Did you know that daily habits can change your life? YES! The wonderful thing about being alive is that it’s never too late to change course. Here are five basic lifestyle habits that can keep you on top of your game. These tips and tricks keep you focused on simple daily actions: Routine, meditation, movement, nutrition, and sleep.
Routine is the overarching framework of your daily habits.
Routine is a habit and should consist of meditation, movement, nutrition, and sleep. Keep your routine simple enough to make sure it’s sustainable. I don’t know about you, but if I have to think too much about it or it gets too complicated – you’ve lost me. Routine is synonymous with “ritual.” According to Scientific American, rituals are more rational than you might think. Studies show that rituals lessen anxiety, grief, and disappointment.
One of the most powerful rituals for me is my gratitude Five Minute Journal. I do this daily at the same time each morning. It is an effective and positive way to start out each day on the right foot. I find it best to do it outside if the weather permits. I know this won’t be the best option in every climate during certain months! But get outside when you can. Air quality is usually better outside. Vitamin D from the sun is great, as long as you don’t have photosensitivity. If you do, be sure to take necessary precautions. Try to expose your eyes to the Sun because that changes your biorhythm. It has a valuable effect on your sleep-wake cycle. It also changes hormones in your body.
Meditation keeps me grounded.
I love to meditate. Be sure to add this to your daily habits. There are great meditation apps available like Headspace and Calm if you don’t know where to begin. Meditation is a foundational block for stress management. Managing stress hormones and keeping them in check is vital to managing autoimmunity.
Meditation is also a powerful tool for situational stress management. Think about if you get into an argument, someone frustrates you, or you’re sitting in traffic. You don’t want those acute responses to turn into a chronic response. So in-the-moment stress reduction techniques come in very handy! Finding your breath or a thought that makes you peaceful keeps meditation simple. It can switch a stressful moment into a calm moment. As simple as taking ten deep breaths or thinking of something that you love. That vacation spot or that beautiful meadow from childhood.
Exercise, or simply, movement.
Movement is important and the key with this is going to your “tolerance.” Add this to your daily habits. After you exercise you shouldn’t feel wiped out for the rest of the day. That isn’t necessarily good for you. So your tolerance might be going up and down the hallway once and that’s okay. Or your tolerance could be going out and running three miles, right? So find what you can do, what you can tolerate, without making yourself worse. It may be a bit uncomfortable but it you shouldn’t feel wiped out afterwards. Movement at your own tolerance level is key.
Nutrition is vital.
Avoid all processed foods! Eating lots of plant foods, in a variety of colors is primary to nutrition. The fiber in the vegetables are a building block for a healthy diet. Strive for at least 50% of your plate to be vegetables. If it’s over 80% of your plate, even better! All the phytonutrients and antioxidants in our vegetables are so important. Also stay hydrated. Drink lots of water! Take your body weight, cut that in half and that’s how many ounces of water you should be drinking per day.
Sleep must be a priority!
Sleep and rest are so important to healing and health. Here are some basic sleep tips:
- Don’t look at blue lights in the evening a few hours before bedtime.
- Go to bed at the same time every night.
- Meditation before bed to wind down can be very helpful (meditation upon waking can be helpful as well).
- Get up at the same time every day.
- Expose yourself to light gradually in the morning. Otherwise it can be shocking.
- Your sleep space should be cool and dry. A cool temperature at night is important for healing.
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night if not more, 8 when you can.
- Take small rests during the day where you can. Even going outside for 10 minutes or taking a break to sit down and breathe is helpful. Breaks are great for your body.
Best wishes for a FABulous day!
PS: Still curious about Autoimmunity Triggers? Click here for our Triggers for Autoimmunity Infographic.
Dr. Tiffany Caplan & Dr. Brent Caplan
PS: Have fun exploring the creative and flavorful recipes in Dr. Caplan’s cookbook “Friendly Recipes to Calm the Fires of Inflammation.” These delicious recipes are great support for lowering inflammation due to lupus or other autoimmune disease symptoms.