It’s a new year and as tradition holds for many, the setting out of resolutions at the attempt at a better you. But how many of these actually stick? For me, it’s not about setting temporary goals that would be considered unsustainable long term but rather making small shifts that are more realistic in upholding.
Ultimately, we all want to be living at our optimum. What does that look like for you? There are so many different beliefs and messages around wellbeing, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and switch off. Let me make it easy for you with a few key concepts, based on the simple, practical and achievable lifestyle behaviours of our ancestors. Daily routine and technology has changed drastically in 2.5 million years; however, these 10 Primal Blueprint Laws (Mark Sisson) are adaptable into today’s high-tech modern life, in pursuit of optimum wellbeing; physically, mentally and emotionally.
- Eat Plants and Animals: This looks like an abundance of colourful, locally grown, (ideally) organic vegetables; good quality protein (local, pasture-raised meat, fish, fowl and eggs); a moderate amount of healthy fats (avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, butter, coconut oil), full fat dairy and fruits; and high-antioxidant herbs and spices. You want to be consuming little to no grains, sugars and refined vegetable oils (see next point).
- Avoid Poisonous Things: Today, this meanschemical toxins in your food (pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, etc.) and on your skin. In particular, processed foods with chemically altered high PUFA vegetable oils, sugar, and grains.
- Move Frequently: More everyday movement (avoiding prolonged periods of inactivity…i.e. hours at your desk), structured aerobic workouts at a comfortable heart rate (walking, biking, swimming, surfing), and flexibility/mobility practices (yoga, Pilates, tai chi, stretching).
- Lift Heavy Things: Brief, intense strength training sessions, with weights, resistance tools, or simply bodyweight. Twice a week for 30 minutes is plenty. Movements of our ancestors include jumping, squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, twisting.
- Sprint,once in a while: The ultimate primal workout that promotes human growth hormone release and delivers an anti-aging effect. 6 – 8 short sprints with walking rest between on grass, the beach or treadmill.
- Get Sleep, and plenty of it: Sync your sleep and wake cycles closer to the sunto maintain good health, high energy and a strong immune system. Minimise artificial light and digital stimulation (phone, computer, TV) after dark. Create an optimal sleeping environment – cold, dark and quiet.
- Play: Active play supports the development of a cognitively fluid mind and helps you manage the stress of highly specialised modern life. This could be a card or board game or throwing a frisbee at the park.
- Get Plenty of Sunlight: Expose large skin surface areas to sunlight(without sunscreen) during times of day and year of peak solar intensity to optimise vitamin D production. You only need 10-15 minutes per week to maintain optimum levels. Diet contribution is minimal to vitamin D requirements and natural sunlight has a powerful mood-elevating effect.
- Avoid Stupid Mistakes: Yep,sounds simple. However, we still find ways to bring easily avoidable danger into safe, secure, predictable modern life. Texting and driving has replaced sabre-toothed tigers. Practice hypervigilance and risk management.
- Use Your Brain: Creative intellectual outlets will keep you refreshed and passionate about life, supporting your performance in your core daily responsibilities. Read, create, write and interact socially.
Think about ways you can incorporate each of the above concepts into your daily habits, if only in small ways. They are simple, effective practices, yet can be quickly replaced with bad habits of our fast paced, high-tech modern life. When in doubt, consider the behaviours of our ancestors, and get back to basics.
Wellbeing in 2018 brings a big movement to protection of the planet and banding together to heal ourselves and our communities, through sustainability practices and preventing / healing disease with personalised nutrition. MindBodyGreen have produced a fantastic Wellness Forecast for 2018, covering trends such as Climate Change, Tech addiction, Femtech and Meditation/Breathwork. Highly recommended reading, to really get your year off to an inspiring start.