I had the privilege to attend a charity function on Saturday evening for Second Hope. This is a new charity which focuses on research into living with secondary breast cancer. The hope is that one day being diagnosed with advanced breast cancer (when breast cancer spreads to another part of the body) won’t mean a death sentence. With research it is hoped that this will become a chronic condition that you can live with – much in the same way that research into HIV has lengthened lives there.
This post isn’t going to be a detailed post about the charity but I would love for you to visit their website to learn a bit more about it. The people involved with running the charity are all volunteers and 100% of the funds go into research. Please take a moment to check them out.
It got me thinking about the various horrible illnesses and diseases that people are confronted with every day. Quite often medical science isn’t able to provide a cure and in many cases the treatments offered actually cause further pain or suffering.
I am sure you will agree that prevention is often better than the cure. I have therefore put together some suggestions for how to manage your health to help you stay healthier for longer – mentally, emotionally and physically!
1. Eat well
It makes sense that if you put good, nutritious food into your body then it will work better. If you put junk in then you will not do so well. There are lots of websites and articles out there which will tell you what to eat, what to avoid and how to eat well. It can all be very confusing as there is a lot of conflicting advice.
I am going to keep it really simple – eat cleanly. If you have to read a food label and can’t pronounce half the words on it then that is not clean food. Fresh fruit, vegetables, sprouted seeds, fermented foods, whole foods, oily fish, healthy fats …. the list is endless. Try and eat foods in as close to their natural state as possible, reduce your intake of sugary, fatty foods and take time to eat.
Don’t eat on the run. Notice what you are putting into your body. Would you put dirty fuel in your car? Then don’t put dirty fuel in your body.
Nobody is asking you to join the gym – unless you want to! Personally I can think of nothing worse! You can bring exercise into your daily life in many ways. Get off the bus a stop early, park further away from the shops than normal and walk a bit further, go walking with a friend, go for a swim, take the stairs rather than the lift or dance round your house with the hoover when you are cleaning!
Exercise is good for you and once you find something you like to do then it is even easier to stick to. You can also do more gentle forms of exercise like pilates and yoga. Exercise in any form is really beneficial for your mental health too. It releases happy hormones and makes you feel good.
3. Meditate & Be Mindful
Take time each day to simply “be”. You are a human being, not a human doing. Make time each day to notice your breath and to really take in your surroundings. Become more mindful and stop running on auto-pilot.
You don’t have to sit cross-legged in an uncomfortable position to meditate. All you need to do is become aware of your breath and notice what is going on in your body and mind.
Research has shown that meditation lowers blood pressure and reduces stress. Stress is one of the major factors in ill-health so it makes sense to do what you can to manage it.
You can meditate in lots of different ways – check out my previous post on 10 ways to fit meditation into your life.
4. Have fun & laugh
What do you like to do? What makes you laugh out loud? What can you get happily lost in for hours and really enjoy? We get so busy running about pleasing everyone else, working hard and generally making a life that we forget to actually live! Remind yourself of what your inner child would like to do then do it!
Go to a laughter yoga class – check out the wonderful Nuala McKeever here. Have fun with your friends. Watch a funny movie. Do something that makes your heart sing and watch your health blossom as you do. Laughter really is the best medicine there is!
5. Stay hydrated
Make sure you are drinking plenty of clean water each day. Your body’s cells need adequate water in order to function and healthy cells mean healthy body. You should aim to drink 6-8 glasses per day – make this up with filtered water or mineral water and herbal or fruit teas. It is easier than you think once you start! Challenge yourself and see if you can do it for 30 days – I promise you will notice a difference.
Your skin will be clearer and you will have a youthful glow about you. Your joints will be less painful and you will probably find that you even lose a bit of weight too as excess fluid drains away!
6. Relax & Unwind
Make time to relax. Stress is a killer and it is important to take time out of your busy schedule to relax. Exercise as per the point above can certainly help, as can meditation but you may find that it is beneficial to receive a relaxation therapy as well. Why not try Reiki or reflexology? Or book yourself in once a month as a treat for a massage or beauty treatment.
You are important so make time to relax and unwind. Pamper yourself – take a long bath, read a book, put your feet up – take time for you.
7. Bring plants into your home
Research has shown that indoor plants can help cleanse the air in your home and keep it free from pollutants and toxins. Plants can help you sleep better and also the greenery helps to reduce stress levels. Plants also give you a focus – something else for you to care for and look after. Even if you are like me and not particularly green-fingered you can still manage to look after a house plant – try spider plants or aloe vera – easy to care for and really useful to have around. The number of times my aloe vera has rescued my skin from a burn!
8. Notice your environment – is it toxic?
Some environments are more toxic than others. You may find that your workplace is perhaps a harsh environment that drains your energy. If this is the case then carry crystals in your pocket to help protect your energy field and cleanse the environment. I worked in IT for many years and found that the electro-magnetic smog deeply affected me in the office. Carrying quartz, black tourmaline and other crystals really helped me to keep my energy levels up.
You should also notice your home environment too – mesothelioma is a rare but dangerous cancer caused by asbestos. If you are carrying out any work in your home it is worth being aware of the dangers of asbestos. Modern buildings are less likely to be affected due to changes in building regulations but older buildings may still have asbestos in them. Consult a qualified inspector if you are at all worried.
9. Get outside
It is really important to get outdoors as much as possible. Our bodies need Vitamin D which we get from being in sunlight. Try and spend at least 15 minutes outside each day. Sunscreen is important obviously to prevent skin cancers but if your skin permits it please try and spend 10-15 minutes without it to allow your body to generate much needed Vitamin D.
Vitamin D aside, being outside is good for your soul. Being in nature soothes the mind and spirit. Forests have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Trees have a slow energy that is very grounding and stabilising. Try and find time to get out into nature and appreciate the beauty all around you.
10. Remember the balance – mind, body and spirit
Being healthy is so much more than just keeping your body happy. Health is a balance of healthy body, healthy mind and healthy spirit. The tips in this article are really simple but really effective, they will help you balance the three sides of the triangle. Do things that nourish your soul, remove negativity and negative people from your life. Avoid gossip. Smile more, laugh more and help more. Be kind to yourself and to others. Worry less and relax more.
Life is for living and enjoying. If you would like any help with any of the issues raised in this article please contact me or visit my website for more details of the services I offer.
I would love to hear from you – what do you do to help prevent illness? What health tips would you like to share? Please leave a comment below and if this post was helpful for you then please feel free to share!