Rest & digest
Sitting and taking time over eating our meal has myriad ‘balancing’ benefits. It allows us to better tune into hunger cues so we know when we are actually full and it gives our gut adequate time to work on the process of digestion keeping this nicely ‘regulated'. Use meal times as pockets of recovery throughout the day that easily bring in moments to be present with your plate rather than eating furiously on the go and/or whilst checking multiple devices.
Embrace ALL foods
Avoid vilifying or putting halos around certain foods to create a balanced view on ‘eating well’. Every food has a place in our diet after all. When we overly restrict on any foods or food groups we tend to want them even more. Call it the inner rebel. Chances are when we do adopt more of an all-inclusive approach to our eating habits we won’t crave or really want some of the foods that we once deemed ‘contraband’. In fact having a focus on foods to INCLUDE is a much more positive approach - eating the rainbow sounds like a cliché but having colour in the diet encourages a healthier gut, promotes better skin amongst a myriad other health benefits. Include a nice diversity of plant-foods that feed the bugs in your gut which includes vegetables, fruit, whole grains and nuts & seeds.
Practically that could be putting in a different veg or fruit into your weekly shop, mixing up your morning oats with other grains such as buckwheat or quinoa flakes, and creating your own nut & seed mixes to sprinkle on salads, soups, vegetables, yogurt, porridges, or as a snack.
Practise daily mindfulness
Mindfulness has been used as a bit of a buzz word but it is vitally important for us to create some level headedness and support overall balance. The meaning of mindfulness is literally ‘to be present’ so for each of us that might require something different. Meditation has been reported for its benefits for this so you might want to try using one of the excellent apps to help guide you. Otherwise gentle yoga can bring in similar benefits. Or practising some simplebreathing exercises such as deep belly breathing that helps to soothe the Vagus nerve which joins the gut and brain. These can all bring us some stillness and to be present in the moment.
Sleep is one of the fundamental pillars of overall health and one that we have gravitated away from massively both in terms of quantity and quality. In fact, poor sleep is linked to a lots of health effects including those related to the gut and skin. Creating some kind of pre-bedtime ritual can help you get back into a rhythm with your sleep and achieving overall balance. Start with switching off stimulating devices a least an hour before you intend to go to sleep and instead use this time to read, listen to an audiobook or similar, have a bath or make a cup of soothing chamomile tea. These can all work to help the natural circadian sleep-wake cycle.
Know when to switch off
Creating some boundaries with your phone and other devices is vital for us to cultivate a happy and positive relationship with the omnipresent digital world. Simple strategies such as switching off the phone for at least an hour a day, avoid having on and around when you are eating, putting away when you are in engaging in real human company and conversation, and definitely NOT having in the bedroom. Too frequent and heavy use on social media and such like can be incredibly overwhelming and create a lot of negative emotions with little in way of balance. Learn to rely on the devices less and instead connect with real people and real life.
Learn to say no
Which could be directed towards people, commitments whether social or work, and even what you choose to see on your social media feed. Busyness has become a buzz word or a badge for success but with a life that is simply overflowing and overwhelming it’s hard to achieve any kind of balance. Juggling plates is invariably going to end up with one or more ceremoniously crashing on the floor.Rather than multi-tasking think more about mono-tasking, and with that work out what and/or who are your priorities in your life. Saying no can bring in a huge amount of empowerment and enhance enjoyment of the people and things you REALLY love.