Healthy Behaviours

By CNM Health Coach Graduate Emma Smith-Gamble

YOUR GENETICS LOAD THE GUN – YOUR LIFESTYLE PULLS THE TRIGGER

is probably one of the most well-known quotes used by Health Coaches.

So with that in mind, how healthy is your terrain?

We all massively depend on our environment as it’s the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the people we work with and socialise with. Can you create a healthy environment so your body, health and wellbeing can thrive allowing you to grow and develop through the different stages of life?

We all have goals in life, whether they be personal or work related. We all know the impact of good health and wellbeing contributes to decreased risks of disease and illness and promotes improved immune functioning for a quicker recovery and most importantly a life of longevity.

So does a health condition or disability determine high performance and success? In the words of Randy Pausch “WE CANNOT CHANGE THE CARDS WE ARE DEALT WITH, JUST HOW WE PLAY THE HAND”. We can all think of inspiring individuals that overcame adversity. American professional surfer, Bethany Hamilton survived in 2003 from a shark attack where her left arm was bitten off. She returned one month later on her surfboard and continued to practice. Those who achieve high levels of success and performance will have the ability to adopt healthy behaviours and better still sustain them. Their mindset will be to achieve the desired outcomes.

DO YOU HAVE AN OPEN MINDSET?

There will be a number of factors that influence our mindset which are a series of beliefs and self perceptions which determines how we think and feel which then impacts our behaviours. Having an open mindset to be receptive to new ideas and information will produce opportunities and benefits that will create an environment to think about outcomes in different ways.

I invite you to consider and introduce a 4 pillared approach to your overall health and wellbeing to get the best out of life and business to thrive not just survive. After all, how do your lifestyle choices impact your health and your body at work and play?

What does it mean to be a pillar of strength? It offers support and help during some very difficult times.

I am sure everyone reading this can recall a difficult time in their life and who and what acted as their pillar? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a winning formula that we tapped into for everything we needed to lead a life with a whole health approach?

Well, let me let you into a secret, we do…. they are the very fundamentals we should adopt if we don’t want to see a decline in our overall health and wellness.

Whilst I know this sounds all too easy, some of us know deep down that looking at all aspects of our lifestyle can be a challenge.

  1. Nutrition – how we fuel our body
  2. Movement – how we look at our muscles, joints, brain, heart, lungs
  3. Sleep – how we look at every process in our body, fight disease, develop immunity
  4. Mind-body connection – how we look after the powerful impact on our well-being

These 4 pillars can be broken down again and again looking at them through the lens of the different challenges in life and business to health and wellbeing. By using these 4 pillars to address challenges you will start to see what can and will make a difference. There are many examples I could use but I am going to choose one I’m sure we can all relate to:

BURNOUT

The cycle of burnout is that you start to feel overwhelmed by the tasks you need to achieve and you lose the ability to focus, which impacts productivity and you become less resilient to the challenges ahead.

A pattern emerges which includes behaviours where you crave junk food or see it as an easy option as you’ve had a long day and it fits the lifestyle on that day. The knock on effect can be seen in the rapid rise in blood sugar levels which then lead to more cravings and the lack of motivation for movement or to exercise. In turn this negatively interferes with sleep, causing poor sleep or lack of which affects our melatonin levels. Not to mention the impact it has on our mental health as we are physically and emotionally exhausted.

All of the above can be addressed using the 4 pillared approach to change the outcome. However, the key to unlocking the 4 pillars is my favourite friend Mindset.

MINDSET

is a whole topic in itself, but I’d like to leave you with something to try. Let’s look at what method we can use to change your mindset, to help you foster a growth mindset to promote the 4 pillared approach, which will ultimately improve your overall health.

TASK

For now, just pick one of the 4 pillars and look to create a habit to change your routine which should then become a repeatable routine on a daily basis. For example – over the last 12 hours how much screen time have you had? Go on, have a little look… Sadly modern living now plays its part in decreasing our natural melatonin levels, as the blue light from our devices messes with your circadian rhythm and sleep cycle, signalling our brains to say “Wake Up, Stay Alert” when actually we should be in chill mode ready for bed!

Consider having no screen time for at least 60 to 90 minutes before bed! Hmm you need an accountability partner to stay on track. Choose an object like the fridge or an object you look at every day. Then pick a word with 7 letters. I’ve picked the word ‘Winners’. For each day you achieve your goal of no screen time for 60 to 90 minutes before bed, write the letter on a post it note and pop on the fridge. Ie, day 1 W, day 2 I and so on. Can you complete the word and see the benefits.

If you don’t fancy trying the above, have a look at how to support sleep hygiene from the list below and pick one from this list:

  • Avoid caffeine after 1pm
  • Eat tryptophan rich foods & foods rich in B6 as they support the melatonin production
  • Read up on the benefits of blue light blocking glasses & invest and wear in the evening as they are inexpensive; orange, blue light blocking glasses can block blue light by up to 98%
  • Consider swapping to twilight bedtime sleep lights before bed – remember the blue light from many LED bulbs can disrupt sleep
  • Remove screens from the bedroom and any items that don’t suggest sleep & relaxation
  • Meditation – try some guided meditation – can help calm the mind & regulate the heart rate
  • FOMO – don’t get pulled into….. one more look on social media before I go to sleep
  • Work life balance – set very clear boundaries ie, no checking of e-mails after a certain time in the evening. Granted this may be hard and may require some Behavioural changes but will lead to a more restful mind;
  • Listen to calming music – hot bath – read a book
  • Don’t eat after 8pm at night
  • Eat food that nourishes and fuels your body and avoid anything processed – stayclear of refined sugars.
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Stay hydrated

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