Resolutions to be healthier and feel better are common at the beginning of a new year. With that in mind, Bastyr faculty and students were asked to offer their best advice and ideas to improve the health of our community. The following tips represent some of the “collective wisdom” of Bastyr. It is not meant to be comprehensive or specific and those with health concerns are urged to see a licensed health care provider. But if you’re looking for general guidelines to improve your life and your health, read on:
PLAY – It’s the antidote to genetic and immune damage from chronic stress.
- Turn off your TV/computer. Try board games, card games and old standbys freeze-tag, hide-and-go-seek, kick-the-can, kickball.
- Go outside and play whenever you can. Scream, laugh and run around.
- Don’t be afraid to be silly.
- Work only as hard as you play.
- Sing more often.
- Animals and kids provide perfect excuses to play, so use them.
SLEEP – Your body heals itself while you sleep, so let your body heal.
- Everyone needs a good night’s sleep.
- Find natural ways to help sleep at night, instead of relying on drugs.
- Eating and exercising before bed leads to restless sleep.
SPIRITUALITY – It comes in all different forms, so find what works for you.
- Pray or meditate regularly.
- Connect with others.
- Find the support you need.
- Help someone. Smile at people, esp. those you don’t know or those that scare you.
- Make eye contact.
- Take deep breaths to calm and connect with your deeper thoughts.
- Dancing, singing, painting, drawing, designing and being creative can be spiritually satisfying.
FORGIVE – It’s a gift to yourself and others, but only when you are ready.
- Express your anger in healthy ways-thoughtful communication, physical activity and crying are ways to move through anger.
- Apologize when you need to.
- Forgive even when you don’t want to.
- Call your parents and say “thanks.”
NOURISH – Food as medicine, medicine as food.
- Drink lots of clean water, preferably at room temperature or hot.
- Eat a variety and try for at least 5 different colors on your plate.
- Eat whole grains and whole foods.
- Eat what’s in-season and locally/sustainably/organically grown whenever possible.
- Just because it tastes bad doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
- Treat yourself but understand why and be moderate.
- Get rid of the antacids and figure out what’s wrong with your diet.
- Try to get as many of your vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from the food you eat.
- Don’t be afraid of your food. Whether it’s junky or healthy take the time to savor and enjoy completely.
ELIMINATION – Being “regular” is important.
- Go when you need to go, don’t hold it in.
- Think about what you are eating and relax while you eat to better digest food.
- Urinate after sex to help prevent urinary tract irritations and infections.
- Sweating every day via exercise or heat will help detoxify through your skin.
CLEAN – Some exposure to dirt and germs helps your children’s immune system.
- Soap and water is best; don’t overuse the antibacterial cleansers.
- Buy a reusable shower curtain liner and wash at least once a month to get rid of nasty bacteria.
- Buy new pillows every few years, they are dust and drool magnets.
- Wash your hands often.
- Lower your expectations for a “white glove” house.
LAUGH – It boosts your immune system.
- Every day, find a way to joy.
- Pass on a good joke.
- Help others around you laugh.
- Enjoy the company of other people.
NATURE – Natural light stimulates serotonin production.
- Moderate amounts of sunshine are one excellent way to get Vitamin D.
- Open your windows and turn off the air conditioner.
- Don’t be afraid of rain or cold weather, get out in it.
- Do something for Mother Earth. Think Green.
LOVE – Open your heart to receive love.
- Have and enjoy frequent sex.
- Try to be loving in the face of all troubles.
- Express your love in a conscious way.
ACT – It’s your actions that count, not your intentions.
- Stop whining and do something.
- Do things that support your purpose in life.
- Take care of yourself and don’t feel guilty about it.
- Seek out people who restore you and avoid the others.
WALK – It’s an all-ages activity that’s good by yourself or in a group.
- Take the stairs.
- Stop circling the parking lot and park away from the entrance.
- Take a short walk break at lunch.
- Walk and talk with a friend, instead of sitting and eating/drinking.
- Swing your arms when you walk.
EXERCISE – There is something for everyone, go find it.
- Do yoga in bed before you get up in the morning.
- Squeeze your gluteal and abdominal muscles when driving, watching TV or sitting at your desk.
- Especially as you get older, add weight bearing exercise and strength training.
- Make your exercise routine something that is fun to you and have fun every day.
- Find a buddy or a team and establish a pattern.
FEEL – Allow yourself to feel the complete emotions of life, good and bad.
- Listen to your body and respond to the signals.
- Set boundaries so you are not overloaded.
- Trust yourself.
- Find a purpose in life.
- Empathize-put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
SEEK – An active and curious mind helps prevent dementia.
- Ask questions.
- Keep learning.
- Read labels.
- Don’t diagnose and treat yourself, even with “natural” products.
- Find health care providers that treat all of you, not just the latest symptom.
Source: Friedman Nutrition Notes
Date: March / April 2005 Bastyr