One of the most important aspects of our health is to keep in mind it’s always evolving and changing. Health is a journey and everyone is on a different part of their journey. These are 4 simple habits I’ve employed this year that have made a drastic difference in my health and energy level and the best part, they’re totally natural and easy.
I say this because for too many years I compared myself way too much to other people’s journeys and quite often ended up feeling behind or inferior. You’ve heard this before, but your health and your worth are not a certain number on the scale or a pant size.
I mean it, even though I do use those things to a degree to measure where I’m at. But they’re no longer the end goal or the most important part of this whole healthy lifestyle thing.
These changes seem common sense and they mostly are, but the older I get the more I’m learning it truly is the simple things that have the most impact.
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This past year I finally got my thyroid and adrenal glands back to where they should be with the help of my naturalpath, natural thyroid hormone prescription, herbs, and lifestyle changes. Mainly, I made sleep a priority. No more burning the candle at both ends of the night.
Do the math for how much sleep you require. I actually do best on 8 and 1/2 hours of sleep. I know I need to be up at 5:30 am every week day morning. This means I need to have myself to bed by 9:30.
By this I mean lights out, head on the pillow, and drifting off.
If you need to, set an alarm for bed time and don’t ignore it. This has made one of the biggest impacts in my feeling energized and getting stuff done.
Even with sleep, I couldn’t seem to find the energy or the drive to exercise regularly. I wanted to, I knew I should, I’d even get my workout gear on, but when it came to sweating through cardio and high intensity workouts (my previous regimen) I couldn’t do it. I’d try, even did pretty good at doing it 5 days a week for three weeks, but it wore me out. My muscles and body simply said no.
Now hear me, this is not an excuse to not exercise, for either one of us. But the moral of all I”m sharing with you is to listen to your body. I couldn’t do the regimen I’d done in my late 20’s and wee baby 30’s.
A few months later I knew I needed to find some type of exercise I could stick with. My back hurt at the end of the day, which always happens when I stop working out for a time. Beginning in October I made the goal of working out 5 days a week. Not a certain number on the scale or weight.
I told myself I had to start the workout, if it got to hard or I didn’t feel well after beginning, I could quit, but I had to start and do at least 5 minutes. (I got this tip from Chalene Johnson, I can’t remember if it was in a podcast episode or her Facebook live sessions, but it’s served me well and I hope it does the same for you).
I’ll let you in a little secret, not once have I started and then stopped. I also switched it up and put in 3 days of lifting weights instead of straight cardio all the time. Another secret, I didn’t lose any weight the first 6 weeks. And that’s okay, because I did increase weights and am able to do more reps and go longer. That is my measure of success.
The first two weeks were the hardest. Because I hadn’t worked out in so long my body hurt. But I stuck with it and now, though I still have muscle soreness (which means they’re growing) it’s not like at first. There’s a difference between muscle soreness because they’re growing and changing and out right pain. Out right pain means to stop, it shouldn’t hurt like that when you’re doing the exercise.
Another cool thing, my back doesn’t ache at the end of the day (except when I worked those muscles doing lat pulls or rows). I can’t explain it, but I hurt less when I’m working out, even though I may be more sore at times. It seems like an oxymoron but totally true.
Be it kombucha, yogurt, kefir, kimchi, or traditional fermented sauerkraut or pickles, get yourself some type of live cultured food on a regular basis. Daily is best, but with all of the options out there, make it a priority to eat live cultured food at least 5 times a week if not every day. See, that number 5 is working for me right now!
You can make your own yogurt super duper easy in this tutorial with nothing but milk, live culture and a Mason jar. Or make old-fashioned salt and water cultured pickles here.
Live cultures are the key to good gut health, which is where the majority of our immune system lives. Eat up!
When I first started going down this natural path, I didn’t know very much. When I came down with a cold last week, I treated it with herbs and natural remedies. It came, well, naturally. I didn’t reach for or take over the counter meds.
I had the knowledge and the items in my herbal medicine kit to treat my own symptoms.
There is always more to learn, we don’t ever reach a time when we know it all (and if we think we do, then we definitely have more to learn, amen).
Some of my favorite books are Rosemary Gladstar’s, Medicinal Herbs: A Beginners Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use
My book, The Made-from-Scratch Life: Simple Ways to Create a Natural Home and the $20 worth of FREE bonuses that go with it–> Free bonus info here
Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.