The best things in life are free

by Aurimas Juodka
Beach

What do you think is the secret of feeling great on a daily basis? Medication? Coffee? Fulfilling relationships? Answer that question to yourself and keep it in mind when reading this article.

I’m obsessed with wellness. Obsessed is a strong word, but I really am. Everything from the latest technology to longevity hacks, to random gadgets… It’s fascinating! However, after weighing everything in, I recently realised that most things that move the needle in the field of wellness and feeling great on a daily basis are free. Technology, health hacks, supplements, etc. are nice-to-have additions, but ultimately, they only help you to go from good to great. The most profound change is achieved by things that are free – lifestyle adjustments.

I boiled them down into six categories. They’re simple and easy to implement.

sleep

1.Sleep

Probably one of the most undervalued tools in our free biological toolbox. One night of sleep deprivation raises your blood glucose to pre-diabetic levels. That explains the cravings that you get after having a sleepless night, doesn’t it? Based on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) survey, only 20% of Americans get sufficient exercise. We can assume that 99.9% of the population sleep. So skip your morning exercise if you are sleep deprived and sleep in! (That doesn’t mean that you don’t have to get adequate movement, more on that later!) So where do you start with sleep? First, aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time. Second, get some sunshine first thing in the morning, preferably at the same time, to align your circadian rhythm. Third, avoid caffeine in the afternoon. Caffeine takes quite a bit of time to get out of your system. Lastly, avoid exercise and meals within 3 hours of your bedtime and screen time within 1 hour (or wear blue-light blocking glasses) I can’t stress the importance of sleep enough. It’s a great place to start if you feel like you’re underperforming.

2. Stress management

Our nervous systems were designed to protect us. Constant stimulation from technology and environmental factors leave us overwhelmed, anxious and stressed. Unfortunately, very few people have a strategy in place to combat it all. As I said, best things in life are free. Stress management can be easily overcome by breath work and meditation. As “woo-woo” as it sounds, I personally was really skeptical about the aforementioned strategies a few years ago, but they simply work. You can only gain value by trying them out and seeing what works for you. Look into box-breathing, 4-7-8 breath, breath of fire. For meditation – transcendental meditation (TM), mindfulness (they even have apps for it), to name a few. Being able to successfully handle stress sets you up for being more grounded and in tune with your emotions.

Nutrition

3. Nutrition

We’re bombarded with marketing campaigns on ‘the next big thing’, ‘magic pill’ and other nonsense. The promises in the field of nutrition are getting more and more ridiculous. Fortunately, it’s really simple. As Michael Pollan said “Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Let’s dissect this a little. What is real food? Minimally processed, easily recognisable, familiar ingredients. Not too much? Listen to your satiety cues. You don’t have to eat if you’re not hungry. The clock shouldn’t dictate your meal times, your hunger should. A good rule of thumb is to eat when you’re hungry and to eat until 80% full. Mostly plants? Load up on greens – very few people wouldn’t benefit from this advice. Nutrition is complicated, but by eating real food you lay a good foundation and set yourself up for success. Don’t deprive yourself. Restrictions only lead to obsessions. Add more good stuff and it’ll automatically leave less room for food that doesn’t serve you.

4. Movement

Here we go. We got to the movement section. As mentioned above, only 1/5th of the population gets adequate movement in. Formal exercise is not something that our ancestors used to do. Can you imagine a human from the Palaeolithic era setting aside some time to run around with no purpose? Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? I’m not saying that we are the same nowadays as 1000s of years ago, but fundamentally our bodies haven’t changed that much. We are designed to move. To move naturally and constantly.

Couple of things for movement

Couple
  • Avoid sitting for more that 30min at a time
  • Stretch
  • Take the stairs, park at a further parking spot
  • Go on walking meetings and walk when you’re taking phone calls. There are few things that can beat the productivity that is created by movement!
  • Make your environment movement friendly – have a pull up bar in the doorway, resistance bands laying around, maybe even invest in a walking/standing workstation.

It’s all about the little things. They add up. Small distinctions make a massive difference. If you do the aforementioned things, ‘formal’ exercise becomes just a nice addition.

Coffee

5. Routines

Having routines helps you trigger actions that align with your goals. We are creatures of habit and we should use routines to our advantage. Create a morning routine where you give time for yourself to get going. That means no screen time and any distractions – journal, read affirmations, stretch, maybe have a coffee making ritual. Same thing at night – find some quiet time for yourself, wind down, have some tea. Our brain is constantly wired, we are making a lot of decisions every day. Automating as many of them as possible would make your life much easier.

6. Environment

Probably the easiest one to take care of. You only need to do it once and you’re all set. Autoimmunity and endocrine system disruptors such as industrial chemicals from cleaning products, personal care goods, pollution, poor water quality… The list is endless. The biological load that we receive from the outside is overwhelming. No wonder people are getting sick. We’re fighting an uphill battle!
How to optimise your environment?

  • Opt for chemical free products around the house (ewg.org is a great place to start)
  • Have a good water filtration system. Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems are affordable and effective. Don’t forget to add mineral salts or mineral solutions to the water since RO process strips the water of minerals.
  • Protect yourself form pollution with a face mask.

Those are the easy basics that make a huge difference. Once you have these six categories in place – you’ve got your bases covered and you can experiment with technologies that might improve your quality of life by a couple percent. Always go for the low-hanging fruit first. There are simply no shortcuts. I will cover more advanced wellness strategies in the next issue. Remember the question at the beginning of the article? The secret to feeling great is being able to show up in life at 100%. These strategies are going to help you do just that. You don’t know how good you can feel, until you do… Feeling sub-par and normalising it is a choice. Make a smarter choice, implement these strategies and live a better quality life

Aurimas

About the author : Aurimas Juodka is a Health and Performance Consultant. He specialises in helping people excel in life physically, mentally and spiritually. Aurimas takes people who are busy, neglecting their health, not sleeping, stressed, etc. to a place where they’re confident, have more energy, feel better, and as a byproduct can excel in any area of their life.
www.wellwithaj.com

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