7 health habits that will make your life more satisfying

Sometimes what we need to simplify is our life, our daily habits. Do you ever feel you’ve been busy all day, and didn’t accomplish anything you really wanted to do? Maybe decluttering, simplifying, and changing our priorities will create a more satisfying -and healthier- life

Do you ever feel you have too much stuff ? Do you spend more time than you want dealing with clutter? Do you organize only to find you still don’t have enough room for your belongings?

If so, maybe you need to discard stuff, not organize it better. This process goes by different names- decluttering, simplifying, minimalism- with a goal of less stress, more peace, and more time to enjoy activities that truly give us pleasure and satisfaction.

Sometimes what we need to simplify is our life, our daily habits. Do you ever feel you’ve been busy all day, and didn’t accomplish anything you really wanted to do? Maybe decluttering, simplifying, and changing our priorities will create a more satisfying -and healthier- life.

Here are some habits that we often neglect and fail to prioritize, but medical science now recognize as vital to optimal health and well being. I’ve illustrated each with a link to an affiliate service or product that you might find helpful (and through which you can help support this blog), but feel free to develop your own ideas on how you can make these a consisent part of your life.

sleep

SLEEP– Too many of us treat sleep like a luxury or a waste of time rather than as the necessity that it is. Some of us need more quality sleep; many people are chronically tired due to undiagnosed sleep disorders  such as obstructive sleep apnea which aren’t recognized without medical evaluation.

Natural Bedding

eating

FOOD– We need  to eat more nutritious food- a whole food, plant based diet with fresh vegetables and fruits, beans, legumes, whole grains, lean meats, dairy- anything that isn’t processed or full of unnecessary sugar or excessive fat.

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connection

CONNECTION– We need to spend more time with our family and friends, keeping in touch physically and emotionally. Parents and children connect when they read together. Family vacations create connection through shared activities and memories.

Free Baby Board Books!

giving

GIVING– We need to cultivate generosity and give more, whether it’s of our money, time, talent or possessions. Every community offers ample opportunities to volunteer and serve others.

physical activity

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY– We need to move more often , including sports, exercise, chores, walking, even just standing up more than we sit. Here are guidelines recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

mental activity

MENTAL ACTIVITY– We can read, learn new skills or improve established ones,  start or resume a hobby like photography, learn another language, maybe start a blog.

Digital Photography School Resources

conversation

CONVERSATION– We need communication with other people often and authentically. Social media, phone calls, text and email messages substitute when necessary, but they shouldn’t replace face to face time with others. Book clubs, hobby groups, classes, church groups provide safe places to share ideas and learn from others.

2 women talking over coffee with open bibles
Conversation over coffee can be therapeutic. graphic from the Lightstock collection of stock photos, graphics, and other media, an affiliate link

I am indebted to another physician blogger Vania Manipod, D.O. a psychiatrist who believes “it’s stylish to talk about mental health.” A post she wrote in 2015 addressed these ideas and prompted me to explore them in a previous post here.

Please take time to read Dr. Manipod’s post and others on her blog-

“New Year’s Resolution Ideas to Enhance Your Mental Health”

exploring the HEART of healthy habits

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

 

                              Dr. Aletha 

This website is owned and operated by Aletha Oglesby, an Arbonne Independent Consultant, and is not endorsed by Arbonne. Any opinions expressed on this website are made by and the responsibility of the Independent Consultant and should not be construed as a representation of the opinions of Arbonne.
Arbonne makes no promises or guarantees that any Independent Consultant will be financially successful, as each Independent Consultant’s results are dependent on their own skill and effort.
You should not rely on the results of other Arbonne Independent Consultants as an indication of what you should expect to earn. The annual typical earning statement is contained in the Arbonne Independent Consultant Compensation Summary (ICCS) available iccs.arbonne.com.

Expert advice to sleep well every night

Most of us have trouble sleeping occasionally, but if you persistently have difficulty with sleep, you may have a medical condition associated with sleep disturbances such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, depression, or PTSD.

If you live somewhere that observes Daylight Savings Time, you get an “extra” hour of sleep the first Sunday in November when you revert to standard time; unfortunately you lose that hour in the spring when DST starts.

But just like the jet lag from travel, these time changes can interrupt our sleep schedule for a few days. And if you already have trouble sleeping, it’s even more of a problem.

Here’s a review of what sleep professionals recommend to help. But for persistent or severe problems, see your own doctor to get started.

 

person sleeping on a couch
Sometimes getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge.

 

(Affiliate links are used in this post.It costs nothing extra to shop through these links and this blog may earn a small commission, which funds its existence. )

What is Chronic Insomnia ?

Most of us have trouble sleeping occasionally, but if you persistently have difficulty with sleep, you may have a medical condition associated with sleep disturbances. These include

  • sleep apnea
  • restless legs syndrome
  • depression and/or anxiety
  • post-traumatic stress disorder

Some people have true chronic insomnia, meaning persistent sleep difficulty alone. There are various criteria to diagnose chronic insomnia but in general include

  • difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • at least 3 nights per week for at least 1-3 months
  • with impairment of daytime function, such as fatigue/sleepiness, poor concentration, irritability, school or work dysfunction
EXPERT ADVICE TO SLEEP WELL EVERY NIGHT

How is chronic insomnia managed ? 

First step in treatment of chronic insomnia as well as occasional difficulty sleeping  is identifying and treating any underlying medical issues that might contribute to poor sleep. In addition to the ones mentioned above these include

  • pain, of all kinds
  • heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux)
  • congestive heart failure
  • lung diseases like asthma  causes nighttime breathing difficulty
  • menopausal night sweats

Sleep specialists recommend non-drug management of chronic insomnia and reserve sleep medications for more resistant cases. 

Sleep meds were one of the 7 drugs that are overused in my previous post.

a bed with ornate headboard
photo by Dr. Aletha- at the Hemingway house, Key West, Florida

(Read more about Ernest Hemingway’s preserved Florida home at this previous post)

Hemingway’s study- chaos and creativity

 

 

 

Sleep hygiene management

Experts recommend sleep hygiene , basically lifestyle changes, as the initial treatment. Some people have developed bad habits in regards to sleep that need to be unlearned and new behaviors put in place.

For optimal sleep you should

  • Engage in regular exercise- moderate intensity , tai chi , yoga and low-impact aerobic exercise
  • Avoid evening large meals
  • Limit caffeine, tobacco and alcohol
  • Use the bedroom only to sleep and for sex
  • Maintain a regular bedtime-awake schedule
  • Avoid daytime naps
  • Avoid distracting stimuli at bedtime-watching television, using electronic devices, talking on the phone
  • Stay in bed only while sleep

How to dim the lights

The light from electronic devices- clocks, thermostats, televisions, monitors-can disturb your sleep even after you turn off  your phone and tablets. This light can be blocked by stick on light blocking covers than can block out the majority of it.

Light from my clock made it hard for me to fall asleep before I discovered these products. With them I fall asleep easier, and can fall back asleep if I wake up.

Maintaining a regular schedule helps to set or reset your  sleep/wake cycle. So go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.

However, if you can’t  sleep, rather than lie in bed awake, you should get up, do a non-stimulating activity, then return to bed when sleepy.

woman typing on a laptop keyboard.
Using a computer, laptop, or tablet before going to bed can impair sleep.

If you have persistent sleep loss, consider more intensive therapy by a professional.

Cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia , CBT-I , significantly improves chronic insomnia and daytime functioning and is recommended as first line therapy.

CBT-I combines cognitive therapy with sleep restriction, relaxation training and stimulus control.

Treatment typically requires 5-8 sessions conducted by a health professional trained in its use. Patients need to participate by keeping a sleep diary and writing down daily thoughts in a journal, while continuing with the sleep hygiene practices mentioned above.

person writing in a spiral notebook
Writing thoughts in a journal is often encouraged in cognitive behavioral therapy. (photo from the Lightstock.com collection)

Insomnia sufferers can also get help from an online web-based CBT-I, Sleep Healthy Using the Internet , SHUTi.

One study found 70% of those participating improved their sleep, compared with 43% who received education only.  If you  can’t find a trained therapist or don’t have time for office based therapy, this may be a good option.

 

 

 

SleepPhone by Acoustic Sheep

A physician, Dr. Wei-Shin Lai had trouble falling asleep after being awakened at night by calls from the ER. Her husband suggested listening to relaxing music to help her fall asleep.

She designed a comfortable headphone for her own use, and eventually started a company to make and sell them . You can try her SleepPhone  made by her company AcousticSheep.

Manage stress, learn to relax

If you have  occasional trouble sleeping due to stress,  relaxation techniques can help you.  Techniques include  meditation, yoga, imagery, abdominal breathing and muscle relaxation techniques . These can reduce tension and anxious thoughts that inhibit sleep onset and maintenance.

You may find these ideas from a previous post helpful .

5 steps to manage stress and strain

man with hands folded over a book

 

 

Expert advice from physicians

Think alcohol will help you sleep better ? Read this advice from a psychiatrist, Dr. Melissa Welby.

The truth about alcohol and sleep

Curious about sleep apnea? Dr. Deborah Burton offers this review of another common sleep problem.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DIFFERENT SLEEP APNEA TYPES

exploring the HEART of healthy sleep

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

My goal is to bring health and wholeness to everyone who seeks it and hope you will join me.  Please visit my resources page.

Dr. Aletha 
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This post was featured at Thursday Favorite Things Link Up

7 health habits we need more of in 2016

I’ve read articles, blog posts, and social media messages suggesting that we have too much stuff and that our lives would be better with less stuff. This philosophy goes by different names- decluttering, simplifying, minimalism, and it promises a life with less stress, more peace, and more time to enjoy activities that give us pleasure and satisfaction.

I could not agree more and am trying to apply the idea to my life and home. But there are some things we need more, not less of- although they’re not things but habits that we need more of. And by decluttering, simplifying, and changing our priorities, we will have more time to develop them.

A post by another physician blogger, Vania Manipod, D.O. , brought this to my attention. Dr. Manipod is a psychiatrist who believes “it’s stylish to talk about mental health.” On her blog recently she suggested focusing on overall mental health and well-being in 2016 and listed some ideas on how to make it happen.

Let’s consider  her ideas as habits that we need more of in 2016.

SLEEP– Too many of us treat sleep like a luxury or a waste of time rather than as the necessity that it is. Some of us need more quality sleep; many people are chronically tired due to undiagnosed sleep disorders  such as obstructive sleep apnea which aren’t recognized without medical evaluation.

FOOD– We need  to eat more nutritious food- fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meats, dairy- anything that isn’t processed or full of unnecessary sugar or excessive fat.

Eat a variety of fresh foods every day
Eat a variety of fresh foods every day

 

vending machine with junk food
And we need less of this kind of food.

 

CONNECTION– We need to spend more time with our family and friends, keeping in touch physically and emotionally.

family playing a card game
We had fun learning a new game, Boss Monster

 

GIVING– We need to cultivate generosity and give more, whether it’s of our money, time, talent or possessions.

Contact the veterans' crisis line for help.
Contact the veterans’ crisis line for help.

 

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY– We need to move more often , including sports, exercise, chores, walking, even just standing up more than we sit. Here are guidelines recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Man climbing up a rock wall
Rock climbing may be too extreme for you, but we can all find something we can do and enjoy.

 

 

MENTAL ACTIVITY– We need to read, learn new skills,  start or resume a hobby, learn another language, maybe even start a blog. You might even want to read about health; here are some suggestions.

statue of boy reading a book
Children and adults can develop a reading habit.

 

 

CONVERSATION– We need communication with other people often and authentically. Social media, phone calls, text and email messages substitute when necessary, but they don’t replace face to face time with others.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy Dr. Manipod’s post at this link-

“New Year’s Resolution Ideas to Enhance Your Mental Health”

 

 

Here is an affiliate link for the game my family learned together; fun and challenging.

Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Card Game

Boss Monster game
Boss Monster

 

 

 

 

And if you do need to simplify or declutter your life, this site offers practical and sound advice.

Becoming Minimalist