For a brief recap:
Over the past few months, my own wellness was taking a backseat... and I was struggling, to put it lightly. INSERT the love of my life. The hubster gave me some tough love + an idea. He casually mentioned I should focus on simply doing one percent better each day... just 1%. For a person with a "Go BIG or Go HOME" attitude, this was hard for me to accept. However, he went on... if I focused on simply being 1% better each day over time, I would be doing 100% better than I am doing today... and how great would that feel? RIGHT?!?
This spurred the idea... 1% better each day for at least 100 days. Now, thanks to my brilliant dear sweet aunt... due to the compound effect, if done consistently over 100 days I'll be doing better than 100%. However, for the ease of my mind... we are focusing on one new health hack (1% better) each day for 100 days, consistently.
But WHICH habits, right? And which area... nutrition? sleeping patterns? fitness? financial? spiritual? relationship-wise?
Thanks to bookshelves which are loaded to the brim of books... I have collected darn near 100 healthy habits (aka. hacks). And I made a list in no particular order - I still have a few slots open for health hacks, so if you got some -- shoot me a message or drop it in the comments!
Here's how this will go, though... I'll share each DAY'S HEALTHY HACK + MY THOUGHTS, plus if I can remember exactly where I got the idea + research behind it. Capiche? Good... moving on!
HEALTH HACK: Start your day with 8oz of Water
Honestly. I choose this one for two reasons... okay, three.
Anywho. Here's the Health Hack low-down... drink 8 oz of water FIRST thing in the morning! I would usually sip on it while doing my ever so attractive zombie walk throughout our house. The purpose of this... is well, um, hydration.
Studies have estimated 75% of Americans may suffer from chronic dehydration. And you may be thinking... I'm not dehydrated because you think of dehydration as vomiting, passing out, sticky mouth, crusty lips and death. However, dehydration is a spectrum and even mild dehydration can hinder our performance... by decreasing your memory capabilities + increase levels of anxiety as well as fatigue!
Think about it:
When you wake in the morning, your body is naturally dehydrated because you most likely do not drink in your sleep, right? Folks tend to wake up rushed... grabbing a cup of coffee or beverage (not water) and run out the door.
>>> BUT <<<
When you shift the focus on PROPER hydration first thing in the morning, you can feel your body wake up, your metabolism increase and your head clear!!!
HEALTH HACK: Skip the phone within the first HOUR of the day!
This may be a wee bit challenging for some... and it is for me; hence, why I am doing it FIRST thing in the 100-Day-Health-Hack-Journey!
How this health hack came to me was in a series of threes, that's how it happens doesn't it? We joke in the veterinary ER world how things typically come in clusters of threes... three hit by car patients... three heart failures... three, well, you get the gist. Anywho. Here were my THREES:
Anywho. Here's the details: simply starting the day with my phone OFF: no social medial. no emails. no returning messages. Just starting my day with silence + prayer + my thoughts.
When you start the day PLUGGING into everything + everyone else around you... you automatically go into DEFENSE. You start the day on THOSE people's course, not the one God has set out for you. You start responding to THEIR posts... to THEIR questions... to THEIR messages... and not to YOUR own journey.
In a society where our phones are multi-tools... it's so easy to wake up (with alarm on the phone) + automatically plug into the world around you... Check out news. Respond to messages. See what Sally is wearing this morning. or how far Jane ran this morning before DAWN, is she crazy?!?
Once you do that... you IMMEDIATELY start responding... reacting. and your body hasn't even WOKEN up yet!!! Seriously. Your feet haven't even TOUCHED the floor!
Here's the health hack tips for you + what I did.
Spend the time putting on my ARMOR for the day through affirmations + prayer time + setting out my tasks for the day... and not immediately responding to the world around me!
“The biggest task in the morning is to try to keep my headspace from being invaded by the outside world. ” — Austin Kleon
HEALTH HACK: Switching up deodorant to a more natural brand!
Deodrant is one of those products that folks typically don't think about... it's a habit. And with it's application, you get a wee bit of peace of mind that you won't stink up the place and/or there won't be unpleasant sweat stains under your pits during this afternoon's office meeting. Right?
Well. In our journey towards a healthier lifestyle... while our main focus is optimal brain + gut health... I realized nutrition isn't the ONLY thing that contributes to optimal brain + gut health, but also your internal dialogue... your daily habits... and even the products you place ON your body.
So. I started with deodorant... and soon discovered that there were at least THREE common ingredients found in conventional deodorants that scare me, but let's briefly touch base on one today.
Aluminum is the primary ingredient included in antiperspirant deodorants which is a metal used to “block” the sweat glands. There have been concerns with if this is related to serious medical conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease and breast cancer.
Now. I won't get into the science-y part of things... if you'd like to check out some article to dive a wee bit deeper, I'll source some below. But my thought is this... why chance it? If a natural product works JUST as good as a product containing ingredients which scare me + may pose a health concern in the future.... why not opt for the natural product, right?
This will be a future blog entry from me along with the top natural deodorants I recommend as well as the ones which I have tested + simply do not work (thank you for letting me smell like liver + onions all day long!)
Anywho. Here's the details: read your ingredients on the products YOU are using... research products and companies... find the ones you love + trust then let me know! Because the more you know, the more you can grow!
HEALTH HACK: make your bed in the morning!
In a 2014 commencement speech at University of Texas at Austin, Admiral McRaven said:
“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.
By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”
Powerful words, love. The simple task of making your bed first thing in the morning also has been linked to increased productivity, lowering one's stress level and improving one's mood as well as better quality of sleep.
It's a small task. Why not try... for a week to see how making your bed FIRST thing in the morning helps you! You in? If you want to watch the video... here you go!
HEALTH HACK: Aim for at least 1 cup of leafy greens a day.
In the book, “The Better Brain Solution” it mentions eating a cup of green leafy vegetables every day will make you (on average) 11 years physiologically younger than someone who doesn’t!
Some leafy greens include: spinach, kale, brussels, swiss chard, etc. Now, I like to sneak spinach/kale into smoothies... toss them into scrambled eggs... serve as a big sass salad with a droopy egg on top. DELICIOUS!!!
Leafy greens are loaded with fiber. vitamin K. folate. potassium. antioxidants. anti-inflammatory props and so much more.
How do you sneak leafy greens into YOUR plate? Need ideas, love. Just ask below👇🏼or drop me an email...
Anywho. Here's the takeaway: um. your cells will be physiologically younger if you eat leafy greens daily... it’s good for heart, brains and bones.
HEALTH HACK: End the day with gratitude!
Take a beat to unplug from social media... the tele... what have you + spend a few moments in silence. Reflecting on the day... and the good which came to be.
Did you grab groceries... bump into an old friend... get a letter in the mail which made you smile... stumbled upon a hilarious quote... wore two socks without holes in the toes... progressed in your handstand project... able to spend a few minutes coloring with your littles... got told "I love you"...
Trust me, I have had some pretty shy-tee days with a lot of roadblocks and mountains to climb... but the point is to shift your focus to the good... see the good. There's something there.
You are sitting in silence. Focusing on the good at the end of the day. You will want to write them down in a journal... not on the back of a receipt, but get an actual journal. And each day before your gorgeous head hits the pillow... write three things you are grateful for that day. some can be intense... some can be silly.
Here's the details: Let's shift the focus to a wee bit more gratitude... write down three things each night of what you are grateful for on that day!
“A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles. " — unknown
HEALTH HACK: Schedule your week!
It's perfect that this health hack falls on Sunday... because it's one I am aiming to do each Sunday- schedule my week. I simply take 20 minutes to look at my calendar for the next six days and write out my, well, "ta das" as I call them. The reason I call them "ta-da" is because it's a miracle when I get them all crossed off the list... I'll actually say, TA DA!!!!!
It may sound a wee bit, like, duh... schedule your life. And you may not even do it... or you may only schedule a few things, thinking "I'll just remember ___ (insert mundane task) ___."
However, if we are being real here... if it's not scheduled, it is 86% likely to get missed by miss. So, I schedule it.
What you are scheduling for you this week... what's important to you, love?
Here's the details: schedule your life + what you value... you don't want to miss anything!
This week, I was sidelined for the first three days because of a spastic should muscle (the rhomboid), the little bugger. However, after three days of ice + rest + essential oils + anti inflammatories... I was ready to get back to sweating. The first few days, I simply walked BUT when the hubster gave me the "okay" to push myself a wee bit. Here's a look at the workout I tried out!
If you have any tidbits or health hacks YOU love, then share below or shoot me an email -- I'd love to learn more. Because the more you know... the more you grow! Until then...
love + gumption.
Brain + Gut Health Explorer