Our bodies are like historic buildings; captivating, breathtaking, inspiring and timeless in their appeal but, like historic buildings, our bodies require maintenance and tender loving care, and in some cases, a full restoration.
When our bodies are strong and healthy we are able to live life to the fullest. We live with grace and poise. We feel athletic and efficient. We think clearly, we focus well and we enjoy the adventure of life because we have faith in ourselves and our bodies to manage any challenges that come our way.
Sometimes, however, through injury, illness or emotional stress or trauma our bodies begin to break down and this is when they need our love the most.
When you are faced with a major restoration it is important to have a plan; a blueprint for good health.
This is a personal plan that will be unique to you. Your body wants to thrive and to be well and it may need a little help.
Modern medicine is a marvel, there are now surgeries and treatments and medicines for every ailment we can think of. Embrace everything at your disposal to improve your health but remember these medicines are scaffolding. They are a sometimes necessary support to keep your building/body safe and upright in order for healing to occur.
Scaffolding stops a lot of bad things from happening e.g. medicine may stop you having a heart attack or stop you from having migraines or anxiety or acid in your stomach but it does not restore your body. Its aim is to protect you whilst you identify the cause and then treat yourself with nutrition or lifestyle change. If you only put up the scaffolding and don’t do anything to treat the underlying cause you are essentially putting up an ‘out of order’ sign, accepting that you are a condemned building and sending your blueprint into a process of decay and ruin.
Scaffolding is useful, vital and essential but it is the first step and not the only step in the process of restoration.
In order to restore your body to good health it is important to remember quality, strength and balance. These things will help you to master the basics and get you feeling fitter, stronger and healthier.
The basics really consist of the following areas:
1. Good quality air
2. Good quality drinking water
3. Good quality nutrition
4. Good quality movement
5. Good quality thoughts and attitude
6. Good quality faith and belief in something greater than yourself regardless of what you call it. This doesn’t have to be a belief in religion.
7. Good quality sleep
Good Quality Air
When you try to hold your breath you begin confidently and feel strong, you are on top of the world and you can do anything. You feel that it would be easy to hold it forever. But, after only a few seconds it begins to get uncomfortable, you begin to overheat and feel panicky until finally you desperately gasp out for air.
In many ways we live like this, starved of oxygen, panicky and gasping for air and we don’t even realise it.
We love the security of our enclosed spaces. We love the warmth of our homes and the convenience of our air-
In the beginning it is comfortable, cosy and secure and then we begin to be affected. Subtly, at first, through tiredness and lethargy, maybe allergies, maybe a cold or flu here and there and maybe some asthma or headaches.
What we forget is that these enclosed spaces become stagnant, the air quality is poor and we forget that the quality of air that we breathe is directly affecting our health.
Simply by making an effort to rug up and open some windows or to go outside and breathe deeply, you send your body a signal that it’s OK to take what it needs to be healthy.
When we are enclosed in a stagnant space, our body senses it and attempt to take in less pollutants. We begin to breathe shallowly and our body slows down to conserve energy.
Because our bodies are so clever at protecting us we often don’t notice the effects until they become chronic or severe.
None of us need to live out in the open all the time but every moment that we remember to breathe deeply and allow ourselves access to good quality air, our health takes a step in the right direction.
Good Quality Water
Water – if you are lucky enough to have access to the internet and this site then you are no doubt also lucky enough to have access to good quality fresh drinking water.
Water is vital to our wellbeing and the cleaner our water the better we feel. Remembering to drink enough can really improve the quality of your health and remembering to filter or change the filter on your water regularly ensures a reduction in the pollutants you ingest. It may help to set an alarm each hour to remind you to drink or to create an association with something. Every time an ad break comes on in your favourite show, or you go to the toilet or for those with young children, each time you change a nappy, have a glass of water. Try it and see what method works best for you.
Good Quality Nutrition
The foods we eat play a huge role in sustaining our bodies and helping us feel good. In the not so distant past we didn’t have the variety of foods we have now.
Our ancestors used to know what foods were good and safe and which ones were poisonous. If their body’s ingested a toxin their body did it’s best to expel it.
The body would let us know by making us anxious or sick. It would make us vomit or give us an irritable bowel or would bloat our stomach in an attempt to break the substance down.
After a negative experience with a food we would know that it was toxic to us and avoid it.
Today we have so many chemicals and additives added to our foods that our bodies have become overloaded with toxins and we no longer know what is safe or poisonous. We begin to feel sick regularly but with so many toxins to choose from it is difficult to identify what is causing the irritations so we just keep eating.
Again our bodies work their hardest to protect us but over time the toxins win out and the body breaks down. This is not to say that our ancestors would have turned down a burger or a cheese cake if it was offered or was available. I’m sure they would have eaten for pleasure just as much as the rest of us, but we are exposed to much more difficult and dangerous choices because our poisons have been mixed with other things to make them taste good.
If you are restoring your body do not shock it by dramatically changing what you are eating. Your body doesn’t need the stress, but do consider increasing the good, safe and tasty alternatives.
Enjoy what you eat as your attitude affects your health. If you choose to eat something that is a ‘sometimes’ food forgive yourself and enjoy it! Don’t eat guilt on top.
Whatever you are eating enjoy your food. Taste your food. Saviour your food and notice how your food affects your body.
Increase gradually the foods that help your body to function at its best and reduce gradually the foods that are poisonous to you.
Not only will you begin to feel better but your body will applaud you.
Good Quality Movement
Our bodies want to move. It’s what they were designed for. Our bodies want to move joyfully and purposefully.
If you are going to walk, walk somewhere. If you want to do weights, lift everyday objects carefully.
When you get on a treadmill and go nowhere or lift weights over and over for the sake of it, your body becomes frustrated and might feel confused. This sort of exercise is dictated by the mind. The mind says ‘do hard labour with no logical outcome and stop, not when you are exhausted but when I, the mind, tell you to’. It is no wonder that the body rebels. Instead give your body exciting, fun, purposeful activities.
Thank your body for working and moving so well for you and if your body is currently unable to move much, because of a health condition, do very gently what you can and focus on some of the other steps to health first.
Good Quality Thoughts & Attitudes
Our thoughts and our attitudes define us.
Think positively and you invite success. Think negatively and you sentence yourself to misery.
When you are rebuilding yourself it is easy to be critical and doubtful of your ability to feel better.
Listen to the words you speak to others. Do you criticise or put yourself down? Listen to the words you speak to yourself. If you spoke to others in the way you speak to yourself would you still be your friend?
Pay attention to your thoughts and notice when they are negative or unhelpful. Then consciously choose to change the channel. Just as we can move through channels on a television to find something better, choose to change the thoughts, the stories and the pictures in your mind to something more helpful.
Over time your positive thoughts and images will become more frequent and powerful and you will begin to feel better.
Good Quality Faith and Belief
Life can be hard and it’s even harder if you feel you are doing it on your own. Having a belief in a loving, powerful and protective being or energy that is greater than yourself, helps you to feel unconditionally cared for and important.
Having something or someone greater than yourself to call on for assistance can greatly reduce feelings of depression, abandonment and helplessness. When you feel that you are not coping and do not have the energy to do it on your own, belief in a higher power can bring great comfort and strength.
Take a few moments now to connect to your higher power. Bask in the energy of unconditional love and support for yourself and your path and give thanks for all of the things that you are grateful for.
Good Quality Sleep
Sleep is absolutely essential to our health and wellbeing. Just go without it for a day or two and you will know what I’m talking about!
Sleep is so important and yet it is not always something we think about until it is a problem.
Some of the following ideas may be helpful in getting your sleep back on track.
- Create a sleep space that is clean, safe, calm and free of distractions.
- Create a wind-
down routine in the evening to prepare for sleep e.g. close all the curtains, have a shower, engage in quiet and relaxing activities.
- Read a book rather than surf the net or watch TV as the artificial light overstimulates the brain.
- Sleep in pyjamas or clothing that you only wear to bed so that your brain associates it with sleep. (If you sleep naked and this works for you, great, but remember being naked can sometimes signal the brain to feel vulnerable and hyper-
alert through the night).
- Have a pen and paper next to your bed so you can jot down any thoughts, dreams, irritations or worries. Having them on paper stops them from floating around in your head and means you don’t have to keep thinking about them.
- Don’t overheat yourself as this can lead to nightmares.
- Go to the toilet before bed as a full bladder can also lead to nightmares
- Create a dream-
time fantasy. Something enjoyable that you can visualise before going to sleep. Remember that your imagination is far more creative and inventive than any TV show.
- Wait for the sleep wave. Sleep waves come approximately every 45 minutes or so. If you miss one and can’t lie in bed, get up and do something until the next one comes.
- Go to bed only when you are tired and ready for sleep, but get up at the same time each morning. This avoids a pattern of getting to bed late and sleeping in late. Getting up at the same time each day will make you more tired for the next few nights and you will find it easier to go to bed at a reasonable time.
- Give up the nanna nap. I am a huge fan of the afternoon nap but if it is interfering with your night time sleep you may need to give it up.
- Lighting – reduce the artificial light in your lives where possible. Work with light’s natural rhythms, wind down as the sun goes down and use softer light rather than bright fluorescent lights.
- Use sunglasses, during the day, but not as a permanent accessory. Your body requires sunlight to enter through the retina in the eye in order to produce chemicals and enzymes related to rest and wakefulness and healing.
Persist. Good sleep habits are worth persevering with and remember that if your sleep difficulties persist despite trying some of these strategies, go and see a health practitioner.