I have been under the weather lately, not just a couple of days, but a longer period than that. It’s times like these when the body issues distress calls in the form of flu, cold, headaches, body aches, that jolts me into questioning whether I have been paying attention to my body and how I have been treating it.
I am not an advocate for taking medicine. I have not taken any antibiotics in years. If I have a cold or a flu, I usually tell the doctor I want no medicine as such medicines only suppress the symptoms but do not cure the illness. I particularly detest the painkiller ads on TV, where you see the guy suffering from back pain and taking a painkiller, only to be encouraged to go back to his back breaking work. That’s equivalent to giving some throat lozenges to a smoker with smoker’s cough, to mask the itch, so that the smoker can continue smoking. This is so morally wrong.
The point is, everyone has to listen to their own bodies, and find time to make things right, rather than to take quick fix solutions. Question yourselves, are you working too hard, too long, not exercising enough, always feeling stressed?
Here are my top 5 tips to give the body a break, listen to it for once and regain your health and vitality.
Meditation / Enjoy a calm and peaceful surrounding
We live very stressful lives in Singapore, often having to meet tight deadline after deadline. This is not something that you should accept as the norm. People often forget this when they seek out the highest paying jobs, which often comes with greater stress. Know that this takes a toll on health and has an actual impact to your pocket when the medical bills start racking up. My advise to mitigate this stress, is to take some time out to enjoy some peace and solitude. Meditate if you can. Even going for spas or chilling out at a cafe need not be considered just mere luxury, but actually beneficial to health. But if money is an issue, at least find a quiet park or take a stroll around some reservoir. Even de-cluttering your room and decorating it with some calming furniture helps.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Being the perfectionist that I am, I am probably the worst person to be advising this. But it’s true. Save your energy and for things that truly matter. Ever realise how quickly you forget the small stuff anyway, even if you won the “epic” battle?
Get a full night’s rest
Yes, coffee can help kick you into motion every morning. But wouldn’t it be so much better to savour your coffee while wide awake?
Eat more unprocessed food, raw if possible
Everyone knows to try and eat a healthier diet. But what is a healthier diet? It’s not just about consuming more vegetables, it’s about decluttering your digestive system by going back to the basics. Eating unprocessed, unmodified, foods instead of foods coming in packages, tins or what not. The lesser number of ingredients on the package, the better. The bread we get in our supermarkets is severely processed. If you were to bake your own bread, you need only 4 ingredients : Water, Flour, Yeast, Salt. Check the packaging the next time you buy bread, you’ll see an ingredient list more than 10 ingredients long!
Move more, sit less
Everyone knows to get more exercise into their daily lives, but did you know that research now indicates that it is more beneficial to have constant activity throughout the day instead of just exerting it in a half hour exercise session? Get of the chair more often while you are in the office, stand up while reading documents, walk to your colleague’s desk instead of telephoning or instant messaging, use the stairs instead of lifts. These minor movements all add up. They will add up. And they could add up to about another 500 calories of energy burnt in a day!