"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live." - Jim Rohn
It’s flu, cold and allergy season—oh my! And for those of us living in the desert where spring has already begun to set it, it’s also allergy season on top of everything else! In the past month I’ve had strep throat, a cold, and allergies. I was frustrated and baffled as to why I kept getting my butt kicked by germs, but then I realized: I’m working my butt off—at work, in the gym, freelancing, and on my blog—and I hadn’t been taking proper care of my mind, body and spirit.
In his bestselling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talks about the goose that lays golden eggs. The golden eggs are precious, no doubt, because they’re made of pure solid gold. But Covey explains that the goose is as equally, if not more, important than the eggs because without the goose, there’d be no eggs! This analogy can fit a lot of situations, both personal and in business, but it’s a very helpful reminder that our bodies are just as important as the work we produce, and encouragement to start taking better care of ourselves.
Here are my key ingredients for a healthy germ-conquering life (all of which I was slacking on when I ended up sick!):
The arguments for hydrating your body are infinite. From better digestion, to decreased illness rates, to increased elasticity in your skin, water truly is the miracle beverage of choice! Doctors and scientists used to believe that eight 8 ounces glasses of water per day was ideal. However, new studies recommend drinking more! A recommended .5 ounces of water per pound of body weight, and .75 ounces on days you hit the gym. This sounds a lot more complicated than it is. To find your number, simply multiply your weight by one-half or .75 and start sipping!
The new fad of meditation may truly be one of the best habits to hit American mainstream. People have been meditating for thousands of years, and the results are astounding. Meditating for just a few minutes per day can have amazing physical health benefits such as reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels, more restful sleep, and improved oxygen use in our bodies! In addition to these, the mental benefits are also plentiful: reduced cortisol and adrenaline levels reduce stress and improved focus and concentration.
I personally have been trying my hand at meditation in recent weeks, and after only five to ten minutes per day, I already notice a difference!
Just do it. Close the laptop, turn off the television, and put down your cell phone! Reports show that the average American gets less than 7 hours of sleep per night. The recommended amount for most adults is 8 hours or more.
A study in Time magazine describes our brain as a dishwashing machine. After a day’s work/play it’s filled to the brim with dirty dishes—scattered neurons and built up adenosine. The greater the number of dirty dishes in our machine, the harder it is for our brain to send and receive signals needed to accomplish even the simplest tasks. A good night’s sleep is like turning that dishwashing machine to “On” and cleaning up all the stuck-on grime and grease. The longer we go without the proper amount of sleep, the more gunk builds up on our brain cells and the less effectively and efficiently we think, respond, and formulate ideas. Don’t zombie-walk through life with greasy brain cells, get your beauty rest!
Eat Your Veggies
At the risk of giving you flashbacks to when you were 7 years old and stuck at the dinner table until you finished your peas, I must say… Eat your vegetables! Veggies are practically the only food on earth that you can overeat and not gain weight. They are loaded with (and the best source of) all the vitamins, fiber, and phytonutrients your body needs to function and to build your immune system. You may hate to admit it, but your parents were right!
Whether you want to take a full-length yoga class or spend 10 minutes twisting and bending around before hopping out of bed in the morning, a daily stretch can work wonders. Stretching has been proven to decrease injuries in athletes and increase muscle gained during a workout. Stay healthy and strong by adding just a few minutes a day to your routine. Make sure you hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds, and drink some H2O when you’re done!
Here’s to a flu (and cold, and strep throat…) free season!