Physical Wellness – Developing a Healthy Self-Care Plan

The poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “The first wealth is health.” Unfortunately, many people tend to take physical wellness for granted. They don’t think much about it at all until they are faced with an illness and the topic surges to the forefront of their awareness. A much better approach would be to develop a balanced self-care program which will help to keep you healthy. Below you will find a few key items to consider including in your daily self-care plan:

1. Sleep – Lack of sleep has become a significant problem in recent years. Many people sacrifice sleep for other pursuits due to lack of time or lose sleep because of stress and worry. It is important to strive for 8 hours of sleep per day and learn to listen to your body. If you feel tired or run-down, it is time to take a break and rest.

2. Hydration – About 60% of the body is made up of water and it is absolutely essential for healthy functioning. An adult should have at least two liters of water per day. You can also use the 8×8 rule . . . drink 8, 8 ounce glasses of fluid per day. Be aware that drinks containing sugar (including fruit juices) actually cause the body to de-hydrate, so drinking water or a beverage like unsweetened iced tea is best.

3. Nutrition – Many people opt for convenience over balanced nutrition, but it doesn’t have to be difficult to eat in a healthier way. Never completely deprive yourself of foods that you love as this can have negative implications on your emotional state. Instead, think moderation! Be sure to include good protein sources such as chicken, beef (yes, red meat IS healthy and actually strengthens the immune system!), pork, lamb and fish in your diet. Include lots of green vegetables including broccoli, green beans, lettuces, spinach and other greens and limit higher starch vegetables. Keep carbohydrate (starch) consumption low and avoid sugar, MSG, preservatives and highly processed foods. Fruits should be consumed in moderation due to their high sugar content. Snack on items such as cheese sticks, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, cottage cheese and plain yogurt.

4. Exercise – Learn to make exercise fun by choosing activities you enjoy. This will help you want to exercise vs. feeling that you have to. (think dancing, biking, tennis . . . whatever you enjoy!) Walking is one of the very best exercises. It is easy, free and can be combined with a walking meditation for stress reduction . . . for extra motivation, try walking with a friend! Small changes can net big results . . . begin taking the stairs vs. the elevator and parking a bit farther from your destination to help boost the amount of exercise you are getting. Many find that mind-body-spirit types of exercise like yoga, tai chi or qi gong keep them in shape as well as aid in relaxation and a greater feeling of inner peace. Don’t forget to include some stretching in your exercise routine to help you remain flexible.

5. Detoxification – Simply by living life, we pick up toxins from our environment which the body must eliminate. These elimination or detoxification routes are called emunctories. As we get older, our body loses some of its detoxing ability and we begin to build up toxins in our tissues which can result in illness. One of the best and safest ways to assist your body in eliminating excess toxins to stay healthier is by taking regular Epsom Salt baths which draw toxins out of the bloodstream through the skin. For an added bonus, take your Epsom Salt bath before going to bed. Epsom Salt contains Magnesium which calms the nervous system and will help you get a better night’s sleep.

I hope you’ve found these self-care suggestions helpful. It is important to note that true, lasting wellness encompasses not only the health of your physical body, but also the health of mind, emotions and spirit as well. For more information on all of these wellness topic areas, please visit my website at www.tranquilitybaywellness.com