If you've been playing along at home, you'll know that habitude is my new word for the new 'habits' and 'attitudes' that I am adding to my lifestyle. Six in fact. Each week.
I started adding six new habitudes
Wednesday 13 June 2012, therefore I am well in to my second week. I've been trying to get a blog post out for the past five days, but there is a lot of content I'm trying to condense into a readable format. I think because this is a blog about my personal journey, and seeing that my degree is in interior design and not medicine, I will forego a lot of the scientific/medical reporting (you're smart people, you can read books, talk to your doctor and ask Mr Google for more information should you require it) in place of a very general summary of what I have learned over the years.
Just so you know,
my research has come from countless books, movies, google searches, health/fitness and yoga magazines, womens' magazines, Sunday paper magazine pullouts, Body and Soul inserts, yet more books, television, visits with doctors, immunologists, dietitians, naturopaths, and other alternative health professionals. I read a lot. I read everything. So I pick up bits here and there. If you'd like to know more on why I have a particular view, feel free to ask me. Otherwise, I hope you will allow me to journal in my own words why I am making the choices that I have. (you'll notice today I've included two habitudes. I will add the others in the next few days.)
So, how has it gone?
It has gone much better than I expected. I am truly surprised by some small but wonderful changes already. It will actually be nice to have this permanent record via the blog of the progress. So that I can assess at the end of the 9 weeks what has worked and what could need tweaking. I think I will take the Tuesday nights before each week's changeover to sit with what i've changed/learned the preceeding week.
What's good in my world this week?
Habitude One ~ Water
One of our most basic requirements. So versitile, so essential. It used to be said that we all need 2 litres, or 8 glasses of water every day. Then there is the school of thought that encourages 30mls for every kilo of body weight you carry. Additionally, they say you should consume extra water if you are working out, or if it's a really hot day. Be careful though, don't consume too much!...as in "the ecstacy tablet at a dance party has just kicked in and you've polished off 4 litres of water in half an hour" quantities, as this can kill you. Also, if you're running a marathon, you need to be careful to add electrolites, as you could deplete your natural salt supplies with water and cause yourself some harm.
Yet another school of thought
(highly recommended by my parents) suggests we get water in our food and other beverages, "so we don't need to drink water on it's own, because beer, tea, bonox in hot water, or a vodka and coke should provide us with our daily needs". May I just say, I love my mother to pieces, but she just might well be the wicked witch of the west (her name is Glenda, no joke) as I have never seen the woman drink a glass of water in her entire life - she fears it like it will make her melt! Dad too, doesn't love the stuff much. I think once in our seven years of playing tennis, it was like 30 degrees at 9 in the morning and he was a tad hung over, then he had a sip of mine ;-)
I personally fit somewhere between the two.
I actually enjoy drinking water. And I notice if I drink more water, I drink less coke (
my one vice one of many vices). But I can get a bit bored with it. So I have purchased a few inexpensive but fancy reusable drink bottles that have wide openings on them to fit my favourite crushed ice inside. I also am partial to a fancy glass and an umbrella and a lime wedge for extra oomph. I'm a bit of a teetottler by choice these days, so this makes me feel like I'm still in with the cool kids. If I go out to a restaurant, I will usually splurge on a coke, or a mineral water. But that tends to bloat me. The kids love their juice watered down with plain mineral water, though I wish they would both drink more plain water.
So, what ever the research shows tomorrow
(and you can bet there will continue to be arguing for the pros and cons of drinking water) I know that my body responds better when I drink water in its purest simplest form. Straight from the tap is okay, if I don't have access to filtered water. We do have good water supplies in Australia, however there are issues with chemicals and fluride that need further investigation. I was reading just a few weeks ago that animals in remote places were found to have injested chemicals and impurites from the terrible mess we've made of the land and water supplies (chemicals in our soil, prescription drugs being absorbed by people then being pee-ed into our water supply for fish and other animals to re-injest, dirty rain, etc.). I try to take more care with what I put down the sink these days. Just because.
I don't even want to get into a debate on bottled water,
because that in itself is fraught with issues both positive and negative. This is just about injesting water, and doing so because it makes the cells in our body healthy. It helps us rid our body of toxins. It cleans the kidneys, and makes your skin less like a crocodile (or that could just me be, and my mother). I have had two naturopaths tell me I am severely dehydrated. I didn't realise how much until I started drinking water 11 days ago. My skin looks better already. I keep noticing my hands, and admiring how 'plump and juicy' they look instead of shrivelled up 90's style (not 1990's, but 90-years-old style).
The negatives for me
when I start drinking water is I have a permanent date with the toilet. I can wee dozens of times a day. The nights are worse, because I was up 3, 4 or 5 times. But, I do remember this lasts only about three or four days and then it tapers off. The fact that I have a nanna-bladder probably doesn't help. Thankfully I gave birth to a couple of camels. Those kids can go days without needing to be near a bathroom, I certainly make up for them. I do encourage you to drink a glass or two each day if you aren't already. Give it a go and see if you notice a difference. Obviously if you have some medical condition that states you shouldn't, please don't. As with anything to do with my habitudes, please see your own doctor before you take any advice from anyone - me included.
Habitude Five ~ Sleep
This is the bedroom I would like to have.
I knew sleep was good for you,
or that lack of sleep was bad for you. But having such steadfastly stubborn night owl behaviour, made many attempts to get an early night fairly non-existent over the past twenty years. There's nothing inherently wrong with going to bed at 2 in the morning, per se.* Except if you have to get up early for children or work. I am tired just remembering how tired I constantly used to be. This is the most wonderful side effect so far this week, and I am not kidding when I say I noticed a difference in my energy levels from after just one night of 8 and a half solid hours. Eight consecutive nights of good sleep have seen me feel fantastic every day. The only negative was on Thursday night I tried to stay up til 1am to join in with a livestreaming video from America. I found myself wondering how the heck I did that every night. And sure enough, Friday found me tired, lethargic, headachy and just plain blah. So, off to bed I go by 11pm again. If one habitude can make so much difference to quality of life, imagine how amaze-balls 54 are going to be!
* Actually research (and my wonderful naturopath) suggests that going to bed at an earlier time is in fact extremely beneficial to your health. Apparently your body's prime time to heal itself - especially the adrenal system - is between 11pm and 1:30am. I was missing the boat entirely with my old sleep pattern...which could explain why I had adrenal failure. Could explain it very well in fact. The adrenal system controls the nervous system in the body. If it's fried, you're fried. Your anxiety will be up, your immune system will be down and your mood and energy levels will be all over the place.
I can't tell you how many reports I have read
over the years telling me that my stubborn and very unwanted fat could actually be the result of too little sleep (something to do with hormones and metabolism - you know you're on the wrong blog if you want a proper scientific explanation, right?). I had always secretly hoped it would vanish the minute I got more sleep...and you know what? It appears to be. In just over one week, my clothes are fitting looser, and I feel lighter. I refuse to step on scales (those are wicked evil machines made to torture fragile minds and esteems). I'll know by looking in the mirror if I am happy with my body. I might have a long way to go, but I can definitely see a bit less chin and a slight sneaky collar bone. When my boobs disappear, I'll know i'm on my way. This happens to be the first place (boobs and chin, go figure) that I gain or lose weight. Which would be fine if I wanted more than one chin, and an enormous chest. But I want neither.
have attributed seven to nine hours of sleep each night to lower cases of depression. I can definitely state that my lack of sleep has not helped me in this department. It is difficult to have a happy disposition (and be a nice Mummy who doesn't growl at your children) when you are cranky and sleep deprived. Symptoms of depression can be reduced or even eliminated by simply making sure you have enough sleep. Obviously every one is different, and it is up to you and your medical professional to diagnose your own requirements. But my first instance with any illness is to forego prescription medication in place of alternative means.
As you can see in the photo above
I had to make some alterations to my bedroom to make it more inviting. Okay, I girlified it to an inch of it's 12 year old girl's room self. I guess this is one of those rare times when it's good that I don't have a husband? (Yes, they are lanterns hanging from the roof. My daughter tells me 'enough with the lanterns now Mum'. But I can't stop. At $2 a pop, it's my drug of choice) I now light a fragrant soy candle along with my himalayan salt lamp a few hours before bed to set the mood and add some negative ions to the room? Not quite sure how that salt lamp works, but it does wonders for my breathing! I can see I am the type of person that needs a bedtime routine. Yes, just like a five year old. I like to read for 20 minutes or so before I switch off the light, and listen to an NLP (neuro linguistic programming, I'll talk about it more in a future blog) or crashing waves soundtrack as I fall asleep.
It is important if you can to stop using the computer
well before sleep, turn off all your electronics (will discuss in future blog) and try to get sunlight on your body for even 20 minutes each day, to help your body control the melatonin, which controls how well your body adjusts to day and night and switches off at the right time. I am actually a good sleeper, or I used to be. I don't personally need a cup of chamomile tea, or hot milk or a hot bath to help me fall asleep. But that could be because I have 18 years of sleep to catch up on. But you should do what ever it is you need to feel all warm, woosy and sleepy. Try not to be too hot (I turn my electric blanket off as I get in to bed), and apparently not eating a few hours before bed is good too...something I'm working on getting better at. I also have a bad habit of having my caffeine only in the evening. ? I know! I obviously had not been setting myself up for conducive rest these past decades.
Some websites for further interest:
Ta ta for now