I am regularly amazed by this simple truth: baby steps with consistency can lead to powerful results. We do not have to undertake a complete life overhaul to reap sustainable, life-changing benefits. No need to get overwhelmed. Release the all or nothing attitude. If you want to continually move towards greater mind-body health, as I do, consider just slowly adding in small shifts over time. Here are 5 Simple Health Shifts I made in 2016 that I think will serve you too.
1. I added in liquid minerals. Refined and processed foods, nutrient-poor soils, low stomach acid, heavy metal toxicity and stress are some of the reasons that many of us are lacking in the diversity and healthy balance of minerals meant to support optimal health. When we are lacking in minerals, or if we have an imbalanced ratio of minerals, we may experience symptoms like cravings, fatigue, anxiety or muscle cramping. A hair element test can help determine which specific minerals in your body are imbalanced and should be supplemented and you can get extra minerals through kelp flakes or quality sea salt and bone broth. In addition to these, I opted to begin a liquid mineral supplement this past year.
Just some of the purported health benefits of taking my easily absorbable liquid fulvic acid minerals* include: a boost in physical energy and muscular endurance; a noticeable reduction in “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides; enhanced virility in men and healthier sperm; an increase in antioxidants; and a decrease in signs of painful inflammation. Certainly one of the noticeable changes I’ve experienced is that my nails have become smoother and considerably stronger. Whether you get your minerals tested for appropriate supplementation, boost them through the food sources suggested above, or take liquid minerals, do you suspect you would benefit from boosting your mineral intake?
2. I added in a daily 45 second plank. This fall a client (and now friend) of mine invited people to join her in a 28 day plank challenge. I would not usually join this type of challenge but felt comfortable with Pamella and am delighted that I joined. I was unable to get even close to the suggested 4 minute final plank time suggested in the challenge but persisted with what I could do and not only completed the challenge but have since continued on with a daily 45 second plank. I will slowly increase my time as my strength increases.
My arms, core and thighs have all become noticeably stronger. Lower body strength in particular feels important to me because I already struggle with pain and limitations on movement due to my left leg and hip and will most likely require another hip replacement (or two) later in life. I cannot control the fact that I had a disease in my hip as a child, but I can take small steps to work with what I have and love the body I am in! How could you take one small step to love the body you are in?
3.I broke up with wine. As much as possible I aim to maintain a measure of flexibility in my health habits – you know, that old 90/10 rule. I cannot always control my environment or I just want to flex and eat something I would not normally eat (even if I pay for it later). But if I am honest with myself I realize that there are certain habits that I need to get rid of all together. No playing around. I broke up with wine 5 months ago and I am feeling freer and happy. I still crave it but there is no going back for me.
You may not struggle with addiction to wine but is there one habit in your life that you know in your gut is harming you or holding you back from living an unshackled life of purpose, health and joy? Usually we know what this is and do our best to ignore the signs because we are afraid of letting go. Maybe it provides us comfort or we genuinely don’t think we will be able to live without it. Moving into freedom can feel hard but it is also worth it. What is that thing in your life that you need to break up with?
4. I became more diligent about purposeful rest. I have never been great at rest – I mean emotional rest mostly. Permission to just be. To honor the way I am knit together. I set the intention that this year would be a “gap year” for me – a time to get curious and rest and slowly let life unfold. I am still leading a very full life but am becoming more diligent about shading in days or time blocks on my agenda for non-negotiable rest. I am learning to establish healthier work-life boundaries. Learning the value in “whatever I am doing be all there”. Learning to trust a little more, to hold my future loosely and remain open to unexpected possibilities.
Our culture does not honor our need for rest and we are a fairly stressed out, unhealthy population. You will be going against the grain if you purpose to practice rest more in 2017. But listen in now to what you mind, body, and spirit are telling you. Maybe the one simple health shift you most need is to make space for more purposeful rest; What would that look like for you?
5. I adopted a healthier stress mindset. For years I have been working on managing anxiety and stress, setting boundaries and simplifying life to reduce stress, reading and taking courses on mindfulness. But this book helped me really comprehend that not all stress is bad. That stress is, in fact, a natural part of a joyful, full, beautiful life. It was the right book at the right time and my focus is shifting from getting rid of stress to embracing it more often when it is attached to a purposeful goal I have set for myself or at least to recognizing its potential benefits.
My new stress mindset has been a significant factor in permitting me to step out into the work I want to do, into new experiences without trying to control the outcome, into a little more risk taking even. If you don’t want to read the book, listen to this TED Talk for a little taste test of what I am talking about. Do I even have to ask – is stress an issue in your life? Would you benefit from a healthier stress mindset?
Keep in mind that I did not make all five of these simple health shifts at once. They slowly, almost organically presented themselves to me one by one. Often this is the way we move into sustainable, beautiful growth – little by little. Baby step by baby step. Though the shifts feel small and subtle, when we look back over our year we realize that those small but determined steps have added up into something unexpectedly satisfying. We have matured, grown, healed.
Is there one among these five simple health shifts that you could add to your life today to move you closer to the mind-body health you desire?
*I have been assured by the company I use that my minerals are 3rd party tested for heavy metals (still waiting on a document that provides proof of this)