Modern society is fast and often chaotic. It is easy to become lost and overwhelmed, which over time can have a costly impact on our lives. Common life struggles can include, pending deadlines, endless emails, workplace disagreements, job dissatisfaction, relationship issues, and personal health struggles. In the chaos of life, it is easy to perceive that life is dictated by our environments. Yet, if we take this mind-set we surrender the power that we have over our own lives. If we want to be happy we must control what we can control and this means getting the basics in life right. The only thing that we have control of is us! It sounds simple, but if we get basics correct then the rest becomes easier. So, what are the basics!? The basics are three simple yet vital things, these being: Sleep, Eating and Exercise. When we get stressed or life gets busy, these are often the first things that we let go.
1. Sleep: It sounds obvious, but we need 7-8 hours sleep a night to cope and function properly. You can’t cheat on sleep because it will catch up with you. One of the most important things for sleep is a consistent routine, this means getting to bed and waking up at similar times each day. If you struggle to get to sleep, try and allocate a thirty-minute wind down period each night. This means being in a semi-dark room with no technology or artificial light. You may read something simple or listen to calming music, the aim is to settle and calm yourself in preparation for sleep.
2. Eating: We need to eat to fuel our bodies. Food can shape our moods and energy levels. There is not one diet that fits everyone; some people swear by skipping breakfast, others need three solid meals a day, while many people graze throughout the day. Find what works for you. If you are struggling with energy, experiment with your diet, see what works and what doesn’t. Spend the money consulting with a nutritionist, the benefits may be worth it. It is easy to take short cuts with food, but like any short cut or easy option it can become costly over time. Regularly eating poorly for quick energy will hurt out bodies and weigh on our health.
3. Exercise: We all know the benefits of exercise and as much as it would be nice to not have to incorporate this into our weekly routine, it is a must! Exercise creates energy and is a natural stress and mood management strategy. If you are not exercising start small, being with walking then progress to a walk/run or walk with simple body weight exercises. We should be aiming to exercise at a minimum three times a week for thirty minute periods. Exercise regenerates the body and is crucial for improving both concentration and memory. If you want to be functioning at your best and able to cope with daily challenges, then exercise is the answer.
Finally, let’s not forget a fourth vital factor – Breathing. Breathing is one of the greatest ways to manage stress, find clarity in our thinking and simply slow down. We are all busy, but no one is too busy to find a minute a day just to stop and breathe deeply and slowly.
It all sounds simple, but take a moment to reflect on your own lives. Could you improve on these areas and what benefits would this bring to your life?