In the current day and age, we live in an excessively fast-paced world. Often we find ourselves rushing from one thing to the next, at a million miles an hour, but this can have an adverse impact on our health. A crazy “non-stop” lifestyle is a recipe for stress, which may have all kinds of overflow implications, such as hormonal imbalances, weight gain, digestive problems, premature ageing and more. This is why it’s so important to take time to pause and slow down both physically and mentally. For the time-poor, this may sound counterintuitive, however studies suggest that those who adopt healthy lifestyle practices to reduce stress are more productive when they are “on the go” with work.
Meditating has been used in a variety of cultures for centuries, but we arguable need it more than ever in the whirlwind world of 2017. As such, it has seen a resurgence in popularity among wellness devotees. Oprah knows! Regular meditation has been shown to improve mental health, even helping with depression. And it doesn’t take a lot of time to get the benefits. Regularly meditating for 15-20 minutes a day when you wake up is a great start.
Tip: if you are new to meditating, it may be helpful to follow a guided meditation audio to help you learn to still your mind. You can find many of these online or as podcasts. Some great apps to get to help your zen are Headspace, The Mindfulness App and Calm.
Take a Lunch Break
Unfortunately it’s become commonplace for people to eat their lunch on the go – whether it be at the desk while working on the computer or in the car on your way to an appointment. Stopping to take 20-30 minutes to sit down with your food and focus on that allows for mental pause from the daily grind. Enjoy and savour your mouthfuls and – most importantly – chew properly (15 -20 times per bite). Eating without proper thought, or while you are stressed, can lead to indigestion and poorer absorption of nutrients, so log off, switch off and enjoy your lunch break. Research suggests that you’ll have an increased productivity level afterwards too!
Practise Deep Breathing
If you find yourself getting caught up in the rush of life or a particular task, causing stress, stop for a moment and simply focus on the breath. Take long, deep, full-belly inhales and exhales, while counting in your head. It may be helpful to place one hand on your stomach to feel it rising and falling as you breath in and out. This simple method calms you immediately by oxygenating the body and slowing down your parasympathetic nervous system.
Prepare Your Own Food
With a fast-paced life, fast food often enters the mix too – loaded with preservatives, sodium, trans fats and often void of nutritional benefit. Preparing your own meals offers two-fold health rewards: you can create your own healthy meals, knowing exactly what ingredients are going into it, and cooking can function as an active form of meditation as you go into the zone of the aromas, process and creation of something delicious and nourishing. If you don’t have time to do this during the week, you can schedule in some food preparation and cooking time on the weekends and make enough to enjoy during the work week. Bonus: it will probably save you money too!