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A longer version of this post (with 5 ways to relax) first appeared here at Attorney@Work.

relaxation sitting reflection statue

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Relax: re·lax (rəˈlaks/) v. make or become less tense or anxious.”Being tense and anxious can make you worried, uneasy, irritable, exhausted and even susceptible to illness, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, gastrointestinal ailments and depression. And, as we all know, life is stressful and can make you unhappy.

So, We Must Learn to Relax

Clearly, relaxation is good for you. The benefits of lessening tension and anxiety are enormous. It makes you think more clearly, work more efficiently, handle stress better, and live as a nicer, happier and healthier person. Of course, a two-week vacation with no responsibilities and no calls from the office or home would be great. But be serious, that in itself would be stressful. What would be happening back at home and the office?!? A better idea is finding ways to relax, to rejuvenate both mind and body, with small amounts of time.

Meditation and yoga are two ways to take a “mini-vacation” with minimal time. Meditation and yoga allow you to control your mind and your thoughts, especially when you can’t control the other things happening in life. It helps relax your mind and body by focusing your thoughts on your breath during the practice and lowering the levels of the stress hormone Cortisol.

Ideally, you’d practice meditation and yoga every morning. Meditation can be easy to incorporate into your daily routine if you begin with breathing meditations, where you sit quietly and focus on your breath. Start with as little as two or three minutes a day. Or, if your mind tends to wander, try guided meditations where you are “talked” through the meditation so you can focus only on what the speaker is saying. Daily yoga may be more difficult to incorporate, so make it a weekly goal. If you can’t make it to a class, use an app such as Pocket Yoga. And if you only have five or 10 minutes, do a short series of sun salutations with focused breathing. You can search YouTube to learn sun salutations.

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*Portions of this post first appeared here at Attorney@Work.

bed bedroom blanket blur

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

I’ve said it before, sleep is the foundation of health. According to Russell Foster, a circadian neuroscientist at Oxford University, the quantity of your time asleep affects the quality of your time awake. Over a third of our life should be spent sleeping. This can feel like a waste of time, but it’s not! Sleep-deprived people cannot function at their highest ability. Sleep deprivation decreases your ability to remember and process information. A good night’s sleep can give us up to a three-fold advantage in complex problem-solving. Also, cutting sleep short by even an hour or two reduces the effectiveness of your immune system by about 25 percent, leading to more illness and disease. And did you know that lack of sleep increases the release of a hunger hormone that causes cravings for carbohydrates and sugars, making it much more difficult to maintain a healthy weight? Don’t neglect this vital part of your fitness.

For the longest time, I thought something was wrong with me because I always felt so tired during the day. Then I started using my Fitbit to track my sleep. I realized that even when I was in bed for eight hours, I wasn’t getting a full eight hours of sleep. When I first started tracking my sleep, I was getting about six hours each night, on average. Now that I’m tracking it regularly, I make a conscious effort to avoid shortchanging myself on sleep too many nights in a row. I don’t always achieve my eight-hour goal, but when I feel exhausted at the end of the week, I can see how much sleep I didn’t get. And I can try to do better the following week.

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One way to Be Great is to Be Healthy. Many of the issues that affect our health are actually a result of chronic inflammation. One tasty way to reduce inflammation is with green tea. Now that is it spring, I made Green Sun Tea on my deck. I added turmeric, which is an Asian spice in the ginger family with a great bright yellow color. Turmeric contains curcumin, which reduces the production of a protein that makes your immune system work overtime, thus causing inflammation. I also added ginger because I love ginger. It’s also good for your digestive system, so why not!

2018-05-03 15.06.36Take 3 cups water, 4 green tea bags, one turmeric/ginger herbal tea blend bag, and a few pieces candied ginger. Put all in a  large mason jar (or a washed glass peanut butter jar, which is what I used). Put out in the sun for several hours. Remove the ginger. Pour all into a pitcher, add 3 cups cold water, and chill. Delish!

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pexels-photo-433495.jpegI wrote previously about my May goals: essentially Being Great, which to me means being healthy, being present, participating in my community, nurturing my relationships, and contributing to others. As I think about how to Be Great, I discussed five personality and life traits that enable us to Be Great: being Compassionate, Listening, being Assertive, being Creative, and Persevering.

These are BIG ideas and they bring to mind BIG changes and whole movements of groups of people. But don’t forget to think small too. We can make a BIG difference by doing small things consistently. 

Decide how you want to Be Great, what you want to do to Be Great, then do something small everyday. And you will make a BIG difference!

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runner-race-competition-female.jpgIt’s May. Springtime is finally here. This month, while I’ll continue my Earth Day projects, I’m focusing on Being Great. To me, that means being healthy, being present, participating in my community, nurturing my relationships, and contributing to others.

On Being Healthy: I started my health goals earlier this year in February, and took them up a notch last month by joining a small running (actually, jogging) club. We have a coach who sets individual schedules for us, and we check in each day via Messenger regarding our times and how we feel. What this has taught me is the importance of an accountability partner.

I don’t like running/jogging. But I’ve improved and jogged a 5k on Earth Day with my club members. I’ve run in the rain. I’ve run in the snow. I’ve run when I didn’t want and didn’t have time. Because I knew my accountability partners were doing it, so I couldn’t just shirk my duties.

Most people will let themselves down, but letting others down is less likely to happen. I’ll discuss my other health goals in later posts, and how you can achieve your goals too, but, as you think about your goals, also consider who would be a great accountability partner for you. It makes a world of difference if you have a friend on the journey with you.

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I am teaching a class at New Milford Adult Education in March. Come join me!
TEN PRINCIPLES OF A HEALTHY DIET
Resolve to be healthy in the New Year! Good nutrition is vital to a healthy life. With so much conflicting information, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Taught by a Certified Health Coach, this program simplifies eating healthfully. It is ideal for anyone who is tired of dieting and wants to establish a new and healthier relationship with food. Keep your New Year’s resolutions by learning how to feel better, have more energy, and even save money by getting and staying healthy in 2013.
5 Mondays: 3/4, 3/11, 3/18, 3/25, 4/1 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. (4/1 class 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.) $90
Find more info and register here.

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I thought this article was helpful and contained some great tips on nutrition to help ward off cold & flu this season. It’s at Scholastic magazine and lists superfoods, including (my favorite) sweet potato, salmon, broccoli, milk, oatmeal, and more.

sweet potato

Photo by Mark Lund at http://www.Scholastic.com

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