormone imbalance, pain, or stress management, I am here to help you discover the root cause of your health challenge and/or provide healthy naturopathic guidance in order to live your best life.