A wellness series - Part one: The Physical Domain
The Physical Domain
Have you ever found yourself stuck in a cycle of unhealthy relationships, toxic patterns of behaviour or an overwhelming feeling of “Eh, there must be more than this?” We have all been here at some point, I like to think of it as our internal computer telling us it’s time for a service – Take stock of your wellness. So much of the time, when we feel like this we need to look for where the imbalance is in our body, mind and soul. We are going to take an in-depth look at what makes up our wellness and how we can start to regain some balance. We must first look at what wellness is and then dissect these pieces to better understand what is required from us to be the healthiest versions of ourselves.
Wellness is more than just the absence of illness, it includes your emotional, social, physical, spiritual and creative segments of who we are. Wellness is an awareness and the process of change and growth within these areas, to live a high-quality life that is fulfilling and healthy on all levels.
I like the how the wellness institute describes it for us as "a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential." - The National Wellness Institute
We will be breaking these segments down into more detail over this wellness blog series!
Physical wellness embraces an array of healthy behaviours that we can adopt, let’s take a look at the following: Exercise, nutrition, sleep/rest, medical check-up, preventative measures, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) screening.
Releases endorphins, improved motivation, manages weight, positive body image, improves brain health and memory, provides a sense of accomplishment, give us with energy, encourage discipline, helps with stress release, it can be a healthy coping technique for your toolbox and it reduces the risk of heart disease with an added benefit of creating a routine which also reduces anxiety.
Improved mood, creates a sense of responsibility, manages weight, results create a desire to keep going. Perseverance, it improves brain health and memory, food feeds our brain- literally. Good nutrition creates a positive relationship with food and provides us with energy, it helps form good eating habits, nutrition helps with stress release and reduces cravings, reduces risk of heart disease, cancers, strokes, osteoporosis and prevents illness by improving our ability to fight off disease. Good nutrition improves sleeping patterns, reduces cholesterol and blood pressure as well as improving self-image.
Sometimes TIME can be the biggest issue for us in today's busy day to day lives, here are some ways around this:
Exercise ideas for busy schedules
1) Wake up half an hour earlier
2) Use 20 minutes of your lunch break
3) Get your kids to join you in a home exercise routine
4) Put it in your diary and treat it as you would any other appointment
5) Use spare minutes you have i.e: Do 20 jumping jacks the first time you boil the kettle, then 20 squats the next time and so on. Soon it will become something you want to prioritise because the energy burst will feel so good
6) Go for family walks
7) Join a dance class or a yoga class, find something you enjoy. If money is tight, find a dance-along exercise routine and follow it at home
Nutrition and time ideas:
1) Cook enough dinner to have leftovers for lunch
2) Do all your cooking on a Sunday and freeze meals for the day
3) Invest in a blender and have healthy smoothies on the go
4) See a nutritionist or a dietician to see what eating lifestyle best suits your blood group, body type and personality
5) Start small by replacing every 2nd sugary high-calorie drinks with naturally flavoured water. Cut down from 2 sugars in your coffee to 1 sugar. Set achievable goals, you want to set yourself up for success.
6) Be kind to yourself, one day at a time
We all are guilty of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of our schedules with families, social engagements and work and because of this, we tend to treat sleep as a luxury... I hate to break it to you busybodies but sleep is a necessity. Here is what research has shown us about a lack of sleep: It is linked to weight gain “In one extensive review study, children and adults with short sleep duration were 89% and 55% more likely to become obese, respectively.” - NCBI. Sleep is also linked to positive brain function and memory, with an improvement in cognitive function and problem-solving skills. When we get good quality sleep we see improvement in athletic performance, emotional regulation and an improved attention span. Research is also showing us that sleep clears toxins in our brains while we sleep. Looking at all of this makes me want to give my body the and brain the sleep it deserves.
Here are some tips on how you can improve your sleep:
1. Set a timer to remind you when you should be going to bed, it is easy to get caught up in life and by the time we realise what time it is, we have been watching tv until 11 pm. 2. Avoid caffeine before bed. 3. Exercise a few hours before bed and not directly before. 4. Keep your room dark (Blackout curtains) 5. Have a comfortable mattress and pillows 6. Avoid screen time directly before bed, find a wind-down bedtime routine 7. Use sleep or meditation apps to help you relax
The last thing we are going to discuss in this post is medical checks. Although wellness is not just the absence of disease and illness, it does still play a part. Prevention is better than cure. We need to take responsibility for our health and schedule yearly health checks with a doctor and make necessary adjustments if you have high blood pressure, high sugar levels etc make the changes to prevent more serious complications and diseases down the line. Part of health checks are STI screenings, knowing is better than guessing. Not knowing if you have an STI can add to stress levels. We underestimate how much our subconscious holds for us. STI’s and status do not have to be an added stress to hold at the back of your mind. There are treatments available and information on prevention, research developments and cures. The following are just some of the places you can go for STI screenings:
Marie stopes clinics: 080 011 7785
Zuzimpilo Clinic: 011 336 2860
Get-tested: 011 268 1963
Call and make an appointment with your General Practitioner (GP) and get yourself checked and on the road to wellness. You are important, let's all take some time to nurture our physical health. The next post we will look at Social wellness! Happy wellness everyone! The above article does not replace medical, psychological, psychiatric, health or fitness advice or diagnosis by any qualified professional in the wellness and mental health sphere. The information provided in the above article is provided for general information and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any action based on such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. The use or reliance of any information contained in this article is solely at your own discretion.
Brain Food: GCBH Recommendations on Nourishing Your Brain Health. (2018). doi: 10.26419/pia.00019.00 Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/understanding-Sleep
Walton, A. G. (2016, December 15). 7 Ways Sleep Affects The Brain (And What Happens If It Doesn't Get Enough). Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2016/12/09/7-ways-sleep-affects-the-brain-and-what-happens-if-it-doesnt-get-enough/#74db086a753c