It’s hard to go around it anymore. It’s been a year now that we’ve been in lockdown or with severe sanitary measures, and more and more people are exhausted or depressed. I hear most people around me complaining all the time that they are fed up with being online all the time, they feel really tired, have frequent headaches or high blood pressure. The don’t sleep well, are easily out of breath.
And it is normal that many of us feel this way: we are living in times of change and whenever humans need to change their habits, it’s hard. It’s uncomfortable.
Moreover, we are submerged every day in bad news (manipulated news, if you ask me…), fear and stress. I’ve noticed that the media and our governments are using NLP techniques (such as the use of certain words, phrases, and repeating stuff over and over again until you are hypnotised by the info and your fear is well anchored). Normally NPL should be used to good use, with good intentions. But in our current situation, it’s becoming pretty obvious that the goal of those who govern us, is to keep the fear levels high. To make sure everyone is so scared that they will obey to every rule and believe everything that is told them. Or at least that’s what I strongly feel in every part of my body, and I’m not the only one.
But luckily for us, there is an easy solution!
Yes, stress and fear or anxiety have a very negative impact on our health and body. A lack of oxygen is also very damaging, as are high levels of CO2. So if we want to feel balanced, energised and serene again, we need to integrate certain healthy habits in our daily life.
First of all, it is important to become aware of our breathing. Start and end your day with long, deep breaths. And during those moments, it is good to focus ONLY on the breath, in order to clear ou head. During the day, it is also interesting to take a deep breath or deep sigh whenever you think of it, just as a reminder that you are still breathing 😉 Often when we pause during the day to focus on our breath, we might notice that our breath is shallow of superficial. Becoming aware of that and “forcing” ourself to breath more deeply, will help to revive your body. Your cells in your body needs fresh oxygen to function properly. Proper breathing will nourish your cells and as such your body will function optimally and you will have a better health.
Which is why I refuse to wear a mask, because then I would just be suffocating myself. Every exhale is a release of the toxins your body needs to get rid of. And I would have to inhale that again? No way! Moreover, the levels of exhaled CO2 rise extremely rapidly inside a mask, so you will experience all the side effects of being exposed to too much CO2, without even noticing it immediately.
Well, I do notice. Every time I do wear a mask, because otherwise my access to the supermarket is denied, I immediately get an itchy throat, which later turns into throat ache. I get headaches or dizziness and I feel like I’m suffocating. And I’m not the only one! I feel really bad for those people who have to wear that thing for their whole working day. Honestly, I don’t know how they do it. But if I were in their shoes, it would already be enough an excuse for me to quit that job!
- So avoid wearing a mask whenever you can.
- Start and end you day with deep breaths
- Go outside in nature everyday to give yourself an oxygen boost (preferably amongst trees)
- Become more aware of your breath
- Breath properly: on inhale your belly should inflate and on exhale your belly deflates.
With breathing awareness comes mindfulness
The second thing you might want to practice on a regular basis is mindfulness. The mind is very active: it’s like a chaotic, noisy, rattling machine that you can’t switch off. And since many centuries the mind has been given a lot of power. But if you want to be really focused and serene at the same time, you’ll need to turn the mind off now and then, even though it might seem impossible to do.
Just focus on your breath and on all the sounds around you. Use your senses! Take a moment to just use these senses: smell, taste, see, hear and feel. What sounds do you hear around you? What subtle sensations do you feel in your body? Feel the chair you are sitting on, feel your drink slowly sliding through your throat, observe the birds outside, … Or just sit still for a while and listen to you own breath, feel your belly going up and down. If you still notice thoughts popping into your head, just observe them and let them go. Just note to yourself “Thinking” and focus on your breath again. If it’s hard for you, then see if these two tricks help:
- Pause your breath between the inhale and exhale. You breathe in, pause for a few seconds and breath out. Normally at that moment you won’t have any thoughts.
- If your mind is throwing one thought after the other to you, don’t resist or get frustrated. Just challenge your mind. As if you were saying to your mind: “Ok, you want to give me thoughts? Well, go ahead, give me all you’ve got! You can think of everything at once, go ahead!” Usually, the mind then bugs and sort of panics, like “Quick, a thought! But which one?? Aaah! …BLANK…”
Sleep first, plan later!
Another very important aspect of your life is your sleep. Sleep is of utmost importance to remain balanced and healthy. It’s not so much the hours of sleep, but the quality of your sleep that is important.
For some people 6h of sleep is enough, while others need 8h. I wouldn’t advice to sleep more than 8h, because then you will also feel tired instead of energised. What seems to work best for most people (even though for some it takes a little while to get into that rhythm) is to go to bed by 10pm at latest and wake up by 6am in the morning. To understand why this schedule is most efficient, you need to know a little about Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word and translates as the science of life. Ayurvedic routines and nutrition has helped many people become more healthy, balanced and self-confident. Everyone has a specific basic constitution, which we call a “dosha”. There are three main energies or dosha that we can find everywhere: in our body, in the seasons, on earth, in the cosmos, on atomic level, …
I’m not going to elaborate on the details in this article, because Ayurveda is a vast and complex science. But to cut a long theory short: once you’ve figured out your dosha, you can adapt your lifestyle and nutrition accordingly. Interestingly, the sleep pattern from 10PM to 6AM works a charm for all different types. Because before 10PM the dosha that is most present at that time will help you calm down. After 10PM another dosha takes over and will make you feel more agitated, more active. Which means you sort of “missed” the ideal time to go to bed calmly. The same happens in the morning. If you wake up at the crack of dawn, you are supported by the right energies to start your day. Preferably, you start your day slowly with a nice self-care routine (such as: stretch and yawn, take some deep breaths, do a short meditation, a yoga pose or two, a shower, a face massage, a cup of warm water with lemon, etc.) and only after that, you start with the more active part of your day, at around 7h30AM or 8AM.
I’ve been following this routine for some time now, and I stick to it in a very disciplined way and I have never felt so good. Now and then, I decide to sleep in and skip the routine and I feel the difference IMMEDIATELY! The moment I skip this routine, I feel like I have less energy, my digestion is disturbed or I am not as focused and clear in my mind. I guarantee you’ll feel a difference too, so give it a try!
Finally, if you want a qualitative sleep, make sure your bed is clean and cosy. That your room is tidy and void of clutter. That the room inspires calmness and serenity. Favour dark colours or soothing colours instead of bright colours. Darker tones have a more yin energy, which is the right energy for resting. No electronics, phones, TV, or desk in the room! Remember that the bedroom is for sleeping, not working or agitating your mind with movies or electromagnetic fields. Make sure you feel really good in your bedroom and cleanse it every morning by opening the windows and letting the fresh air in.
If you have problems falling asleep, try drinking a Golden Milk before bed and listening to soothing music or a guided meditation (or body scan).
Heavy digestion = heavy body
Ok, so we’ve covered breath, mindfulness and sleep. Per day we have a million of thoughts to digest and that’s a lot to handle. Adding to that we also eat a lot and hence have a lot of food to digest as well. If our body gets too much food and info to digest, it starts protesting. By either becoming exhausted or giving you heartburn, bowel problems, and so on.
I’m not going to go into detail in what I think is an ideal meal plan, because I’ve covered this already in my other articles. But to sum up, if you want to feel good about yourself, serene, and balanced, you’ll need to:
- Watch your sugar intake!! (Processed) Sugar is like a toxic drug to the body and creates a lot of malfunctioning in the bowel. Since the bowel is our second brain, if it malfunctions all the other bodily functions follow suit. So limit all sugars as much as possible. You will feel alive in no time. AND you will manage your emotions and stress better. Less sugar and a healthy diet = less stress and less mood swings!
- Eat at much fresh foods as you can. Vary between raw and steamed fresh vegetables. Raw is not good for everyone though, so test some things and see how it works for you.
- Drink lots of water!! Preferably good quality water (the best is if you can drink straight from a source or well). If you drink tap water, then check out if you can purchase a water filter or system that purifies your water, such as the reversed osmosis process.
- Do regular intermittent fasting or detox now and then. This gives a break to your digestive system and it gives time to your body to fully eliminate its toxins. Usually we are constantly on toxin overload and the liver can’t manage anymore, which also causes fatigue and strong emotions like anger.
- Avoid foods that will ask a lot of energy from your digestive system, such as dairy, gluten, meat, and processed foods. Reducing or avoiding these foods will definetely make you feel less stressed, lighter on your feet and focused.
Laughter is the best therapy!
Last but not least: in these somewhat “dark” times, we tend to forget to laugh. Since we are surrounded by negative news and energy, it is easy to sink into a somber mood. But a good laugh, good music, a funny joke, can lighten up your spirits in no time!
Try to look at life from a different perspective! Look at the bright side. Be grateful for all the positive things that you have in your life. Every time you think of those things and that you are grateful, you feel much happier and lighter. Leave the negativity aside, and focus on good news and clear objectives. Read books that inspire you. Smile every time you think of it.
Use humour with everything! Take things lightly. When everyone around you is stressed and frustrated, try to make them laugh. Even saying something absurd can turn a tense situation around. Look at life as if you were a child, as if everything you see is new and miraculous. As if you’ve put on your PINK glasses 🙂
And there we are! We’ve covered the 5 things your body needs in time of stress. It might seem a lot to apply, but it’s not. And I can guarantee you that it works! Me and all my clients (who apply it) are proof of that. So trust us in this one, and if it stresses you out: JUST BREATHE! 🙂