Tailoring Our Habits

We all have daily habits, some we established by accident or during childhood. Today, now more than ever, we need to be mindful of our treatment to our bodies and minds. Are our actions helping us or making matters worse? Below are some highlighted behaviors we do on auto-pilot, and while habits in some capacity are a good thing, the proceeding one’s are worth further inquiry.

Meal Skipping: I’m beyond guilty of skipping breakfast, well, perhaps any meal if I’m that “busy” or trying another bullsh*t diet. Let’s face it: food is human fuel. So, why does skipping a meal negatively impact us? One major cause is an imbalance in blood sugar levels, which can cause anxiety, stress, lethargy, headaches, loss of mental and physical balance, and a plethora of discombobulation. If your time doesn’t permit a proper full meal, nosh on healthy snacks such as peanuts, fruit, vegetables with hummus, or whip up a scrambled egg. The overall goal is to refrain from starving your brain, the primary battery of our body. 

Skipping on Water: Dehydration falls hand-in-hand with our body and brain needing food. Though, frequently, our body confuses hunger for thirst. If you’re hungry, eat a healthy snack, but also chug on water. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times and refill it often. Water also has a magical power to flip mood swings in a positive direction. A good proportion of our stubbornness, irritability, and stress is from dehydration, so, drink up on that H2O! This month, join me in drinking more water each day, and if it helps, set reminders or place post-its all over the abode.

Coffee Breaks: I can’t begin my day without coffee. With two kids, a home to run, clients to help, and in our new reality, I need that cup-of-Joe twofold. But the downfall of caffeine are the aftereffects of jitters and heightened angst. Much like in the preceding paragraph, chug on water after coffee, and chug on the water when feeling tired. Coffee is a great, but be sure you are balancing it with your H2O intake! 

Cocktails: We all enjoy happy hour, but there are times it is too often, or we unknowingly become dependent upon that 5 pm drink. I love an occasional glass of chilled red wine, particularly during the summer. Still, I have learned it’s paramount to be mindful of our drinking habits. While alcohol can temporarily ease stress, it is a band-aid to rigors we are facing. And, often, increases anxiety, which is a result of the dehydration effect of alcohol. My new rule is for every glass of wine; I ingest a full glass of water. It’s essential to never depend on alcohol or any substance as an emotional crutch as our predicaments are right where we left them. If you’re up for the challenge, join me in going dry for a month as it does wonders for the body, skin, mind, and mood.

Cellphone Overload: Even pre-COVID, I was on my phone habitually; checking email, messages, social media platforms, and admiring daily pictures. The backlash of phone consumption impacts healthy sleep and our self-esteem thus creating anxiety from cellphone fixation. If there is a time to turn off the phone, it’s before bed. This is not a natural habit to create, but a practice we should implement, myself included. Today, during the pandemic, many are hooked to their phones due to online events, Zoom, and whatever way one can connect with the outside world. With that said, we need to learn to balance where being online is nourishing our positive wellbeing vs negatively impacting our self-esteem and worth. 

Forgetting to Breathe: This sounds funny, but it’s valid. We forget to breathe because it’s a natural process of the human body. From today on, focus on your breathing. Take a few seconds to stop, drop, and take in three large inhale and exhale cycles. This very act is therapeutic for the brain and can wane stress overtime. If you meditate, fab, then keep it up. But if you’re like me and can’t sit and meditate beyond five minutes, focus on deep breathing when you cook, clean, folding laundry, during yoga stretches, in the shower, and you name it. Being mindful of your breath encourages you to slow down, be present, and calms the psyche in today’s ever hectic world.

Junk Food: I relish Doritos and Reese’s Pieces. My husband, on the other hand, is doing a superior job of clean eating. As busy parents, it is easy to make a pizza or mac and cheese (my favorite!), but since my husband has started working with leading nutritionist Leslie Burman, his culinary habits have altered for the better. When he’s eating well, it inspires the rest of the family to join him, and we’ve noticed a change not only in body but in mind and spirit. There’s a lot to be said for mood-boosting foods such as salmon, blueberries, and avocado for creating happier and positive mindsets.

Making wise food choices is not a simple task; it is something you have to make a concerted effort to learn and commit to each day. I’d be remiss not to thank Leslie Burman for her food and nutrition teachings, and reminding our family about mindful eating. To say she saved my husband’s life is an understatement. Next time you’re about to grab a bag of chips or candy (which I still do from time to time) opt for an apple, a handful of blueberries or a few almonds, and of course, chug that water, too! 

{Mindfully curated by Debra Gudema for Well&Co.}

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