Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.
– Simone de Beauvoir
Most of the ladies while working at home or in office get exhausted by the evening and they don’t feel like doing any exercise or other activity except sitting in front of a TV or resting in bed due to fatigue. This is due to physical as well as mental tiredness. The brain as well as body gets tired and exhausted if you are doing multitasking or doing things haphazardly without a plan. Both the mind and the body get stressed. Muscles of the neck, shoulder, and back get tensed. Once the body and mind are stressed, tired and exhausted, we cannot give our best and this creates further tension, anxiety, and stress leading to emotional and social problems at home and workplace. All this is due to a lack of planning the day. The simple planning of the next day on the night before can help to avoid stress and bring peace and happiness at home.
Elisabeth Ann Waldo, an American violinist, composer, songwriter, conductor, and ethnomusicologist has completed 100 years on 18th June 2018. She was born in Tacoma, Washington and is a descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson. She grew up on her family ranch at the edge of the Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington State. Probably her childhood healthy lifestyle remained with her throughout life which gave her longevity.
Dr. Dean Ornish, the famous cardiologist said that “People turned to think of breakthroughs in medicine as a new drug, a laser, or a high-tech surgical procedure. They often have a hard time believing that the simple choices that we make in our lifestyle – what we eat, how we respond to stress, whether or not we smoke cigarettes, how much exercise we get, and the quality of our relationships and support – can be as powerful as drugs and surgery. But they often are.”
Plan your day
Develop a habit of writing your plan in a diary. Daily read the diary and principles of life and stick to these. Daily reading will impregnate these things in your mind and will motivate also. The salient features of planning are:
_ Stick to your regimen
_ Be happy and remain happy
_ No anger – no negativity – be Positive
_ Keep yourself busy but relaxed also
_ Don’t waste time
_ Sleep an optimum time of 6 to 8 hours but not excessively.
_ Do regular exercise
_ Eat a low-fat, natural, plant-based diet
_ Do self-oil body massage regularly. An olive oil body massage will help to bring new energy into the body and will also improve lymph circulation and thus boost the immune system. Do it on alternate days or two days a week to save time.
_ Develop a habit of keeping an article at its designated place – if you use it again put it back to the same place so no tension of searching for it when required urgently. The bad habit of not designating a place or not putting the thing back to the same place leads to daily tension and stress in most of the houses.
_ Get up early morning, so sleep early. First, wash your face with cold freshwater so that you don’t feel sleepy.
_ Brush your teeth. You must brush your teeth by sweeping brush from above down and both outside and inside for about 1-2 minutes.
_ Massage gums with toothpaste on finger about 30 seconds by the watch to get its benefits. It will make gums healthy and will avoid diseases of gums and teeth which are common when we grow old.
_ Put your feet in warm water for few minutes and take care of your nails, massage toes and cut nails. Do it once a week.
_ Eat three to four almonds, one fig and one walnut in morning and evening.
_ Do spot jogging for 10000 steps or go out and do brisk walk and jogging.
_ Do “sun salutation” ten times in a day, it will hardly take five-six minutes. Try to meditate on each stretch during sun salutation and feel it simultaneously.
_ Do neck exercises. Sit or stand erect. Move head first to the front (flexion) then to the back (extension) and then to sides, first right and then left.
_ Shoulder exercises, eyeball exercises, and spinal twist:
_ See up and down then right and then left, five times,
_ Sit on the floor with one leg bend and other leg crossing the first, do with other legs the same way five times.
_ Sit on the floor on carpet or blanket bend forward and touch toes of both feet with both hands then bend one knee and touch toes of other foot then repeat with other legs. Repeat five times.
_ Lie on your back, bend knees and elevate your spine from the ground and hold it in this position, count, 1, 2, 3 and then touch the ground with the back. Repeat five times.
_ Stand or sit and abduct both arms, bent at the elbow, fingers touch shoulder, then make circles with elbows first clockwise and then anti-clockwise 15 times each.
Get up early
The Greek philosopher Aristotle said, that “it is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth and wisdom.” Echoing similar sentiments, Benjamin Franklin (1735) wrote “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” He used to wake up at 5 am the importance of getting up early is understood by humans from time immemorial. Most successful persons are early risers. This gives them long working hours and also time to relax and to pass quality time with family. Most of the early risers do morning exercise, maybe cycling or workout in a gym, daily or 3-4 times a week and this healthy habit makes them energetic and happy also.
Early rise also gives you sufficient time to prepare healthy breakfast leisurely, prepare children for school, without unnecessary hurry which leads to stress and sickness. You can have a cup of tea with your husband while reading the newspaper without any hurry. You can plan your whole day in the early morning or on the night before sleeping without any distractions. Every successful, wealthy and healthy person has to plan his or her day carefully so that there is no wastage of time and at the same time more time is there at your disposal each day which makes your daily schedule smooth and stress-free. An Early rise finishes the rush for schedules and also the rush of adrenaline, a stress hormone, damaging your body systems.
Early to bed is a sensible habit to be adopted as it gives you sufficient sleeping time, about 8 hours in general. Most Indian housewives can’t afford to sleep for the optimum period of 6 to 8 hours which is essential for health. The early to bed habit also avoids post-dinner grazing which is stored in the body as fat as it is not utilized. You may become an insomniac and a night-owl. Most of the night owls skip breakfast and have low energy in the morning affecting their life and work. Lack of sleep makes you nervous and stressed which may lead to hypertension and heart disease. Early to bed gives you less time to party, which means less food intake and less alcohol consumption, leading to better health.
If you go to bed early you have plenty of energy in the morning and enjoy your workout, otherwise, you will feel exhausted and will avoid a workout, which is also harmful. You will be burning the candle by both ends, eating more and not doing workouts. Sleeping early also avoids plenty of tea and coffee thus limiting your caffeine consumption. If you are relaxed and not stressed you are not irritated and have a better relationship with your spouse, friends and family members. You don’t feel isolated and fall sick less than others, especially those who don’t sleep early. Your memory may become weak if you avoid sleep of eight hours. If you sleep less by not going to bed early you become a more negative thinker.
Don’t skip breakfast: Eat healthy breakfast daily
Breakfast is the first and most important meal of the day. It must not be avoided or omitted. People omit breakfast to reduce weight but it actually adds weight as when you skip breakfast, you attack food more when hungry without going into details of calorie contents of the meal. Breakfast reduces hunger pangs throughout the day and helps in controlling weight. So, regular breakfast actually helps in avoiding obesity and heart disease. Breakfast basically refers to breaking the fasting period of the night.
Breakfast is important for all, especially for children. A balanced breakfast reduces the risk of certain diseases such as peptic ulcer and metabolic diseases. Researchers have now for certain ignored any benefits of ignoring breakfast and established the benefits of regular and healthy breakfast for everybody, adult or child, male or female.
A healthy breakfast provides us energy, protein, fibers, vitamins, and minerals which are essential for the body to carry on the whole day’s work with energy and satiety. According to the American Diabetic Association, after a healthy breakfast, you feel relaxed and your concentration on work at home or office will improve with better performance and results. Children who eat regular breakfast perform better in the classroom as well as in the playground. So it was rightly said, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” A woman, whether a housewife or a working lady, requires a lot of mental and physical energy to cope with work at home and office contrary to men. She has to work on both fronts.
Do regular morning stretch and work-out
Everybody must do some physical exercise daily irrespective of age and sex to keep fit and healthy. Physical exercise is defined as any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. It is rightly said that physical exercise reduces the risk of diseases of affluence or prosperity – i.e. obesity, diabetes type 2, heart disease and hypertension, all of these are invited by rich foods and sedentary habits. These diseases are no more for males only, women are increasingly suffering from these diseases.
Most of the successful and wealthy people get up early and plan their day in the morning before setting a foot out so they know their goals and events of the day clearly and can do the things without any confusion and stress. This makes them relaxed and happy the whole day. Persons who exercise regularly don’t fall sick frequently due to a strong immune system that physical exercise gives. Regular physical activity gives you relaxation and also alleviates stress and gives sound sleep and thus helps in your household work and also in office career growth also. It makes you feel and look healthy and smart, it also improves your sex life. Regular physical exercise also improves your tolerance and handling stress both at office and home.
You have to plan a daily schedule of physical exercise to live longer. This habit must be inculcated in children also as childhood obesity is a growing global concern. As a mother, it is your duty to provide good health for children. There are more chances that an obese mother will pass obesity to her offsprings. The process for longevity must be started in childhood. Physical training at schools and NCC (National Cadet Corps) training are quite helpful physical exercises. In the USA, the Surgeon general’s advice is quite clear about physical exercise. It says every adult should participate in moderate exercises, such as walking, swimming, and household tasks, for a minimum of 30 minutes daily.
Melinda Gates is the wife of Bill Gates and is one of the most powerful women in the world. She is co-chairperson at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She is a famous philanthropist and a great helping hand to the poor and to also working to remove poverty from the map of the world. She married Bill Gates in 1994. She feels that she has a responsibility to give back to the world. She follows the Catholic faith. She was awarded by President Obama, “Presidential Medal of Freedom”, the highest American civilian award for her work in health and poverty in the USA and abroad. She follows a healthy and austere lifestyle. She doesn’t believe in a waste of money or resources. She brought up her three children on the same principles which she advises others.
Physical exercises are grouped into 3 groups – aerobic, anaerobic and flexibility exercises. Aerobic exercises are best for the heart and lungs, though all exercises are good for the health of the immune system. The aerobic exercises are cycling, walking, running, swimming, tennis, etc. Earlier, in India skipping rope was a very common sport among girls but now it is no more seen. This is one of the best aerobic exercises. Anaerobic exercises are mainly resistance training which improves muscle and bone strength. They also help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis which is a common problem in women. Flexibility exercises are stretching exercises, and help muscle and joint mobility. So in your plan of daily regular morning workouts, you should try to include all the three types of exercises. Weight lifting can increase systolic blood pressure at the time of exercise but later reduces it. It is also proved by researches that regular exercise may increase life expectancy and quality of life. It reduces mortality and slowing of aging. The researchers have also found a relationship between exercise and cancer. Physical inactivity may increase the risk of colon and breast cancer and physical activity may reduce their risk, is still under research.
Keep a few minutes away for meditation in the morning
The habit of doing meditation to reduce the level of stress helps in adding years to your life. You have to give some time to meditation in your daily morning program. Meditation is for everybody, age or sex is no bar. One can meditate from childhood to old age. Meditation is not a religion-based practice so people of all faiths can do it. Moreover, meditation can be achieved through speech, by listening to the sounds of speech, breathing, concentrating on breathing or on sight. A University of Kentucky, USA, research found that meditation boosts performances in tests that measure attention. People taught to meditate did better on tests compared with their earlier performances. Meditation also improved performance after the subjects had lost a night’s sleep.
MrsKhandelwal, 46 years female was working as a public relations officer in a publishing house. She developed sleeping problems. She would not get sleep till 2 or 3 am in the morning. So, when she used to get up around 9 am, she used to feel sleepy, weak and irritable. This went on for six months and started reflecting on her health. She looked weak, pale and run down. She was also irregular about meals – she consulted a physician who examined her and investigated her blood tests, ECG and X-ray which were normal. She was given vitamin supplements and sleeping pills with advice to see a nutritionist. She was advised a balanced diet. She improved but could not be cured. So she saw a neuro physician, who diagnosed the root cause of her problem – stress. He found that her level of stress was very high and increased levels of stress hormones were causing havoc in her life and derailing it completely. He made a plan for her which included certain changes in lifestyle, diet and stress-busting meditation. She was told to plan the day without any hurry and worry and take everything normally. No need to get excited or stressed or anxious if any work is getting delayed. She was told to cut down sugar and fat from the diet and eat fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables. Take a glass of warm milk without sugar before going to bed and 4-6 almonds daily with breakfast. Don’t skip breakfast and eat whole grain cereals and fruit yogurt. She was also advised to do yoga and meditation daily. She is now trained by a yoga teacher for yoga and meditation. She has started doing yoga and meditation regularly, 7 days a week along with changes in lifestyle and diet. After realizing the benefits of meditation and yoga, she became hooked to it like an addiction. Now it is 7 months since she started these changes in her life. Her energy, happiness, and purpose in life have returned. She is feeling more healthy and sleeping well for six hours daily.
The benefits of meditation are due to its calming effect on the brain. Dr. Herbert Benson, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, USA, has found that meditation decreases oxygen consumption by up to 17 percent, reduces heart rate by three beats per minute and increases theta brainwaves. It is a scientific fact that meditation slows down the aging process. Dr Dean Ornish, the head of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, USA, recently published his study in Lancet Oncology, recommending lifestyle changes, such as a diet rich in fibre, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and soy products, moderate exercise like walking for half an hour a day and an hour of stress management methods like meditation.
Have a regular sleep
A regular and approximately 8 hours’ sleep is a must for an adult to avoid stress, irritability, and lack of concentration. You have to concentrate while making your day-to-day schedule. The lack of good quality rest is one of the most common causes of susceptibility to illness, and a good night’s rest is an effective healing technique that will abort many incipient illnesses. Therefore, improving the quality of rest and sleep should be another priority in a program aimed at enhancing your healing capacity.
Lack of sleep makes you irritable, lethargic and tired. You cannot concentrate on difficult and complex situations. Studies show that shift workers have higher rates of breast cancer than women who are able to sleep normal hours. Two possible culprits are the hormones melatonin and cortisone. Melatonin is an antioxidant that mops up damaging free radicals, but the body produces less of it when sleep cycles are disrupted. Cortisone, which helps regulate the immune system, may also be compromised by troubled sleep. A Yale University report says that people who sleep less than six hours a day regularly doubled their risk of diabetes mellitus and those who sleep for more than eight hours triple the risk.
Plan your diet
It is confirmed by various studies that a natural, low-fat, vegetarian diet gives you the best of health and it must be balanced as it should have sufficient protein, minerals, and other essential nutrients. A healthy diet helps to maintain and improve your overall health. It provides you an adequate amount of calories and essential nutrients required by your body to maintain health. A healthy balanced diet also lowers health risks, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. If you can shop for your food, it is very good to do. I always purchase food items with my wife for my family and pass a good time reading the labels of nutritional facts, as now in India it is almost mandatory to have labels of nutritional facts. This helps to purchase and keep stored healthy and low-fat nutritional food items at home and avoiding junk foods. It is advised to go for a low-fat, natural and vegetarian diet. David L. Katz, an expert on diet, indicates that a diet of minimally processed foods, close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion….. It is important to limit the fat intake, salt and sugar consumption, avoidance of nonvegetarian food and alcohol. Moderate alcohol is beneficial for health, but one who doesn’t take alcohol should not start as it is not recommended for everyone. In India, the taboo of alcohol taken by a female is gradually dying down in metros.
Taking a glass of wine at office parties or domestic parties is not taken as an awkward thing now. Reduce the intake of energy drinks and energy-dense foods, processed meats, and red meat. Develop the habit of eating fruits and salads. Avoid fruit juices and instead, go for whole fruit. WHO indicates that 2.7 million people die annually due to the lack of fruits and vegetables.
Do deep abdominal breathing or pranayama
The technique of Deep Abdominal Breathing:
When we are in stress we breathe from the chest and it is shallow breathing. When we breathe from the diaphragm (abdominal), it is deep breathing. Shallow or chest breathing utilizes 85 to 90 percent of lung capacity and doesn’t utilize the remaining 10-15 percent of lung capacity, so there is less oxygen in the blood, and also less vitality and freshness.
_ Stand or sit or lie down, inhale deeply from the diaphragm, pushing out the abdomen without moving your chest and count, 1, 2, 3, 4 slowly in your mind while inhaling, hold your breath by counting 1 to 16 in your mind. Exhale by pushing the abdomen in and not moving the chest and counting from 1 to 8 in your mind. Repeat it five times.
_ Daily after 24 hours introspect your schedule of the past 24 hours and see what mistakes you have made, promise yourself not to repeat it buy doing this procedure daily your performance will also improve as well as your satisfaction.
_ The day you have to go to a party in the evening, take only liquid, fruits and salad in the day and avoid lunch.
The take-home message is to plan your day properly and add a few years more to your life span by avoiding unnecessary stress and worry. Planning the day intelligently brings you good health, better wealth and the best of long life years.
By Dr. V. K. Nigam