We all want to be healthy. The pressures of life, however, can impinge on that desire. Fortunately, there are simple things that you can do to maintain a healthy and productive lifestyle. Here are some of them.
Firstly, try making your own muesli for breakfast. Put in brown oats, walnuts and plenty of fresh raisins and sultanas. Add a little ginger and use semi-skimmed milk, poured liberally on top. These ingredients are packed with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins which will assist your mind and body to cope with the demands of the day. The natural sugars in the fruit will give you energy that goes onto your bloodstream slowly (and more evenly) than the sucrose that is often added to the muesli you buy in a packet. You will feel satiated for hours.
A cup of coffee (or tea) in the morning contains brain stimulants in the methylxanthine class, of which, caffeine is the best known. Chocolate also has a drug in this group. Caffeine, theophylline and theobromine act on your body to stimulate the nervous system, theophylline in tea being most effective on the autonomic nervous system. Caffeine has the quickest and strongest effect on the brain, though tea leaves actually have a higher dosage of theophylline. Often, much of the theophylline in tea remains in the leaves, resulting in a slower dosage feeding into the bloodstream. Theobromine in chocolate also has a lower dosage going into the bloodstream. Basically, however, a cup or two of a beverage containing these drugs, or eating a piece of chocolate, will make you feel good, but what else?
What all these drugs do is improve mental function when doing routine, everyday activities and muscle movement is also improved. A moderate consumption of coffee, tea and chocolate can provide the necessary boost to your day, chocolate in particular stimulating the responses in the body which are akin to what happens when someone falls in love. It is the veritable ‘love drug’. As per Aristotle, however, the way forward is ideally in moderation, otherwise a sense of tiredness can come on later in the day. “Moderation in all things” is best.
Meditation, Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi are other ways in which you can gain energy or restore calmness during your day. Have a cloth, mat, or sheet that defines your area for doing these activities. This ‘defined area’ helps your brain engage in the activity and also indicates to any other person that you are, quite literally, ‘entering the zone’. It is also a practical consideration as you can perform the activities safely in socks or bare feet.
Doing Yoga can energise you; it can also restore energy. Doing the ‘Salute to the Sun’ in the morning is a quick way of getting your cardiovascular system functioning better and it is a kind of acknowledgement that the day has begun. Another very useful position in Yoga is ‘The Baby’, which is much favoured by dancers. Resting on your knees, feet tucked in behind you, you sit on your calves and then put your forehead on the floor in front of you, stretching your arms out beyond your head. Your upper arms can be placed against the side of your head, covering your ears. This helps to cut out any extraneous noise. Then, just relax in this position for 10 minutes. It is said that 10 minutes in this position is like having several hours of sleep.
You can also just sit in the ‘Half Lotus’ or the ‘Full Lotus‘ position, legs duly crossed and your eyes closed, arms resting by your side. Just meditate for 10 minutes. “Let the world slip”, as Shakespeare wrote in ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, and when you re-emerge, the world can be taken on, often with a clearer and happier perspective. It’s really up to you.