It All Starts With A Great Health Routine!
Good morning! Do you know that friend who wakes up without difficulty, greets you with a big smile and always ready to take on the day? Some people are naturally morning people and thrive at this time of the day. This does not mean that you can’t too feel invigorated, it might just require a bit of intuitive planning and getting to know your optimal time of day. I am here to assure you that by taking the proper steps in establishing a healthy routine, you can reap the benefits of abundant energy and productivity. My first experience in creating my own health routine was through the study of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is the science of life, and one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems. Ayurveda focuses on being intuned with our unique selves and how to utilize different energy sources such as ojas to guide our health behaviors towards being more intentional. Ojas is the thirst for life! The Sanskrit for the word ojas is often described as radiance like the light of the moon. A healthy individual has abundant ojas, the vital essence that promotes health, immunity, happiness and spiritual strength. Ayurveda also teaches us that there are different times of the day that we are most productive based on our doshas. There are three doshas: Kapha, Pitta and Vata. Each dosha is made up of different elements: Kapha- water and earth, Pitta- fire and water and Vata- air and space (ether). Each of us has a different constellation of the three doshas and based on your dominant dosha, the time of day that you are naturally productive and energized can be determined. The Kapha time of day is 6:00 am to 10:00 am. It is often taught that getting up before 6:00 am, engaging in an activity that gets your heart rate up will help a Kapha person feel most energized. The Pitta time of day is 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. During this time of day, heat will naturally predominate in our bodies and minds. By harnessing this midday heat, we can be productive and accomplish our goals. The Vata time of day is 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Vata’s are naturally light in qualities and should choose a calm environment to work in during this time, minimizing excess sensory from bright light and loud noises. Instead, find ways to ground yourself in a peaceful space. This cycle repeats again at night, as the different doshas influence us in four-hour increments throughout a 24-hour day. In creating a healthy routine, practicing self-care daily, and becoming intuned to our doshic constellations, we can strengthen our ojas and inner immune system.
Our immunity is connected to the product of strong digestion, a balanced endocrine system, and a highly functioning liver. Without these three factors, we are more vulnerable to disease and imbalances. The immune system is made up of billions of cells that move through the bloodstream. These cells travel throughout the body, defending it against foreign antigens, such as bacteria, viruses, and cancerous cells. There are some ways that can reduce the immune systems capabilities such as stress, poor diet, inadequate sleep, obesity and lack of physical activity.
When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. This is why we often get sick after the holiday season, exam finals, meeting a deadline and so forth. The stress hormone corticosteroid can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system by lowering the number of lymphocytes (T cells and B cells) Indirectly, stress affects the immune system as a person may use make behavioral choices to cope with stress, such as binge eating, drinking or smoking.
A diet that is made primarily of mucus-producing foods such as sugar, dairy products, red meat, and processed foods can cause havoc on the immune system. In severe cases, mucus-producing foods can impact lung health and quality of life. This category of foods ultimately leads to a sluggish digestive system and creates a PH imbalance. Implement an alkaline style diet that stimulates bile production and digestion. Your metabolism converts the foods you eat into energy, leaving metabolic waste behind that can be either alkaline, base of acidic. The principles of the alkaline diet say that this metabolic waste can affect the body’s acidity and by eating foods that are more alkaline, you can alkalize your body and improve your health.
- Acidic: Meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, grains
- Neutral: Natural fats, starches
- Alkaline: Fruits, nuts, legumes, and vegetables
Sleep hygiene is often overlooked as part of our health routine. Not getting adequate sleep has been linked to a variety of mental and physical health problems including those that impair the immune system. When our immune system is not functioning properly it can no longer protect the body from getting colds or bacterial infections. Practice good sleep hygiene by going to bed around the same time each night and makes sure your bedroom is a well-suited environment for a good night’s sleep. This means powering down the TV, phone, computer, etc.
Lack of Physical Activity:
Some of the recommendations listed below might seem quite basic. In fact, a lot of them are. It is more about finding the time to make space for your self each day. Our bodies are very intelligent in that given the proper tools and support, our physiology already knows how to provide optimal health. Start by adding 30 minutes to your day to have a more productive and centered day. Here are some ideas that might fit into your health routine:
Scraping your tongue is just as important as brushing your teeth. Digestion begins in the mouth and when you scrap the tongue it stops bacteria from accumulating and toxins from spreading down the gastrointestinal tract. Tongue scraping can activate taste buds to engage the lower intestines to initiate a daily bowel movement.
Oil pulling is the practice of swishing oil in your mouth to remove toxins, like an ancient mouthwash. On the oral health side, it helps to cure tooth decay, improves breath, prevents cavities and strengthens your gums and jaw. On the digestive side, it helps remove oil-soluble toxins from your system, improves digestion, prevents inflammation and enhances your immune system!
Drink Something Hot
Include a living-probiotic
If you tend to be a night owl, try working with your natural body clock. Use those evening hours, when you feel most energized, to get yourself organized for the next day. Plan your outfit, layout gym clothes, pack your office bag, prepare lunches or prep an easy on-the-go breakfast to stash in the fridge overnight. Just a little prep work (say, 15 to 30 minutes) will help ease the morning rush.
Devote time each day to be digital free. This could be a different time for everyone. Maybe for the first half hour of your day you keep your phone on airplane mode until after you have completed your morning routine. The blue light of our tech can disrupt your body’s internal clock, significantly suppress levels of melatonin when trying to sleep and causes brain fog when needing to concentrate. Also, the mindless surfing of the web is not very productive and can instead be spent doing something more enjoyable!
Feeling restless at your desk? A little restorative yoga or deep breathing exercises can help put your mind at ease and steady your breath in times of stress or even boredom.
What we choose to do before and after the workday directly impacts our quality of sleep, significantly influencing our mood and energy levels the next day. Bring awareness to the fact that we are all unique human beings and have different times of the day to feel productive and invigorated. First and foremost, start by reducing the stress in your life to obtain healthy ojas in the body and mind. Make time for positive health practices and reduce negativity and conflict in your daily life. Take an online quiz to determine your dosha type. It might shed some light on your unique self and ways you can adapt some of the suggested health habits I gave above.