BY DR LIBBY
We all know the foundation to a healthy body is a well-balanced nutrient-rich way of eating, good hydration and regular movement, but if we look beyond that, there are many more ways we can practise optimum wellness. Our emotions and our biochemistry are just as influential when it comes to whether or not we feel energised, optimistic and nourished.
Here are 10 essential pieces of women’s health wisdom, for women of all ages:
- Take responsibility for your health. When you say “I don’t have time” for something, what you are essentially saying is “that is not a priority for me.” How do you feel when you say to yourself that preparing a nourishing dinner is not a priority for you? The reality is we cannot compromise our nutrition and expect to still have fantastic health.
- Gut bacteria is the basis of all health. Do all you can to ensure oodles of good bacteria happily inhabit your gut by avoiding antibiotics (when not essential) and eating real food — especially organic bone broths, fermented foods, plenty of vegetables and nourishing fats.
- Protect your progesterone production. Progesterone is a powerful anti-anxiety agent, anti-depressant, diuretic and essential for our body to access fat reserves to burn for energy. Across the years of menstruation and also once past the menstruating years, the body continues to make sex hormones in numerous parts of the body including the adrenal glands. Ensure good adrenal health (see no.6 and no.7) so the body’s production of progesterone is optimal across all phases of life.
- Love your liver by reducing its toxic load and boosting your nutrient intake with a daily green drink. Choose organic produce, natural skincare and household products; cut down on your refined sugar and alcohol consumption.
- Be a ‘Flexitarian’ – when it comes to both food and your life. Not holding so tightly to ‘control’ allows for the ebbs and flows of life to move naturally without stringent rules that hold us back and stress us out. It allows for celebration and enjoyment without the residual feelings of guilt. Rigidity when it stems from fear does not serve our health in any way.
- Activate your parasympathetic nervous system, your body’s natural “rest and digest” pathway, with 10 (or more) long, slow, diaphragmatic breaths each day, a regular meditation practice, restorative yoga, or Stillness Through Movement.
- Optimise your sleep cycle and reduce your “on” time by avoiding bright lights and screens at least two hours before bed.
- Flex your “no” muscle more frequently and set clear boundaries around prioritising time for yourself. Refer to no.1—if we say we don’t have time to spend doing things that nourish our soul and make us happy, what message are we sending to our body?
- Drop the judgment. There is a story behind every person. There is a reason why they are the way that they are. Do your best to consider this always, as it helps us to bring curiosity rather than judgment to our interactions.
- Take time to stop and take stock of everything you have. Science has shown that the nervous system cannot focus on more than one thing at a time so when you feel grateful you cannot be stressed.