The Connection Between Gratitude and Health

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

November is National Gratitude Month. It’s a fitting time to practice gratitude, every day, and embrace the power it brings into our lives.

Gratitude is more than saying “thank you”, although that’s a start. Showing appreciation for what we have, even the small things, is a wonderful way of expressing gratitude. And it’s a response to kindness, help and generosity from others.

Expressing gratitude became a life changing experience for me, a little more than a decade ago. In the swirling chaos that surrounded my life at that time, including the death of my father and the suicide of a friend, I found my way through by starting a gratitude journal. That daily practice was the beginning of a new way of life for me.

It turns out gratitude improves health and wellness also.

Check out the connection between gratitude and health in this post.

The Connection Between Gratitude and Health title meme

The Health Connection

Research shows that gratitude dramatically improves overall health and wellness levels. That makes practicing gratitude a habit worth cultivating…and not just during November.

Below are ways that gratitude transforms us.

Gratitude Relieves Pain

How we think influences how we feel. And studies show that people who regularly express gratefulness…and truly feel it…experience fewer aches and pains.

This study found that the simple practice of listing three gratitudes at the end of each day resulted in fewer headaches and less stomach pain.

Grateful people also tend to take better care of themselves. They move their bodies more, eat better quality foods and practice self care. All of these contribute to less pain and greater feelings of wellness.

Gratitude Improves Cardiovascular Health

People who feel grateful and express that gratitude experience lower blood pressure and less chronic inflammation, a condition that damages the lining of blood vessels. That damage raises the risk of heart disease.

Keeping a daily gratitude journal not only lowers inflammation levels in patients with asymptomatic heart failure, it also improves heart rhythm.

The Connection Between Gratitude and Health cardiovascular health
The Connection Between Gratitude and Health – less pain and greater cardiovascular health

Gratitude Promotes Better Sleep

We all know how important sleep is to health. Studies discovered that those who made nightly lists of their gratitudes slept better and awoke feeling more refreshed, than those who didn’t. Focusing on the things we are grateful for at night increases a feeling of calmness that helps us fall asleep.

One of my favorite ways to drift off into sleep is to express gratitude by listing them mentally for all the blessings of the day, large and small.

There’s also a correlation between lack of sleep and lack of gratitude! When we don’t get enough rest we feel cranky and crankiness doesn’t tend to support feelings of gratitude.

Gratitude Improves Emotional Health

When in the midst of stress and/or anxiety, pausing to express gratitude shifts our thoughts from the negative to the positive. Feeling grateful snaps us out of detrimental loops of guilt, dread or pessimism and brings us fully back into the present moment.

Additionally, stress contributes to inflammation in the body and chronic illness. Over time, gratitude boosts the immune system, helping to fight off illness.

A gratitude practice, such as journaling or expressing the day’s blessings, also improves depression, helps us release toxic emotions, strengthens relationships and fosters empathy for others. Check out other ways to improve emotional health HERE.

The Connection Between Gratitude and Health stress relief
The Connection Between Gratitude and Health – stress relief

Ways to Practice Gratitude

Creating a gratitude practice is easy and doesn’t take much time. To see the greatest shifts in health and life, express gratefulness daily.

Try any of these gratitude ideas.

  • write daily in a journal, expressing gratitude for the day’s blessings
  • every night at bedtime, speak aloud or mentally list at least three gratitudes from the day
  • create or join a Gratitude Challenge, which are common during November
  • practice self gratitude
  • meditate, focusing on the day’s gratitudes, allowing great joy to fill your heart
  • intentionally look for things to be grateful for…and more will find you
  • take a gratitude walk, in nature, and express thankfulness for what you see
  • create gratitude art…try this fun gratitude pumpkin that I did a few years ago
  • write out favorite gratitude quotes and keep them where you can see them
  • list “I am” gratitudes… such as “I am grateful for a strong body”
  • learn to say “thank you” in American Sign Language and use that gesture throughout the day
  • write five or more thank you notes or texts a day and send them to people you are grateful for
  • practice telling others that you are grateful for them…make eye contact and be sincere

How are you practicing gratitude this month? And have you seen a shift in your life and health because of gratitude? Share with me in the comments below.

The Connection Between Gratitude and Health nature walk
The Connection Between Gratitude and Health – gratitude walk in nature

 

Gratitude Sparkers from Amazon:

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Wellness Tips

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

With Halloween celebrated and Thanksgiving later this month, we are well into the holiday season.

It’s my favorite time of year! The weeks between the beginning of fall and the start of a new year are full of joy, excitement and connection. However, they can also bring stress, unhealthy practices and overwhelm.

Enjoy the best of the season and make healthy choices that support well being, rather than depleting it.

These holiday wellness tips will help!

Holiday Wellness Tips title meme

Holiday Wellness Tips

To maintain the optimal level of health, through the holidays and beyond, into the new year, try these tips.

Practice Healthy Eating Habits

At the end of the holiday season, the number one health regret people have is overindulging. It’s easy to do, with holiday parties, family gatherings, special events and always, an abundance of sweet and savory treats on hand.

Create a strong, healthy eating plan. Write up menus in advance that include extra fruits and veggies. Swap out traditional holiday snacks that are full of sugar and fat for healthier versions. This vegan and gluten free gingerbread is a perfect example.

Make wise food choices during the holidays, saving treats for a few special occasions. And if you do overindulge, forgive yourself, move on with fresh determination and make better choices next time.

Mindful Drinking

This time of year, egg nog, spiked punch and special cocktails liven up the holidays at gatherings of all kinds. Be mindful of the number of alcoholic drinks consumed. They pack calories that can quickly add up. Plus alcohol severely impedes mental abilities, reduces fertility and impairs memory.

Consume adequate amounts of water, especially when drinking alcoholic beverages, as they can cause dehydration. Try hot herbal teas as well during these cold months, to warm up the body and boost health.

Holiday Wellness Tips practice healthy eating
Holiday Wellness Tips – practice healthy eating

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is important for health year around. During the holiday season, it’s especially crucial. Holiday induced anxiety increases when we are short on sleep. Adults need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep for the brain to function properly. Plus enough sleep ensures we have the energy and vitality to enjoy all the events special to this time of year.

As much as possible, maintain regular sleep habits. And if you haven’t already, establish a nighttime routine that prepares the body for sleep.

Prioritize Self Care

While busy shopping, creating wonderful holiday meals and decorating the house, don’t forget to take time for you. It’s not selfish. Self care is necessary to reduce stress and anxiety and restore the body.

Set aside at least half an hour a day, to relax. Do something you love such as listening to music, reading, sipping hot tea or coloring. Take a nap. Sit in the sunshine for a few minutes. Do whatever feels restorative to you.

Holiday Wellness Tips self care
Holiday Wellness Tips – take care of you

Spend Quality Time with Loved Ones

The holidays are made merrier when we spend time with those we love. It can feel overwhelming, however, trying to make enough time for everyone on your friends and family list.

Don’t overburden your time. Think quality over quantity. Create holiday memories with those dearest to you. Call others, send a text or mail a holiday card with a handwritten note.

And be mindful of those who are alone during this season. A thoughtful message, cheerful phone call or meeting for a hot drink means much to those who are isolated or on their own. If you feel lonely during the holidays, consider volunteering, organizing a get together with others who may feel alone or reaching out to others with a message or call.

Stay Active

Colder weather can make getting enough exercise a challenge. During this season try incorporating normal activities into the holidays. Play with the kids who are home for the holiday break. Go for walks through the leaves or snow. Visit Christmas markets, villages or neighborhoods bright with holiday lights. Clean house and decorate to Christmas music.

Resist the temptation to “hibernate” and eat high carb foods.

Holiday Wellness Tips stay active
Holiday Wellness Tips – stay active

Reduce Stress

The holidays can create stress. Family gatherings, gift buying, financial strain and being off regular schedules all contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety.

Set boundaries to protect your time and resources. Avoid family conflicts. Focus on what you can control…your thoughts and your actions. Create a Christmas budget. Don’t overdo on the sugar. And as mentioned above, practice self care and get enough sleep.

Have Realistic Expectations

The holidays can feel disappointing when expectations are too high. Be realistic with goals and intentions. Plan out the holiday you hope to have. Keep it simple this year, for a change. And know that everything won’t go the way you want. That’s okay. Accept or even embrace imperfections.

Start a new family tradition that is meaningful to you. And most of all relax. Accept what is and go with the flow.

Have a Healthy Holiday

I hope these simple tips help you have the best holiday season ever, full of joy, love, family and robust health. How we finish the year…is how we begin the next one.

Which holiday wellness tip will you adopt this season?

Holiay Wellness Tips realistic expectations

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

 

 

 

Keys to Emotional Wellness

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

October is Emotional Wellness Month. Emotional wellness refers to the ability to process our feelings in healthy, positive ways and manage everyday stresses. Because how we handle our emotional well being affects overall health.

Mental and emotional stress creates negative responses in the body such as high blood pressure, headaches, chronic illness and a weakened immune system.

Emotional Wellness Month, celebrated annually in October, serves as a reminder to take care of our emotions. Discover the following keys to emotional wellness, for a healthier state of being.

Keys to Emotional Wellness title meme

Be Who You Are

For emotional well being, it’s crucial to know who you are and live authentically as that person.

Sounds simple, right? However, many of us learn as children to please the adults in our lives…parents, grandparents, teachers…forgetting who we are as we grow older. We can lose that strong sense of self by the time we are adults, becoming habitual people pleasers.

However, we can’t please others at the expense of being who we are, otherwise we live a lie. It’s essential to spend the time doing the inner work required to reconnect with who we really are.

Remember the things you loved as a child. Try different things to see what you enjoy and what feels in alignment with your heart and soul. Journal and free write. See this post from my other blog, Creating a Strong Sense of Self, for more help. And this one, Finding Your Big Why, to learn more about your purpose in life.

Keys to Emotional Wellness be you
Keys to Emotional Wellness – be who you are

Be Aware of Emotions

It’s helpful to check in with how you are feeling, emotionally, every day. How do you relate to your emotions? Do you tend to “stuff” them away? Do they overwhelm you and erupt inappropriately?

Learning to feel and express emotions in healthy ways keeps them from escalating to an out of control level. Some experts recommend a technique called scaling emotions.

How strong are your emotions? Rate them on a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being low and 10 high. The idea is that by practicing awareness with emotions, you can keep them in the 2 – 5 range. Checking in allows us to intentionally bring emotions back into balance.

For example, if anger suddenly escalates to an 8, your awareness allows you to take deep breaths, pause or question feelings to bring the level down.

And it helps to keep an emotional journal to track…and name…feelings. Knowing what you are feeling helps you to talk about them more openly.

Keys to Emotional Wellness emotions
Keys to Emotional Wellness – be aware of emotions

Pay Attention to Physical Health

The two are connected, emotional and physical health. And the state of one affects the other. Increasing your physical health level positively improves emotional health.

Eat highly nutritious foods, including an abundance of fruits and veggies. Drink water. Get enough sleep. Stay active doing things you enjoy such as gardening, dancing, biking, walking or playing with grandkids. Exercise reduces stress hormones while boosting endorphins, the feel good ones.

Limit alcohol and do not smoke.

Learn to manage stress. Slow down and take a break. Practice deep breathing, yoga or meditation. Learn to relax tense muscles.

Keys to Emotional Wellness physical health
Keys to Emotional Wellness – physical health…eat highly nutritious food

Connect With Others

We need positive connections with others. In the last two years, we’ve had to learn different ways to stay connected to others, as we navigate a pandemic. Many experienced…and continue to experience…a sense of isolation and disconnect from others.

  • schedule regular calls, zoom meetings or facetime calls with family and friends
  • text or message friends with recommendations such as podcasts to listen to, videos to watch or books to read
  • stay in touch with friends and family through social media
  • play online games with others
  • watch tv shows with others, while connected via the internet or on the phone
  • walk together outdoors
  • if you feel comfortable, meet with family and friends for lunch dates, museum visits, zoo trips and other fun excursions
  • say hi to people while out and smile
  • consider adopting a pet for companionship
Keys to Emotional Wellness connect
Keys to Emotional Wellness – stay connected to others

Stay Positive

Focus on the good in your life, expressing gratitude for small and large blessings. Collect affirmations to read each day or write your own. Accept the past and let it go, without blaming yourself. Forgive yourself.

Pay attention to what you think about. Actions follow thoughts. Dwelling on negative thoughts leads to negative actions. Shifting thoughts results in a change in actions as well.

Emotional Health

Creating emotional health doesn’t mean you feel happy all the time. It means you are more aware of your emotions and the impact they have on your overall health. When you feel anger, stress or anxiety, you manage those feelings.

Emotional health allows you to cope well with life’s challenges without getting out of balance. You gain fresh perspectives and recover more quickly from setbacks. Emotional wellness helps you feel good about who you are and fosters healthy relationships.

I hope these keys to emotional wellness help you create a state of well being that supports the amazing life you desire to live.

Keys to Emotional Wellness positive thoughts

Helpful books from Amazon:

 


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The purpose of this health campaign is to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into the cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.

In the US, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Although rare, men can get breast cancer too. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women, behind skin cancers.

In the prevention of breast cancer, as with many other kinds of cancer, lifestyle habits and diet have a positive impact. This post offers foods to eat and avoid to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer title meme

Leta Moore

Although I don’t have personal experience with breast cancer, my mother in law, Leta Moore, survived breast cancer twice. I observed the impact the disease had on her. And I am grateful that she triumphed, joining the millions of other breast cancer survivors in the US. This dear woman ultimately passed away from Alzheimer’s in 1999.

Leta’s birthday is in October. So the month brings her to mind along with the brave battles she fought against breast cancer and dementia.

This post is in her honor. She would love knowing the benefits lifestyle can bring in reducing the risk for this disease.

Foods to Eat to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

The following foods and drinks can help reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Foods Rich in Fiber

Foods such as whole grains and legumes provide fiber. Studies suggest that fiber helps to protect against breast cancer.

Excess estrogen can be a factor in the development of breast cancer. Eating enough fiber helps eliminate estrogen, along with other toxins, from the body. Fiber binds to estrogen in the digestive tract, preventing the absorption of too much of the hormone.

Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes provide antioxidants in the form of beta carotene and vitamins C and E.

Antioxidants help prevent many diseases, including breast cancer, by reducing free radicals in the body. Free radicals are unstable atoms that cause damage to cells and can contribute to the development of cancer. Antioxidants track down and neutralize free radicals. Brightly colored fruits and veggies, such as tomatoes, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, berries and citrus fruits are high in antioxidants. Nuts, seeds and beans deliver disease fighting antioxidants as well.

Fruits and Vegetables

A plant based diet can reduce the risk of breast cancer by up to 28%. Fruits and veggies contain flavonoids and carotenoids that interfere with the growth of cancer cells and vitamins and minerals that help protect against the disease as well.

Include the following in your diet as often as possible:

  • onions and garlic
  • dark leafy greens such as spinach, arugula and kale
  • cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower
  • asparagus
  • celery
  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • radishes
  • beans and lentils
  • citrus fruits such as oranges, limes and lemons
  • berries such as strawberries and blueberries
  • grapes
  • peaches
  • apples
  • pears
Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer pear
Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer – eat pears

Healthy Fats

Obesity contributes to the development of cancers, including breast cancer. However consuming healthy fats in moderation is beneficial.

The polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, seeds, nuts and avocados lower the risk for breast cancer. These omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body, which is a contributing factor for breast cancer.

Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices contain plant compounds that help to protect against breast cancer. These compounds include antioxidants, fatty acids and vitamins. Add the following herbs and spices to your daily diet:

  • oregano
  • turmeric with curcumin
  • ginger
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • parsley
  • burdock root
  • chaga mushroom
  • nettle leaf
  • curry

Green Tea

Green tea contains polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant. The body easily absorbs this compound that helps keep inflammation down in the body and fights free radicals. This drink, which may be served hot or cold, strengthens the immune system as well.

Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer green tea
Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer – drink green tea

Foods to Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

Avoid the following foods and drinks, as they increase the risk of cancer, including breast cancer.

Alcohol

Studies identified a link between drinking alcohol and an increased risk for breast cancer. Alcohol can increase estrogen levels in the body and cause damage to cell DNA. Three alcoholic drinks a week increase the risk of breast cancer by 15%. The risk continues to rise by 10%, with each additional drink a day.

Trans Fats

Trans fats are common in processed foods and studies link it with a higher risk of breast cancer. These unhealthy fats are found in fried foods, some crackers, donuts and packaged cookies, pastries and snacks.

Refined Sugar

A diet rich in added refined sugar contributes to the formation of cancerous tumors in the breasts. These tumors are more likely to metastasize as well. Sugar also increases inflammation in the body, another leading cause of cancer, and boosts enzymes connected to the growth and spread of cancer.

Also avoid sugary drinks such as sodas and energy drinks.

Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer sugar
Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer – avoid refined sugar

Red Meat

Studies also found a link between red meat and breast cancer. Red meats include beef, pork, veal and lamb. Plus, cooking meats at a high temperature releases toxins that contribute to cancer.

Processed Foods

Processed foods such as lunch meats, bacon and ham are high in fat, sodium and preservatives. These substances all increase the risk of breast cancer.

Fast Foods

Fast foods, which are often fried and high in fat and sodium, bring an increased risk for breast cancer along with heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Fast food
Avoid fast foods

Keeping Those Breasts Healthy

Eating healthy foods and avoiding those that contribute to disease go a long way toward lowering the risk for breast cancer. Other lifestyle factors that help include drinking plenty of water, getting enough exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, not sitting for long periods of time and avoiding smoking.

Visit the National Breast Cancer Organization HERE for more information and tips to keep you…and your breasts…healthy.

Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbon

Breast Cancer Awareness Items from Amazon:

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

 

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

We can blame all kinds of circumstances on a poor night’s sleep: staying up too late, stress, worry, bed partner snoring. too hot, too cold or electronics. However, there is a common contributor to a restless night that many people overlook: the foods they eat before trying to fall asleep.

What you eat in the evening can directly affect how well you sleep. If trouble falling asleep and staying asleep plagues you, take a look at these best and worst foods to eat before bed.

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed title meme

Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed

Let’s start with the worst foods to eat before retiring for the night.

Some foods are definitely better than others, for inducing and protecting sleep. And some foods provide too much energy or burden the digestive system. The following foods are the worst to eat before bed.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes and other acidic foods can create problems for those with acid reflux. The burning pain and discomfort in the esophagus when lying down keeps sleep at bay.

Enjoy tomatoes earlier in the day and balance their acidic nature with non-acidic foods.

Cheese

Strong or aged cheese, along with other preserved foods, contain high levels of the amino acid tyramine, which makes us feel more alert. Tyramine causes the adrenal glands to release the “fight or flight” hormone that stays in the body for several hours, hampering the ability to quickly fall asleep.

Additionally, cheese has a higher fat content which slows the digestive system and directs blood flow to the stomach. This causes the body to shift energy to digesting food rather than sleeping.

Spicy Foods

Go easy on the curry, hot sauces and chili peppers in the evening. These foods can trigger acid reflux as well, keeping you awake at night. Plus some spicy foods contain capsaicin, a chemical that elevates the body’s core temperature, disrupting sleep and making you feel alert rather than sleepy.

Chocolate

The high level of caffeine in chocolate, especially darker chocolates, not only keeps you wide eyed, it also affect REM sleep. REM, or rapid eye movement, occurs more frequently with caffeine in the body, making you feel groggy the next morning.

Also avoid drinks with caffeine in them before bed, such as coffee, tea and energy drinks.

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed chocolate
Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed – chocolate

Ice Cream

Some people enjoy a bowl of ice cream before bed, or a bowl of cereal. For the best night’s sleep, avoid both.

These foods are high in sugar and too much of the sweet stuff affects your ability to stay asleep. Sugar creates a spike in blood sugar levels. Then the crash occurs, while you sleep. The adrenal glands perceive that crash as an emergency, which cause them to increase cortisol levels and wake the body from sleep.

Plus, if you have a dairy intolerance, ice cream (and cheese) can cause inflammation and bloating, making it even more difficult to get comfortable and fall asleep. (Click HERE for symptoms of dairy intolerance.)

Chips

Potato and other kinds of chips dehydrate the body due to the high salt levels. The body responds by retaining water, causing thirst, which may wake you or create restlessness. The next morning the body feels tired and fatigued.

And researchers found that greasy foods, like chips, contribute to nightmares. Those bad dreams may wake you, heart pounding in fear. With adrenaline pumping through the body, it can take hours to go back to sleep.

High Protein

Foods high in protein make it difficult to fall asleep. Those heavier foods sit in the stomach and make you feel overly full. Plus they require more energy to digest, causing the body to focus on the stomach rather than falling asleep.

Wine

Wine is often consumed for its relaxing effect, however, it can hinder sleep.

While you may fall asleep initially, after a glass or two of wine, it keeps the body from full REM sleep, which is where deep rest and dreams occur. You are also more likely to wake frequently during the night, after drinking wine. And it can lead to snoring as it relaxes muscles. Snoring disturbs your sleep and others’ rest also.

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed wine
Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed – wine

Best Foods to Eat Before Bed

And now for the best foods to eat, to encourage a great night’s sleep.

Cherries

Tart cherries act as a natural sleep aid, thanks to their high melatonin content. Melatonin is a hormone that lets the body know it’s time to sleep. Tart cherry juice works just as well as a cup of fresh cherries.

Kiwi

Besides being rich in antioxidants, carotenoids and vitamins C and E, kiwi contains serotonin. This sleep hormone contributes to healthy REM sleep. Low levels of serotonin may cause insomnia.

Kiwi also provides folate, which helps prevent insomnia as well.

Herbal Teas

Herbal teas do not have the caffeine that keeps the body stimulated and awake. Plus herbal teas such as lemon balm, passionflower and chamomile offer sedative effects that reduce anxiety and soothe the body toward rest.

Walnuts

These healthy nuts not only boost brain and heart health, they promote a good night’s sleep also.

Walnuts are an excellent source of melatonin. Plus they provide ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid that’s converted to DHA in the body. DHA increases serotonin levels, which helps the body relax into sleep.

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed walnuts
Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed – walnuts

Spinach

This power food is a great source of tryptophan, and also rich in folate, magnesium and vitamins B6 and C, all key factors in creating serotonin and melatonin.

Spinach also contains glutamine, an amino acid that stimulates the body to release cellular toxins that can create sleeplessness.

Bananas

High in potassium and magnesium, bananas help muscles relax, which allows the body to fall asleep.

The magnesium in bananas affect quality of sleep as well, by extending the amount of time spent sleeping. Bananas contain tryptophan too, that the body uses to create serotonin and melatonin.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes contain vitamin B6, which boosts melatonin and prepares the body for sleep. Eating a sweet potato in the evening helps you feel relaxed and sleepy.

Peanut Butter

This food is another one that contains tryptophan, which promotes the creation of serotonin and melatonin. Make sure it is low sugar or better yet, sugar free. For a great evening snack, pair peanut butter with sliced bananas or apples.

Bonus food: apples are excellent sources of potassium and vitamin B6, both helpful for promoting sleep. Plus the vitamin C in apples lowers blood pressure, manages blood sugar levels and improves breathing, all of which contribute to a good night’s sleep.

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed peanut butter
Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed – peanut butter

How is Your Sleep?

How are you sleeping? If falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up refreshed are problematic for you, pay attention to what you eat before bed.

Knowing which foods negatively affect sleep…and which ones promote it…allows you to make healthy choices for night time snacking. As a result, you may find yourself falling asleep faster and sleep longer.

Did one of your favorite foods fall into the best or worst food categories? Awareness helps you make a difference!

Good night's sleep

 

Pick up these herbal teas from Amazon:

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

 

Travel With Your Health Practices

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

This is a crossover post, also shared on my other blog, Cindy Goes Beyond. The topic fit both blogs well!

Often when we travel, we do so with a sense of joyful abandonment. No rules, no schedules, no work to slow us down. It’s exhilarating. However,  that freedom from our “regular” life sometimes includes ditching our established health routines too.

I discovered quickly that maintaining my health while traveling is essential to my wellbeing. If I eat poorly, or stop the supplements, I can quickly feel bad. And that’s not the way I want to spend my trip…feeling bad or experiencing pain.

I carry specific health related items with me when I travel. And I only travel with a carry on, so I’ve pared down what I take with me to the most important to keep my health and energy at optimal levels.

Check out how to travel with your health practices, using these tips that can see you through the days of travel.

Travel With Your Health Practices title meme

 

Travel With Your Health Practices

Create your own travel kit, personalized for your health needs.

First though, it’s important to ask yourself these questions:

Am I traveling solo? Who is traveling with me? Are children traveling with me too?

Here is a broad list of possible items to consider for a travel medical kit:

  • pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, tension relief
  • sleep aids, eye mask, melatonin gummies
  • CBD products
  • essential oils
  • herbal supplements, multi-vitamin, Voke Superfoods
  • prescription meds
  • over the counter meds – sinus meds, allergy meds, UTI meds, decongestant, eyedrops, cough drops, cough relief, menstrual cramp relief, salves
  • sunscreen, sunburn relief
  • insect repellent, bug bite ointment, anti-itch ointment
  • bandaids, bandages
  • antibacterial ointments
  • hand sanitizer
  • sanitizing wipes
  • face masks
  • tweezers, small scissors, nail clippers
  • digital thermometer, blood pressure cuff, blood glucose monitor
  • antacids, heartburn relief, diarrhea meds, motion sickness tabs, upset stomach meds
  • rubbing alcohol, Witch Hazel, peroxide
  • cotton balls, cotton swabs
  • soothing lotions – eczema cream, diaper rash lotion, rash relief
Travel With Your Health Practices voke
Travel With Your Health Practices – Voke Superfoods tablets are one of my essentials for international travel

Create a Travel Medical Kit That Meets Your Needs

Of course, you probably don’t need to pack all of the above items. Choose what is most important to maintain your health and the health of everyone traveling with you. Everyone’s needs are different.

I travel light. Currently, I don’t take any prescription meds. A friend of mine, however, travels with two suitcases. One carries her clothing and the other, all of her meds and supplements. That’s what works best for her.

Depending on suitcase space and your health needs, choose the items that are essential. I don’t group my essentials together in a separate bag or container. Instead, I tuck items among my clothes, into shoes and alongside toiletries. Whether I’m traveling through Italy for 12 days or spending a long weekend somewhere, my essential health items go with me.

My Travel Medical Kit

Here are the items that I consider essential for my health and wellbeing. These items accompany me on all trips.

Pain Relief

I carry travel sized ibuprofen and acetaminophen in my purse. I occasionally have severe headaches. Years ago, my dentist gave me a valuable tip. For moderate to severe pain, take a combination of three ibuprofen and two acetaminophen. The combo works like a pain pill for me, but without the drowsiness or side effects.

And I love the Hilma products. They provide natural relief, for tight muscles or tension headaches. And the indoor/outdoor relief is wonderful for natural sinus congestion and allergen relief. Click links above to order Hilma.

Travel With Your Health Practices hilma
Travel With Your Health Practices – Hilma Producrs

Supplements

  • Cat’s Claw
  • MSM
  • Magnesium
  • Comfort Guard
  • GLOW Complex

I take more supplements than these when at home. These though support joint and muscles health. After many years of chronic sciatica, I can still experience stiff, tight muscles in my legs, especially when walking for hours. The first four supplements listed above keep my legs working well and keep them comfortable. The Comfort Guard is THE best supplement for reducing pain and inflammation. I love the combination of turmeric, ginger and boswellia.

And GLOW Complex is an amazing plant based collagen builder that also supplies a host of essential vitamins and minerals including B12, which is so important to keep my energy up.

Order Comfort Guard and GLOW in the links at end of post.

Over the Counter

  • Witch Hazel (carried in a small TSA approved bottle)
  • bandaids
  • antibiotic cream
  • Prid (a soothing drawing salve)
  • sunscreen
  • cotton balls and cotton swabs

Witch Hazel makes an ideal soother for scrapes, insect bites and cuts. Plus I use it for a toner after washing my face.

Prid is a drawing salve that I don’t like to be without. It relieves bug bites, spider bites, boils and ingrown hairs.

Protection

I’m fully vaccinated. Otherwise I wouldn’t be traveling at all. I still take cloth masks wherever I go. And in addition to social distancing and washing my hands frequently, I use SkinShield2, a protective antibacterial skin barrier lotion. A small amount of lotion kills germs, viruses and bacteria on contact and protects my hands for hours. Click link above to order yours.

Travel With Your Health Practices sanitizer
Travel With Your Health Practices – protection

Miscellaneous

  • peppermint tea bags
  • Incrediwear knee sleeve

My favorite tea goes with me. I tuck a few tea bags in my purse and more in my carry on. Peppermints soothes the whole digestive system and boosts spirits and mood.

The Incrediwear knee sleeve is a “just in case” item. Occasionally I twist my left knee and it reacts immediately with pain, swelling and inflammation.

Incrediwear products work by increasing blood flow to the injured joint, to reduce inflammation and swelling. They also relieve pain and accelerate recovery. Rather than using compression, Incrediwear products incorporate semiconductor elements within the fabric that release negative ions when stimulated by body heat. Read more about this amazing sleeve HERE.

Continue Your Usual Health Practices

I think the most important items to “pack” on any trip are your usual health practices.

Do you follow a specific diet? Stay on it so you don’t throw off your body or create digestive disorders. I follow a plant based lifestyle wherever I go, with no issues.

Do you walk, do yoga, stretch, workout? As much as possible, continue these health practices as well. Traveling often involves sitting for hours in a car or airplane. Stretch periodically, do yoga in your seat, walk for a few minutes. Many hotels have an onsite gym for workouts. And walking or hiking is a great way to explore a city or spend time in nature.

Also follow sleep and waking patterns, when you can, to keep energy up. Definitely take prescribed meds. And always, stay hydrated by drinking enough water.

What health items and practices are essential for you? Share them in the comments!

Travel With Your Health Practices water
Travel With Your Health Practices – water container

 

Want to Know How I Pack a Carry On?

Check out this post on Cindy Goes Beyond, for my packing tips to travel light.

Traveling Essentials from Amazon:


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Benefits of Walking Every Day

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Recently I set a goal: walk every day for the next 30 days. The motivation behind my goal? I have an upcoming trip to a new-to-me city in the US. My favorite way to get to know a city is to walk it and explore the streets, restaurants and shops.

I know my body. If I begin my explorations with miles of walking, without a warm up first, my legs protest greatly.

Walking every day before the trip conditions my legs…and my body…for the upcoming extra activity. I met my goal…32 days of walking daily so far.

It turns out there are additional benefits of walking every day, beyond getting ready for a adventure! Check out how the body responds, to walking every day for at least 30 days.

Benefits of Walking Every Day title meme

Not My First Walking Challenge

This isn’t my first walking challenge. It is, in fact, my third such challenge.

The first, attempted almost four years ago, began as a 30 Day Walking Challenge, in which I walked in a different location every day. I made it to Day 27…and then fell and badly twisted my left knee. Sadly, it took me eight months to fully recover from that fall.

The second 30 day walking challenge began in January of this year. I did great…walking in snow, rain and cold temperatures…until my area experienced a severe cold snap that lasted for days. Those freezing cold days ended my daily walks.

This time, I remained determined to walk daily in spite of hot temperatures, rain and muggy days of high humidity. Of course, like every one else, I DO walk every day in the course of my normal activities. The walking challenge, however, is an intentional “get dressed for a walk and get out the door” practice that I do every single day, no matter what.

I feel ready for my trip. More than that, I feel great.

Here are the benefits of walking every day and the changes that occur in the body.

“Walking is almost an insurance policy for aging well.”  Karisa Karmali

Benefits of Walking Every Day neighborhood
Benefits of walking every day – beautiful morning for a walk

Greater Longevity

Harvard researchers discovered that walking 4, 400 steps a day is enough to significantly lower the risk of death. Researchers tracked a group of women…average age 72 years old…for four years. They found the benefits leveled off at around 7,500 steps.

So, start small if necessary. Walk short distances and then gradually increase the number of steps. Wear a pedometer or smart bracelet to count your steps. Or carry your phone. Mine has a built in health app that is always recording my number of steps per day.

Lowers Depression

Walking daily is not only good for physical health, it’s beneficial for mental health as well. A daily walking practice helps relieve stress, which can contribute to depression. Plus the body releases the “feel good” hormone endorphins. And those endorphins help us feel more energized and happier for the rest of the day, long after we complete the walk.

Sharpens the Brain

Walking is one of the best ways to reduce the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s. Brisk walking even increases the size of the hippocampus in older adults. The hippocampus is where memories form. Adults also experience greater cognitive function.

Improves Heart Health

Walking daily improves the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. Stronger, healthier heart and lungs reduces the risks of stroke and heart attack while managing hypertension and preventing type 2 diabetes.

Walking also improves circulation throughout the body. Muscles learn to efficiently use the extra oxygen delivered by improved circulation, which in turn increases blood flow even more in the body.

Increases Lung Volume

Walking increases blood flow, which increases the oxygen flow. It helps us breathe deeper and better, eliminating toxins and wastes from the body.

Benefits of Walking Every Day flowers
Benefits of walking every day – I walk in my neighborhood and enjoy the beauty all around me

Strengthens Bones and Muscles

After age 30, bones and muscles weaken and begin to break down. Walking daily helps slow the aging process of bones and muscles without stressing joints.

And postmenopausal women who walk every day have higher overall bone density than women who don’t.

Additionally, as we walk muscles tug on the bones, which stimulates the production of bone cells, keeping bones strong and healthy.

Better Sleep

As we walk, our body temperature rises and then falls after we finish. This rise and fall of temperature during the day helps us fall asleep faster at night.

Improves Eyesight

Surprisingly, walking daily benefits eye health as well by relieving eye pressure. This helps to fight glaucoma.

Aids Digestion

Thirty minutes of walking a day lowers the risk of colon cancer. It also improves digestion and helps prevent constipation by regulating bowel movements.

Walking benefits the pancreas by improving glucose tolerance.

Provides Pain Relief

Walking daily reduces pain, stiffness and inflammation in joints. The increased blood flow also improves flexibility in joints and the back.

My Experience after Walking for 30 Days

You might remember that I experienced pain and inflammation in my legs for more than 20 years, due to chronic sciatica. Switching to a plant based lifestyle eliminated the sciatica, along with the pain and inflammation. However, I still struggle with muscle tightness…a result of years of chronic inflammation and perhaps some nerve damage.

Here’s what I notice, after walking every day for 30 days:

  • less muscle tightness in my legs, and not just when I’m walking. Overall much less tightness in general, even after standing for long periods of time or a day of greatly increased activity.
  • more flexibility in knee joints
  • reduced muscle tension throughout my body
  • more toned muscles
  • weight loss
  • greater stamina
  • greater endurance
  • fewer headaches
  • higher energy levels
  • improved breathing and lower resting heart rate
  • fall asleep quickly
  • increased flashes of creativity, deeper gratitude and bursts of big ideas
  • greater sense of wellbeing
  • high level of satisfaction
  • appreciation for my body and how it works

What’s Next

I’m excited to continue walking…up until my trip, while traveling and when I return home.

I’ve met my goal. So if I miss a day occasionally, I won’t beat myself up. However, I so appreciate the benefits that I’m experiencing that I WANT to continue walking daily.

Do you have a daily walking practice? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Benefits of Walking Every Day

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Consume Omega-3s for a Longer Life

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Doctors have said for many years that omega-3s and omega-6 fatty acids are good for us. They are especially important for gut, heart and brain health.

Recently there is even more evidence that omega-3s in particular are linked to longevity in life. In a study, published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers tracked 2,240 participants over 11 years. They analyzed the omega-3 levels in the blood. Higher levels of omega-3s resulted in lower mortality rates in people over the age of 65. Furthermore, people with high omega-3 levels who did not smoke had the highest survival rate of all.

The short moral of this health story is this: consume omega-3s for a longer life.

Consume omega-3s for a longer life title meme

What are Omega-3s?

Omega-3s are fatty acids that are a good type of fat. The body does not produce them, meaning we must get them from foods or supplements.

Omega-3s help lower the risk of heart disease, depression, inflammation, dementia and arthritis.

So how do omega-3s help us live longer? Their heart health benefits and anti-inflammation properties combine to keep disease at bay. Heart disease is one of the leading contributors to death, while chronic inflammation causes serious diseases of all kinds.

Omega-3s are found in nutrient rich foods. The three main omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Omega-6s are also important, however they are more readily consumed in a typical western diet, through unsaturated fats. Increasing omega-3s, which are often lacking in a typical western diet, are needed to balance the ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s.

Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel are rich in omega-3s. However, on a plant based diet, what foods supply this vital fatty acid?

Here are the top six plant based foods that supply omega-3s.

Chia Seeds

These small but mighty seeds are an excellent source of ALA omega-3s. They also provide fiber and protein.

Studies suggest that chia seeds decrease the risk of chronic disease, lower blood triglycerides and reduce inflammatory markers. Just one ounce of chia seeds daily meets or exceeds the recommended requirement for omega-3s.

It’s simple to add chia seeds to smoothies, smoothie bowls and salads. Or create a delicious chia pudding, topped with fruit.

Ground chia seeds make a great egg substitute as well. Combine one tablespoon of of chia seeds with three tablespoons of water. Allow to set up, for five minutes. Use in place of eggs in baking recipes.

Consume Omega 3s for a Longer Life chia seeds
Consume omega-3s for a longer life – chia seeds

Brussels Sprouts

These cruciferous vegetables are high in omega-3s, vitamins C and K and fiber. An increase of Brussels sprouts in the diet significantly lowers the risk of heart disease by providing ALA omega-3s.

Half a cup of cooked Brussels sprouts contains about 135 mg of omega-3s.

Try them steamed, with onion and garlic powder, stir fried with other veggies or roasted in the oven. This Garlic Brussels Sprouts is so good!

Brussels sprouts
Consume omega-3s for a longer life – Brussels sprouts

Walnuts

Walnuts are packed with healthy fats, including ALA omega-3s. In fact, by weight, these nuts are 65% fat.

Including walnuts in the diet improves brain health, while also boosting learning, memory and motor development and reducing anxiety.

Just one ounce of walnuts daily fulfills the requirement for omega-3s.

Add walnuts to oatmeal, homemade granola or simply eat a handful as a snack, which is my favorite way to consume them. I eat a small handful of walnuts every day.

Consume Omega 3s for a longer life walnuts
Consume omega-3s for a longer life – walnuts

Flaxseeds

These little powerhouses of health provide fiber, protein, magnesium, manganese and omega-3s.

Flaxseeds boost heart health and also reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. One ounce of flaxseeds contains more than the recommended daily amount of omega-3s.

It’s easy to incorporate flaxseeds into the diet. Add to smoothies, smoothie bowls, oatmeal, soups or salads. And like chia seeds, flaxseeds make a great egg substitute in baking. Make a “flax egg” by combining one tablespoon ground flaxseeds with three tablespoons of water and allow to thicken for five minutes before using.

Flaxseeds
Consume omega-3s for a longer life – flaxseeds

Hemp Seeds

Hemps seeds are an excellent source of protein, magnesium, iron and zinc, along with omega-3s.

Studies show that hemp seeds improve heart health by preventing the formation of blood clots and helping the heart recover after a heart attack.

An ounce of hemp seeds contains more than a day’s serving of ALA fatty acids.

Sprinkle hemp seeds on oatmeal, salads and soups or add to smoothies and smoothie bowls. Or mix hemp, chia and flaxseeds for a healthy granola mix.

Consume Omega 3s for a Longer Life hemp seeds
Consume omega-3s for a longer life – hemp seeds

Algal Oil

Algal oil is derived from algae. It is one of the few vegan sources of both EPA and DHA fatty acids. It’s nutritional value is similar to seafood.

One study found that algal oil capsules, taken as a supplement, compared well to consuming cooked salmon.

Algal oil is helpful for improving memory.

It’s readily available as a supplement, in a softgel form. In liquid form, algal oil may be added to smoothies or other drinks.

Click photo to order Algal Oil Supplements

Are You Getting Enough Omega-3s?

As you can see, it’s easy to get enough omega-3s in your diet. It just takes awareness and intentionally including one or more of the above foods daily.

If you struggle with incorporating these foods, try adding a plant based omega-3 supplement that includes ALA, EPA and DHA. Check out the links below for supplements I’ve tried and can recommend.

Which of the above foods do you regularly consume? And which ones will you add to your diet now?

Vegan Omega-3s from Amazon:

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

 

31 Wellness Ideas

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

For National Wellness Month, celebrated each August, I’m sharing different posts highlighting what wellness really means.

Last week’s post, available HERE, shares the eight dimensions of wellness. They include: emotional, environmental, intellectual, financial, occupational, physical, social and spiritual.

Wellness encompasses the whole body plus it’s an active process of making healthy choices that support a fulfilling life. Because daily habits play an important role in wellness, I’m offering 31 wellness ideas. Include these wellness tips…one a day or multiple ideas a day…to build robust wellness in your life.

And even though August is Wellness Month, these tips can be practiced every day, of every month, year after year.

31 Wellness Ideas title meme

A Month of Ideas

My intention, for creating this post is to show how easy it is to incorporate wellness habits into your life. All eight wellness dimensions are included in these activities. Over time…a relative short time…daily habits build a healthy lifestyle.

Pick a starting date and try one of these ideas every day for the next 31 days.

Choose Wellness

The whole point of National Wellness Month is to encourage people to choose wellness. Show your intention of following through on your commitment to wellness by creating a simple declaration that states “I choose wellness” and then sign and date it. See my “wellfie” at the end of the post for my signed declaration.

DIY Beauty Treatment

Enjoy a DIY beauty treatment at home, using ingredients from your kitchen. Make this experience a pampering one. Try this easy DIY Natural Skin Serum or check out Pinterest for other ideas.

Go For a Walk

Walking has so many benefits. It’s a great way to increase physical wellness and also clears the mind, boosts mood and fosters creativity.

Meditate

Meditation quiets the mind and body by focusing on breath. And it not only eases stress and relaxes the body, it also balances emotions, boosts memory and increases productivity at work.

Spend Time in Nature

We know being outdoors is good for us…fresh air, vitamin D producing sunshine and peaceful nature…however some of the benefits are lesser known. Spending time in nature also sharpens focus, supports graceful aging, reduces inflammation, relieves stress, anxiety and depression and increases overall life satisfaction. Check out more reasons to get out into nature HERE.

31 Wellness Ideas nature
31 Wellness Ideas – spend time in nature

Night Out With Friends

Have a girls’ or guys’ night out, doing something fun. If COVID is keeping you home, do a virtual dinner together, connecting through ZOOM or Facetime. Or watch a movie simultaneously and discuss. Social interaction is important to wellness, perhaps now more than ever.

Pick Up Trash

In your neighborhood, along a stretch of beach or in a local park, take time to pick up trash. Wear gloves and carry a small trash bag that can be disposed of after clean up. And check out the plant based trash bags at the end of the post.

Eat Plant Based for a Day

Rather than a meatless Monday meal, try eating vegan for a whole day. No meat, dairy products or eggs allowed. It will not only give your digestive system a break and your health a boost, it’s good for the planet too.

Have a Smoothie for Breakfast

Start your “vegan for the day” with a fruit smoothie, or pick this activity for another day. Start with fresh bananas, then add frozen fruit of choice, filtered water and chia seeds. Blend in a high speed blender until thoroughly mixed.

Write Out 31 Affirmations

Affirmations are positive statements that can help you overcome negative thinking and self sabotage. They also help to create change. Write 31 affirmations that encourage you to live a healthier life. Begin each affirmation with “I am…” and write it in the present tense, not future tense. Example: “I am creating wellness in my life.”

Write affirmations on slips of paper and drop them into a jar. Draw one out each day for the next month. Or create your own flip calendar, using spiral bound index cards, adding an affirmation on each card.

31 Wellness Ideas affirmations
31 Wellness Ideas – examples of affirmations in a jar…and a DIY flip calendar. This one has favorite quotes.

Do Something New

Trying new experiences is good for the brain. Plus they help us move beyond comfort zones, conquer fears and ramp up creativity. The something new can be as simple as using the non-dominant hand to brush your teeth or as complex as climbing a mountain for the first time.

Read

Pick out a new book, either one you purchase, a library loan or an ebook downloaded on your tablet. Commit to reading a chapter a day. Ramp up the fun by reading a book in a new to you genre.

Watch a Documentary

Are you a movie fan? Try switching to a documentary instead. Watch one on a topic you like or mix things up and pick one you’d not typically watch. Amazon Prime is a great source of documentaries, of all kinds. Start your free membership by clicking HERE.

Netflix offers a broad selection of documentaries as well. I highly recommend My Octopus Teacher. You must have a Netflix subscription to watch.

Encouraging Texts

To boost your social wellness and encourage others, send positive, affirming texts to friends and family members. Doing something kind or helpful for others brings tremendous benefits for the giver as well.

Stretch the Body

Try a series of stretches first thing in the morning. Or move through yoga poses. If you aren’t familiar with yoga, look for step by step videos on YouTube.

Wellness Date

Go on an intentional wellness date with a significant other, family member or even on your own. Some ideas: healthy dinner date, walk in the neighborhood, massage, yoga class, meditate outdoors together or alone, financial class, concert in the park, business class, volunteer for a good cause or find a quiet place to sit and talk.

31 Wellness Ideas date
31 Wellness Ideas – wellness date

Wellness Pie Chart

Create a pie chart (see this post for an example) and divide it into eight sections. Label each section with a wellness dimension. Rate your level of wellness in each area, with 1 being very low and 10 being very high. Commit to working on the areas with a rating of 7 or below.

Journal

Write in your journal about each of the eight dimensions of wellness in your life. What can you do to improve wellness in each one?

Hot Bath

Light some candles in the bathroom, play soothing music and enjoy a long soak in the tub, with or without bubbles. Or, if you prefer a shower, take a long, hot shower and wash away stress. Use sugar scrubs scented with essential oils.

Declutter

Pick a room, a closet or a drawer and declutter it. Use the Marie Kondo practice of only keeping the items that bring you joy. Clutter clogs up energy, in a home and in the body. Decluttering allows energy to flow again.

Hydrate

Drink at least eight glasses of water during the day. Most people are chronically dehydrated. Find out if you are by checking these symptoms. If you prefer, add fresh, unsweetened fruit, lemon or lime juice or veggies such as cucumbers to your water.

31 Wellness Ideas hydrate
31 Wellness Ideas – drink eight glasses of water

Donate

Rather than tossing unwanted clothes or items, donate them to a shelter. It benefits the shelter and it keeps items out of landfills. Make sure items are in good repair and undamaged.

Toad&Co provides a Clean Out Kit, in partnership with ThredUp, for clothing cleared from your closet.

Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Moving out of your comfort zone brings growth and fresh opportunities and can help you feel more accomplished and happy in life.

What scares you a little bit? Speaking in public? Performing a song you wrote? Standing up for yourself? Pick one thing and do it.

Promote Sleep

Create a peaceful atmosphere in your room that is conducive to sleep. A dark, cool, quiet room is best for a good night’s sleep. What needs to shift in that environment, to help you sleep better?

Deep Breaths

Practice several minutes of slow, deep breathing to reduce stress, ease tension and reset the body. Close your eyes, inhale to a count of three, hold your breath for two seconds and then exhale to a count of six.

Create a Healthy Treat

Have fun in the kitchen, creating a healthy treat. It can be as simple as a sliced apple with dates and walnuts or something like this blueberry crumble. Let your inner chef shine through.

31 Wellness Ideas treat
31 Wellness Ideas – create a healthy treat

Create a Budget

Use a spreadsheet on the computer or an app to track income and expenditures.

After tracking income and outgo, set up budget categories for set expenses. Include a plan for paying off debt and saving for emergencies. And set aside an amount for fun or for a travel fund.

Love What You Do

Write out all the things you love about your current occupation, even if it’s not your dream job. Focusing on the positives rather than the negatives helps to shift attitudes about work and also opens possibilities for change.

Dream Job

Dream though, without creating negative feelings about your current job. What is your dream job? What does it look like and how does it make you feel? Write in great detail, in your journal, about your dream job. What action steps, no matter how small, can you take now to get you to that dream?

Gratitude

Write out ten…or more…gratitudes. These can connect to the day or they can be gratitudes in general. What are you grateful for?

Writing and expressing gratitude frequently can powerfully shift your life.

Take a Wellfie

Take a wellfie…a selfie holding your “I choose wellness” declaration. Post it on social media.

31 Wellness Ideas wellfie
31 Wellness Ideas – post a wellfie

Ways to Play

I believe that play is an important part of life.

So have fun with these ideas. Let them inspire wellness ideas of your own. And try these two ways of practicing wellness activities.

Schedule out the activities in your planner or monthly calendar. Write each on on a different day, in any order that pleases you. And then do the activity listed as you move through the month.

Or, write the activities on strips of paper, fold them and drop them into a jar. Randomly select one each day, for the next month, and do the activity you draw out. No backsies. This is one of my favorite games to play. I love how the perfect activity appears on the perfect day, even if I don’t at first think so.

I hope these 31 ideas help you create more health and wellness, in all areas of your life!

31 Wellness Ideas happy

Wellness Helps from Amazon:

 


 

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

Choosing Wellness

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

August is National Wellness Month. What a wonderful opportunity to explore what wellness means. Plus, we can discover ways to create a lifestyle that supports wellness in our lives.

The whole theme for this month long celebration is choosing wellness.

I’ll post several times in August, with information, suggestions and fun activities, all centered around Wellness Month.

Choosing Wellness title meme

What is Wellness?

Wellness is the active process of raising awareness and making choices that support a healthy and fulfilling life. It encompasses more than preventing illness or eating a healthy diet. It’s a process that includes change, growth and a commitment to living the best life possible. Wellness is something to actively pursue, through awareness, goals and daily habits.

Last year, I explored National Wellness Month for the first time, setting five goals for myself, to pursue during August. Read that post HERE.

This year, I’m even more aware of how crucial wellness is to my overall health and wellbeing.

Consider these eight dimensions of wellness.

Emotional Wellness

Understanding feelings and accepting them, without latching onto them, forms the core of emotional wellness.

Other important emotional health aspects include managing stress, remaining in the present moment without dwelling on the past or worrying about the future and adapting to and dealing with challenges and changes in constructive ways.

Tips for maintaining emotional wellness include:

  • self love, self acceptance, self care
  • relaxation techniques
  • meditation
  • shifting negative thoughts to positive ones
  • connecting with others
  • establishing a solid sleep routine
  • creating boundaries
  • mindfulness
  • recognizing that challenges bring growth

Environmental Wellness

Environmental wellness is two fold: caring for and living in harmony with the planet and creating personal environments that support who we are.

Creating an environment in your room, home, yard or workspace that supports who you are and your needs and desires contributes to overall wellness.

And equally important is caring for the earth. It is, after all, home to us and many, many other species. I found that my awareness of my own environment and caring for the planet increased as my own health improved.

Tips for improving environmental wellness include:

  • decluttering spaces
  • creating beautiful, peaceful places to relax and play
  • keeping objects nearby that bring joy and encouragement
  • protecting the earth and all her inhabitants
  • living sustainably
  • interacting with nature
  • raising awareness about practices that are damaging the earth
Choosing Wellness emotional
Choosing Wellness – I created a beautiful space (environmental health) that supports my emotional health

Intellectual Wellness

Intellectual wellness combines nutrition and mental exercises that strengthen the brain with participation in scholastic, cultural and community activities. Additionally, intellectual wellness expands knowledge and skills and boosts creativity and learning, helping us to live a more fulfilling life.

Tips for expanding intellectual wellness include:

  • following curiosity
  • reading, for fun and for information
  • learning a foreign language or a new skill
  • adopting a fresh perspective
  • playing games or working crossword or sudoku puzzles
  • learning to play a musical instrument
  • journaling about creative ideas
  • trying new experiences
  • eating foods that boost brain health

Financial Wellness

Learning to manage money well is a key aspect of financial wellness. Think of creating a budget as putting your finances on a healthy diet. When you take control of your money, it doesn’t control you.

Financial wellness encompasses budgeting, building a savings account, planning for the future…including emergencies, spending within means and healthy borrowing. It’s an important component of wellbeing. Money issues are a leading cause of stress, personally and in relationships, and chronic stress creates disease.

Tips for increasing financial wellness include:

  • creating a workable, doable budget and sticking to it
  • saving for future expenses, including emergencies
  • growing funds through investments
  • spending less than you earn
  • reducing expenses when necessary
  • borrowing responsibly
  • getting out of debt
Choosing Wellness financial
Choosing Wellness – financial wellness

Occupational Wellness

You’ve no doubt heard of the expression, “Do what you love, love what you do.” This quote perfectly captures the foundation of occupational wellness.

Doing work that’s fulfilling, interesting and motivational contributes to overall wellness. Feeling inspired and challenged is important too. Life is enriched through the work we do or it can feel stressed when we don’t enjoy our jobs.

Tips for creating occupational wellness include:

  • finding benefits and positives in current occupation
  • creating connections with co-workers
  • writing out goals and creating action steps to get there
  • working towards the career path you most want
  • increasing skills and knowledge
  • writing out dream job in great detail

Physical Wellness

The most commonly known of the dimensions, physical wellness is about taking care of the body and fueling it with highly nutritious foods. Maintaining a healthy body gives us the energy to do what we want to do and helps manage stress. A body already under attack from disease or illnesses can’t easily handle additional challenges.

Physical wellness involves making excellent choices about nutrition, exercise and body movement, sleep, disease prevention and food or alcohol addictions.

Tips for improving physical wellness include:

  • eating a nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • exercising and moving the body
  • strengthening muscles
  • paying attention to signals from the body
  • eliminating foods that create allergic reactions in the body
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • staying hydrated
  • creating healthy habits
Choosing Wellness physical
Choosing Wellness – physical wellness

Social Wellness

We need positive connections with others. However, it’s also important to balance social and personal time. Being absolutely who you are, and not who others want or expect you to be, builds healthy social interactions as well.

Destructive relationships are never healthy. Counseling may help with family or spouse relationships. Don’t fear walking away from other relationships that are negative, demeaning or energetically draining.

Tips for maintaining social wellness:

  • engaging with people in your neighborhood, community and city
  • valuing diversity and treating others with respect
  • creating boundaries in relationships
  • having fun
  • developing good communication skills
  • finding your tribe, a supportive group of people who “get” who you are

Spiritual Wellness

Building spiritual wellness involves values, beliefs, meaning and purpose.  Spirituality grounds us, connects us to God, strengthens trust and helps us find purpose and meaning in life. Following a spiritual path brings bigger perspectives on life situations and comforts during challenging times.

Tips for creating spiritual wellness include:

  • praying or meditating
  • practicing yoga
  • spending quiet time alone
  • journaling thoughts and beliefs
  • gathering with like hearted people
  • serving others
  • spending time in nature
Choosing Wellness social
Choosing Wellness – social wellness

Choosing Wellness

It can feel overwhelming to make changes in all eight areas of wellness. Instead, gauge your wellness level first, in each area.

Draw a circle and divide it into eight segments. Label each section of the circle with one of the wellness dimensions: emotional, environmental, intellectual, financial, occupational, physical, social and spiritual. Write a number in each segment, with 1 being a low wellness score and 10 a high level of wellness.

Work on improving the areas with a 7 or less.

Pick one area and start there. Make small, positive changes by setting doable goals. Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to do too much at once. Practice self care during the process and focus on gratitude and growth.

Check in with yourself frequently, to see where your wellness level is. The wellness dimensions are all connected. Improvement in one area often leads to improvement in another. Enjoy the process. Play. It’s your life…not an assignment.

And come back next week, for a month of fun activities to help raise wellness in all areas!

Choosing Wellness chart

 

Wellness Finds from Amazon

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.