Amidst this pandemic, we are being divinely guided and urged to take better care of ourselves. Finally, we can no longer sit idly and use endless amounts of excuses for constantly abusing our bodies! Therefore, looking after our physical and emotional health is of the utmost importance NOW! This IS our wake up call!
So, let us briefly look into how to protect and nourish our body, mind and soul.
1- One of the greatest and oldest physicians of all times, Hippocrates, said: Let food be thy medicine, meaning - everything we consume should not only be nourishing but it should also be protective. This translates to, eating food that is packed with essential nutrients and antioxidants, to nourish our bodies as well as to boost our immune system. Fresh, organic (if possible) hormone/ pesticide/ preservative/ MSG free and non GMO, in brief!
Another major point that I have decided to add here, is the regular consumption of Probiotics (healthy gut bacteria). It is absolutely crucial to incorporate it in our daily lives, whether it is via pill form or fermented food. Scientific research has proven the direct link between gut and brain health, i.e the healthier your gut, the better your brain function and vice versa!
2- Our skin is the largest organ in our body. Therefore, anything that we introduce to it, be it - beauty products, daily skin care habits, hair products, clothing, our bedding etc, gets absorbed by our skin and eventually enters our bodies. I am quite sure that most of us by now are aware of some of the harmful substances that are present in all non organic products, such as -Parabens, SLS, Aluminum, Formaldehyde and mineral oils, to name a few. However, do we actually understand what the cumulative affects of these extremely toxic substances have on our bodies? One of the major affects on us females is hormonal disruption, and so, by regular use of these toxic products, many women end up having all kinds of issues related to their monthly cycle, fertility issues (polycystic ovaries), thyroid problems etc. Moreover, another detrimental result of the regular use of these toxic substances over time may be cancer! Yes, the big C! Many articles have discussed the carcinogenic effect (cancer causing) of some of these substances on lab. animals and on humans.
3- One of the most crucial points that many may neglect is SLEEP! And by sleep, I mean - proper, wholesome, night sleep - early, sufficient, continuous and regular hours, away from all gadgets and electronics! Why? Because that’s how our bodies detoxify and build our immunity! One of, or actually THE most crucial organ in our body with over 500 known functions is our beloved Liver, a major body detoxifier. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there is a biological clock for when organs are most active, and if we happen to be up and awake, they become less effective in their function. The following is the night time schedule for the organs: 1 am - 3am is the Liver, 3am - 5am is the Lungs, 5 am - 7 am is the Large Intestine and 7 am - 9 am is the Stomach (there is a day clock for the rest of the organs as well). So, by 11 pm at the latest, we should all be retiring to our beds for wholesome sleep.
4- "Daily Healthy Practices"
These include all activities from the time you wake up until the time you sleep.
A- So, let us start from the morning. What is your routine? Is your phone the first thing you look at when you wake up? Do you check your emails/Calls/ Messages/Social media/News first thing in the morning? .....I would highly advise against all unless it is absolutely necessary, let me explain. The manner in which we start our day is extremely important on the outlook of our whole day. Performing the above activities may cause unnecessary stress or anxiety, which will eventually be reflected on our thoughts and on our mood throughout our day. Instead, having a daily, short morning meditation practice to ground and balance our energies is best, even if it is for just 10 minutes (you can even do it while you’re still in bed!). Also, the more stressful/busy your lifestyle is, the more you will need to take short breaks to meditate throughout the day, even if it is for just 5 minutes! And always remember to BREEEEAAATTTHHHEEE!
B- Try to be aware and stay away from any negative or toxic energies around you, be it -news, people, situations, your own thoughts! Etc.
C- Engage in laughter, fun and light hearted activities as much as you can. It energizes the mind and soul!
D- Earthing!!! Yes! When was the last time your bare feet touched soil? Grass? Sand? Mother earth in all it’s glory .....earthing everyday and connecting with nature is extremely important for balancing our energies and removing free radicals and toxins from our bodies ( you may look up earthing for more info).
E- Vitamin D! Our number one immune booster. If and when possible, regular exposure to the sun is vital, while taking necessary precautions.
F- Two other excellent ways to detoxify is by having epsom salt baths (epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, which is a natural muscle relaxant) and by using infrared saunas, when ever possible.
G- Drinking organic, herbal, non caffeinated tea. One of my favorite and regular practices throughout the day. I also keep aside - organic powdered turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and mushroom (many organic medicinal mushrooms are readily available now, such as: Lion’s mane, Chaga, Reishi, Turkey tail etc) separately, to add.
H- Practicing mindfulness and gratitude daily is essential! As we have learnt in these challenging times, our world can change all of a sudden! Always count your blessings, be mindful and be grateful.
I- Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate! We all know the benefits of drinking water but we also need to understand the importance of the quality of water that we drink and use! It makes a huge difference! (there are many articles available that discuss what makes superior quality water, the use of home filtration systems and their benefits). Also, please do NOT drink cold water, it interferes negatively with your body. Room temperature or slightly warm water (close to your body temperature) is best.
J- Alkalinise, alkalinise and alkalinise! Remember, disease does not like an alkaline environment. Simply, buy a large glass flask with a lid and fill it with water. Squeeze half a lime/lemon in it and sip it alongside your regular water throughout the day (you may also add some mint/cucumber/orange if you like). Green smoothies/juices also produce a similar effect.
K- Self check! Self Check! Throughout the day, look into your self and check on your thoughts and feelings. It is very important to be aware of your thoughts and feelings and to stay grounded and balanced. Explore and amend any negativity or imbalance. This may be done by simple deep breathing, self reflection and being in nature, if possible.
L- Daily exercise! Nope, did not forget that! Ideally, exercising during the earlier part of the day keeps us energized and boosts our happy hormones throughout the day. However, I am not a big enthusiast of gyms or fitness centers, or any kind of ‘extreme’ workout. I believe moderation is key and we should be more or less ‘gentle’ on our bodies. So, If you are like me, a 15 - 20 minute (at least) daily routine of stretches for flexibility, core strengthening exercises and using some weights for toning and stability, and a few minutes of aerobics to pump up the blood and lymph should suffice (an excellent and simple way is to invest in a small trampoline - best rebounding exercise). Also, remember proper breathing while stretching and exercising!
Moreover, if you are carrying extra weight, then it is imperative in investing more time and energy in exercising and eating a well balanced diet, where it becomes a lifestyle and not just a phase! (a healthy ketogenic diet may be best suited if possible), also (*for emotional eaters/eating disorders, psychological assistance may be necessary).
M- Journaling. Some people swear by it. It is a healthy way of self checking and reflecting on our thoughts and on our feelings at the end of the day, while also allowing us to review them in the future.
N- Lastly, bedtime. By ten o’clock we should all be switching off from the world. I highly recommend listening to “healing frequencies” and “binaural beats “ on YouTube, there are lots of options there. Not only does this music helps you to relax, but also, certain vibrations/beats in the music helps you to go into a meditative state and eventually, it allows you to have deep and restful sleep (by stimulating certain brain waves). You can do this whilst relaxing with a nice book/sipping chamomile tea/lighting a candle (soy based preferably with a light aroma, nothing too strong)/ deep breathing/ meditation/ prayer/ mantra of your choice.
5- "Regular health practices"-
A- How often do we spend our money and our time on practices that only enhance us superficially but actually have no real value on our bodies and on our psyche? Instead of having weekly manicures or other unnecessary indulgences, may I suggest frequently visiting energy/ breathwork/ spiritual - healers/ practitioners/ workshops/ talks, to balance and ground your energies and also to enhance your understanding of self and spirituality?
B- Another fun thing you can also do if you have a close group of friends or people that are interested, is meet during a full moon/new moon regularly and practice meditation of your choice by using - singing bowls, gongs, drumming, chanting, deep breathing etc. These practices are truly grounding, bonding and also so empowering!
Finally, I close this article by saying, “ a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Thus, incorporating these daily, simple and healthy practices can be initiated at any point in our lives, and by staying focused and disciplined on our health goals, we can reach our optimal physical and mental health in no time! Moreover, studies have shown that on average, it takes us 66 days to learn a new habit (depending on how habit resistant/non resistant you are!) Thus, It’s never too late to start a healthy routine folks!
And lastly, a very crucial point that I would like to add if this is the only point that you should take from this article is, in this day and age of our manic social media, there is absolutely no excuse in staying ignorant or uninformed! Please please please! Look up and follow ethical and conscientious health care practitioners/providers that advocate true, holistic and organic medicine. There are an abundance of them on social media and they may end up saving your or your loved one’s life one day! Never EVER follow “experts” blindly! ALWAYS fact check, do your own research and use your discernment! Enough said. :)
So, stay calm, stay grounded, stay safe, stay mindful, stay aware, stay focused and stay in good health.
Much love and light to all you lovely beings,
Dr. Alya Al Suwaidi
Medical doctor and holistic health enthusiast.