Image by SewPixie
Today’s Daily Tip: If you say you will start something in a week it will never happen. Get what you need to make the changes now. Make your commitment and stick to it for a month. I know it is hard. I know it is a lot of work. I know you can do this. (Amanda Klenner-Labrow, Natural Living Mamma)
Deciding to balance your hormones and create a healthier lifestyle is an important step. After that, it’s crucial to create simple, sustainable habits that will allow you to make those changes you’re longing for. Without them, living healthier will be more complicated than it needs to be, and you risk succumbing to the temptation to just give up.
We don’t want that to happen. Instead, it’s important to approach the change as a process; a journey to better health.
Last Friday, Lindsey shared some great tips for balancing hormones (and overcoming depression). It was a great starting point for anyone looking to do either of those. And as a person who’s battled depression, I can attest to the fact that these methods work.
It’s just putting them into practice …
In doing this myself, I’ve found that the easiest way to make habits that stick is to create a simple wellness routine. Doing certain things on a daily basis not only helps me to remember what I need to, but it allows my body to adjust easier because it knows what to expect and isn’t always enduring some kind of crazy change.
Here’s a look at things I do on a daily basis that support me as I balance my own hormones and create healthier habits for myself. (Please note: I’m not perfect at this. I still stumble, but it gets easier as I go along and remember to give myself grace).
Wake up at the same time
My goal is to eventually get up earlier, but right now, my body is telling me I need to sleep later, until 7:30 or later, even when I go to sleep early. I’ve been having problems with fatigue and, after consulting a naturopath, I learned that the extra sleep is good for healing and I’ll probably start waking up earlier/easier when my hormones balance out.
Mostly, though, I learned that our bodies, especially our adrenal glands, thrive on routine. So, even if you are sleeping in, try to get up at the same time each day.
Because you’ve been fasting all night long, you’re body has to release stored glucose to provide your body with energy. In order to do this, your body has to employ certain stress hormones. Skipping breakfast when your brain and body are starved for energy exaggerates this stress response, forcing the body to continually pump out stress hormones to fuel the brain. (source) Chronic stress wreaks havoc on your hormones (I’m a recovering worrier).
I recently read a food rule that said: “Breakfast like a king. Lunch like a prince. Dinner like a pauper.” I nodded in agreement because I feel best when I eat this way. (Tip: figure out what works best for you.) My goal is to eat something nourishing, tasty and filling that will carry me on to lunch.
Breakfast usually consists of eggs, fruit and sometimes meat or veggies. Maple acorn squash with bacon is a favorite. As is eggs and smoothies. I’m even known to have leftover Pho Ga for breakfast because it’s so filling and nourishing. My breakfast usually contains a good helping of protein and healthy fat.
Image by andso
Apply essential oils
I’ve been using essential oils for the last year and love how they’ve simplified our healthcare. I’m partial to a specific brand and happily share it with others, but my main focus is on letting others know how beneficial essential oils are. When choosing essential oils, pick a brand that produces pure, therapeutic-grade oils that are safe for a variety of uses. Do not consume them unless there are specific instructions to do so.
- Balance - Specific to the brand I use, this blend contains oils that are geared toward the central nervous system. Helpful if you feel unsettled and/or need a sense of well-being.
- Lavender - Well-known for it’s calming effect, it’s also good for healing cuts, burns and other wounds.
- Frankincense - Relaxes and uplifts the mood. Also helpful for cuts and wounds and reduces scarring.
- OnGuard - Another doTERRA-specific blend, it helps boost the immune system, protecting the body from illness.
I apply a blend of all of these oils to the bottoms of my feet morning and night. At first, I did that by opening each bottle and applying a drop to each foot. Now, I have a little roll-on bottle that I blended the oils in that I can simply roll across the bottoms of my feet. Much easier.
I also put a drop of frankincense and lavender on my palm, rub my hands together, cup them over my nose and inhale deeply. Then I rub the blend on my forehead and the back of my neck.
Take morning supplements
Ideally, all of our nutrients would come from fresh, whole foods. However, we’re often left with nutrient gaps that need to be filled with quality supplements, especially vitamin D. I live in a sunny climate, but rarely get outside in the winter – it’s cold! Recent lab tests also show that I’m deficient in vitamin D, with my levels falling below the minimum amount and my doctor wants them more in the mid-range. Thankfully, I can get a lot of what I need from a few simple supplements.
- FCLO - Green Pasture offers high-quality fermented cod liver oil that is a great source of vitamins A & D, DHA/ERA and Omega 3 fatty acids.
- Multi-vitamin - I take a plant-based vitamin from Rainbow Light.
- Probiotic - For digestive health.
I give my kids their vitamins (Rainbow Light Kids) and FCLO (Green Pasture Oslo Orange) at the same time. They love their “chill pills” and remind me each day to dole them out. It helps me remember to take mine.
Staying hydrated is important and to do so, I keep a quart-size jar handy at all time. Because I’m really good at spilling things (and because it’s really cool), my husband got me a Cuppow lid to put on my jar. It makes it easier for me drink without pouring water on myself.
I make sure it’s full in the morning and fill it up after I empty it. My goal is 3 quarts of water (based on my body weight), but I’m ok about drinking less if I’ve eating lots of fruits and veggies or had some herbal tea.
Image by trekkyandy
Recognize stress/tension and alleviate it
Stress is inevitable, but too much has adverse reactions on our health. As someone who tends to stress too much, I’ve had to learn ways to reduce stress and alleviate it quickly. Thankfully, it’s pretty simple to do.
- Say No – I’m really good at taking on more than I can handle (and usually stuff I don’t even want to do). I’m learning to say no and have shed several committments that just weren’t serving the needs of me or my family.
- Laughter - Stressed? Laugh! It’s a great way to beat stress, enjoy life and break out of whatever funk you’re in.
- Dance party - Doesn’t everyone need a good dance party sometimes? Music is so therapeutic for me and sometimes I just need to blast it and sing at the top of my lungs while I dance with the kids.
- Read a story to or play with my kids - Sometimes stress comes from kids clamoring from attention. Recognizing that I need to spend more time with them, it helps for me to take a time out and engage with them.
- Rest – Our bodies are meant to operate in a rest/go rhythm. When we push ourselves too hard, it’s hard to keep going. I try to take short (15 min.) rest breaks every 2 hours or so.
- Quiet time - One of my needs is solitude and sometimes I just need to withdraw and have some time to myself. This rejuvenates me and allows me to pray and think through whatever is stressing me out.
Wind down early
Getting 8-10 hours of sleep is optimal for our health and crucial for balancing our hormones. The ideal time to sleep is between 10 PM and 6 AM because of the way your body was naturally designed to release certain hormones. Unfortunately, insomnia has always been a problem for me (thank you, hormone imbalance), so I’ve had to create a bedtime routine that helps me get to sleep easier.
- Sleepy Tea - Not always necessary, but I know when I need it. You can buy an herbal blend that’s great for sleep (I’m a huge fan Yogi Bedtime Blend and Celestial Seasonings Vanilla Sleepytime tea) Plain old chamomile tea helps, too. If you’re pregnant, make sure the herbs are pregnancy-safe.
- No computer/screen after 9 – Screens work to reset your brain, waking you up when you should be winding down. Turn off the computer or TV and put away the cell phone.
- Bed by 10 - I like being asleep by 10. I find that I have an easier time going to sleep around then and it’s easier for me to get up in the morning.
- Bath or foot soak - This is a treat that helps when I’m feeling stressed or sore. I add epsom salts and lavender and frankincense essential oils.
What’s your routine look like?