One of the best ways to manage your overall health is to do small things to first manage your stress and nutrition. As this year has been full of new normals, adjustments, and uncertainty, there is plenty of stress to go around. Thankfully, today, managing your stress can be done in several ways in the comfort of your home.
Start by practicing meditation! There is no doubt that the mind and body connection is powerful and improving that connection through meditation has many benefits including reducing stress. Both physical and mental stress causes an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol. This hormonal increase can affect the body negatively and result in lack of sleep, increased blood pressure, increased fatigue, brain fog, and contribute to depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that mindful meditation has the ability to decrease the inflammatory response caused by stress and reduce those symptoms. It has also been found that consistent meditation habits can help with conditions such as post traumatic stress disorder and irritable bowel syndrome. Starting your day with mindful meditation can give your health the extra boost it needs to function at its best.
Oftentimes meditating can feel intimidating or daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! Starting with short increments of time such as 5 or 10 minutes can ease you into the practice. Meditating doesn’t always mean closing your eyes and being silent. It can be anything that you find relaxing, but doing it mindfully with a focus on your breath to clear the mind. If your thoughts start to wander, lead them back to your breath and stay focused. You can do this while you take a walk, paint, cook, or practice yoga. Make meditation fit your lifestyle and you’ll be looking forward to your daily routine in no time.
Another more traditional meditation method to help clear your mind is the body scan. The body scan is often practiced while lying down or in a comfortable seated position. As it suggests, during this practice you will scan your body starting from your toes to the top of your head. While scanning each part of your body you will pause and bring your attention to it while mindfully relaxing before moving on to the next. As you work your way up, focus on your breath. A great way to connect your breath during meditation is to put one hand on your heart and the other on your belly to feel the rise and fall of each breath. This can be done at any time to help ease the mind and is often used during yoga practices.
When thinking of meditation, yoga is often thought of as well. While poses and movements often come to mind first when we think of yoga, part of practicing yoga is mindfulness and breath control. The physical practices also focus on moving energy around to rejuvenate the mind and body. Yoga is known to have a positive effect on overall health. Here are a few yoga poses that have significant health benefits:
- Downward Facing Dog: Improves blood flow and heart health while refreshing the mind by filling it with fresh oxygen
- Child’s Pose: Reduces stress, releases lower back pain, lowers blood pressure and helps with insomnia
- Legs Up The Wall: Increases blood circulation, reduces tension, helps with posture and improves sleep
- Corpse Pose (often used during meditation): Relaxes the body and mind, lowers blood pressure, and relieves stress and fatigue
These movements are easily accessible and can be done at all levels while still having a positive affect on your body. Performing these poses daily can help manage stress and improve your overall health. Part of yoga practices is being mindful and taking care of your body. It is easy to forget that taking care of our bodies is not just external, but internal.
Mindfulness can apply to all facets of life and can help alleviate stress and manage your health when applied properly. Using mindfulness in nutrition can guide you in making the right decisions for your body. Paying attention to your body's nutritional needs is important.When you are mindful about what you use to fuel your body, it can have a greater impact on your health than any restrictive diet. Here are a few ways to easily improve your nutrition:
- Drink enough water: Making up about 60% of your body weight, it is imperative to drink enough water to lubricate joints, promote proper organ function, and temperature regulation.
- Mindful eating: It is easy to forget how much, or how often it is appropriate to eat. Setting times to eat and listening to your body’s signals can help manage overeating.
- Have all your favorite foods, but make it yourself: There is no need to restrict what you like to eat, but there are plenty of recipes you can make at home. This way you control what goes in your food and avoid any unnecessary unhealthy ingredients.
- Learn to read nutrition labels: Nutrition labels can be confusing and overwhelming, but learning to read them can help you make healthier choices. Here is an easy guide to get you started.
- Leave restrictive diets behind! There is no one size fits all nutrition plan, and fad diets that aren’t right for you are actually not effective as long term solutions.
Our goal at USFHP is for our members to be happy and healthy. Join us today to help manage your health.
In addition to the methods above, take advantage of our perks and enhanced benefits including:
- Choosing your primary care physicians from our network of over 20,000 top ranked providers
- Free exclusive enhanced benefits to choose from such as:
- Dental services with discounted vision
- $0-low cost eyewear
- $250 gym reimbursement
For more information and to enroll with USFHP call now at 1-800-241-4848 and let us get you covered!