35 Ways to Health and Happiness
Too often, women let their obligations take precedence over their health. Stop it, ladies! There’s nothing wrong with taking a little time to take care of yourself. In order to help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of things both big and small that women can do to get themselves mentally and emotionally (and physically) healthy…and stay that way. Nurture yourself. Don’t always give and happily accept receiving from others with grace and gratitude. Time evolves and passes so quickly; take time to breath, smell and enjoy what is right in front of you. Trust that your instincts are valid and there truly isn’t a “must do” list, but a “must explore” list. Pam Lewis, Instructor, Vinyasa Flow Yoga. Take care of your body to take care of your mind. Taking care of your body is an excellent approach towards improved mental and emotional health. Exercise not only strengthens the heart and lungs but releases endorphins that energize and lift your mood. Exercise helps relieve stress, anxiety and depression. It is also important to get enough rest, ideally 7-8 hours sleep a night. This and good nutrition will also affect your energy levels and mood. Ben Mackie, Owner, Ben Mackie Fitness.
Coming from a man’s perspective: men’s and women’s emotional and mental well-being are typically on different levels. But I will say that, universally, we all can improve our well-being using exercise as a release. Whether it’s running, walking, Zumba, bike riding, etc…it doesn’t matter, just get moving. It doesn’t matter your fitness level, either. At some point, we all had to take that first step. Make today that day you say, “I’m going to take care of myself.” Tony Vice, Owner, Fleet Feet Stockton
With so many things going through your mind, this can actually be one of the more challenging relaxation techniques you could try. The idea is to empty your mind of all thoughts so it will be available and receptive to spiritual enlightenment. It takes a long time to get there; in the meantime, put on some soothing music, close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
Play a Game.
Word and board games that require strategy and focus help to care for shortcomings connected to memory loss and dementia. Engage your brain, and expand your brain width! –Mary Nicholson, Stroke Recovery and Caregiving Coach, Healings in Motion
Learn new Things.
Get exercise and peace of mind in one fell swoop by participating in activities like yoga, Pilates or tai chi (which is often referred to as “meditation in motion”).
Go for a walk.
The best advice I can give to improve a woman’s emotional and mental well-being is to walk. Walking improves leg health as well as overall health. It helps relieve daily stress and encourages social interaction if walking with a partner. It is an easy, cost effective way to get in shape, be healthy and relieve stress. Stephanie M. Dentoni, M.D., President, Vein and Vascular Institute
Practice progressive muscle relaxation.
Starting from your feet and moving up, you systematically tense up and relax the different muscle groups in the body. This both relieves immediate physical tension and, with practice, helps you to recognize when you are becoming stressed.
Talk about it.
Whatever you might be going through, there are others out there who are or have gone through the same thing and will understand. You don’t have to go through it alone.
Sing about it.
When you’re feeling down, close the windows, crank up the tunes and sing your heart out. Whether the music is happy or sad, losing yourself in it for a while is a great way to release pent-up tensions and energy.
Be they daily, weekly, or monthly. There is nothing better than the feeling of accomplishment you get by setting and achieving goals. (Just make sure they are somewhat realistic and achievable.) Carl Hultgren, Founder, Pure Form PFT
Take 20 minutes.
Every day, treat yourself to a full 20 minutes of guilt-free downtime and relaxation. Read another chapter of that novel, take a leisurely bath. Give your battery the recharge it needs to tackle another day.
Reconnect with the sensations of the present.
Take time to appreciate the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of your surroundings–instead of that touchscreen panel in front of you. See the present moment clearly, and it can change the way you see yourself. Identify the best moment of your day, each day as you live it, and ask yourself what makes it special. Andrew Chao, MD, Valley Perinatal & Genetics Diagnostics Center
Take a deep breath.
Grandma always said to take ten deep breathes before responding to a stressful situation. It’s true. Pranayama (breath-work) is scientifically proven to calm the nervous system: 1. Focus on your heart center. 2. Breathe in through your heart center and out through your heart center. 3. This brings you to a neutral state. 4. Now breathe in and bring the situation, person, place or thing into the heart center and breathe out through your heart center.
This calms the amygdala (the part of the brain that stores memories) so we can respond to life dramas without reacting. Kathi Kimmel, CAS (Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist), Shaping Up Rx
A big genuine laugh improves moods in more ways than one. Beyond the fact that you’re enjoying whatever caused you to laugh, your body actually relaxes and mood-enhancing endorphins are released. In other words, watching your favorite sitcom is good for your health.
Your environment can have a big impact on your mood. Doing things like mopping the floors, clearing stuff you don’t use out of the closet and doing the dishes are small but very real ways of keeping your environment in order. And the activities themselves can be fairly meditative.
Get rid of the things that make you unhappy.
Start cutting out all negative aspects of your life. If something in your life is making you unhappy cut it out. Carl Hultgren, Pure Form PFT
Improve your mood naturally with serotonin.
Increase serotonin levels in the brain via regular exposure to bright sunlight, limiting the intake of SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) antidepressants and adopting a more alkaline diet of fruits, vegetables and plenty of water. Paula Ray, Nutritionist & Colonhydrotherapist, Healthy Vibrant Living
Don’t put it off.
We’ve all put things off because we don’t want to do them. But procrastination only lengthens the period of anticipation and, as a result, increases the amount of stress you feel.
Mix up your routine every once in a while.
Keep things from feeling stale. Take a different route home from work, or even up and go on a spur-of-the-moment weekend getaway.
Work on your time management.
A lot of stress can be alleviated through proper planning. Make lists. Be more faithful using your calendar. Line-up your chores so you can multi-task them and won’t have to drive around town multiple times.
Lessen the focus on your problems by helping others.
Be proud of the work you do for everyone you do it. I find my biggest joy comes from helping others. So if you want to feel better about your current lot in life, then go help make someone else’s life better. –Carl Hultgren, Pure Form, PFT
Get a hobby.
Take up something like painting, knitting or woodworking. Doing something creative can be a great outlet for stress. In addition to focusing your brain on the task at hand, there is the satisfaction of making something and enjoying the process of doing so.
Take a class.
Learn something new–online or in an actual classroom environment–to keep your brain from stagnating. Keeping the brain challenged improves synaptic function, memory and alertness. –Mary Nicholson, Stroke Recovery and Caregiving Coach, Healings in Motion
Simply take the time to treat yourself well.
Women that take time (even just 10 minutes) every day for themselves, eat at least 3-4 servings of vegetables each day, sleep 7 hours each night, and exercise at least 30 minutes three times a week are often more emotionally balanced with their minds and bodies functioning at their peak. We become venerable when we neglect ourselves. Acupuncture can also help restore and maintain our mind and bodies. –Connie Schwartz, L.Ac., Inner Balance Medicine
Go ahead and pamper yourself.
Every once in a while, it’s okay to get that pedicure or massage. And you’d be amazed at what some time at a day spa can do for your mental state (not to mention your skin).
Create a relaxing pre-sleep ritual.
Do whatever you have to in order to wind down before going to bed. Top of the list? Don’t look at your phone or tablet in bed; the bright light of the screen together with stimulating content or games excites rather than relaxes.
Ideal sleep conditions are in a cool, dark room with a minimum of ambient noise. Choose comfortable, breathable bedding. If you frequently find yourself having a hard time falling asleep or waking up frequently, talk to your doctor about possible insomnia or sleep apnea.
Wake up, write it down.
You wake up in the middle of the night remembering something you have to do the next day. Instead of lying awake thinking about it, write a quick reminder on a pad of paper by your bed. That way, you won’t have to worry about forgetting and will hopefully feel relaxed enough to fall back asleep.
Write down the things you appreciate.
Be grateful for the things you have today. It helps to write a list of three things you are grateful for every day. (This is also a great way to take time for yourself. Wake up an extra 15 minutes early and just sit down with your cup of coffee and write that gratitude list.) –Carl Hultgren, Pure Form PFT
Keep a journal.
Writing down your experiences with regularity will help you to recognize patterns in relationships, health, etc. in both the short and long term. Taking the time to put things down into the written word can also help to give you a new perspective on them.
Smelling something nice can have a profound effect on one’s mood. So light those scented candles or add a few drops of essential oils into the bath water.
Make time to cook.
With today’s hectic schedules, the impulse can often be to swing through a fast food drive-thru and be done with it. But taking a few minutes to make your own healthier meals at home makes you more mindful of and connected to what you’re eating. And it can be fun! –Paula Ray, Healthy Vibrant Living
See your doctor.
If you have tried different things but can’t seem to get out of your funk, don’t hesitate to get professional help. Your physician can help you determine the real cause of your problem. Sometimes, what is perceived as mental can have a physical basis.
Take charge of your health and health care.
Trust yourself and empower yourself to take control over your health care. One of the most important steps with this is to find a practitioner you can talk to and who will listen to you. Amy Bader, ND (Naturopathic Doctor), Cultivate Wellness
Have a meaningful and wise relationship with yourself above all. Your outside circumstances are highly influenced by your inside circumstances, so a healthy relationship with self is key to change. Let your heart do to the talking, let the brain do the paperwork and always remember your body is a living, breathing extension of you. Make every cell in your body feel the love you have for it in every way. This intention toward yourself could lead you to make different choices in food, exercise and the company you keep. Helena Monica, Owner, Bikram Yoga Central Valley
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ACHIEVING HIGHER
LEVELS OF MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL WELLNESS IN
YOUR LIFE, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ANY OF
THE CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS FEATURE:
Ben Mackie Fitness
840 W. Benjamin Holt Dr.
Stockton, (209) 955-0360
Bikram Yoga Central Valley
(209) 948-YOGA (Stockton)
(209) 368-YOGA (Lodi)
755 S. Fairmont Ave., Ste. B
Lodi, (800) 738-7303
Fleet Feet Stockton
277 Lincoln Center
Stockton, (209) 952-1446
Healings in Motion
56 S. Lincoln St.
Stockton, (209) 234-2802
Healthy Vibrant Living
1833 W. March Lane #7
Stockton, (209) 931-8800
Inner Balance Medicine
801 S. Ham Lane, Ste. B
Lodi, (209) 369-5008
Kaiser Permanente Obstetrics & Gynecology
4601 Dale Rd.
Modesto, (209) 735-3330
P. Gill Obstetrics &
Gynecology Medical Group
Pure Form PFT
Shaping Up Rx
1568 Jasmine Way
Lodi, (209) 329-5859
St. Joseph’s Behavioral Health Center
2510 N. California St.
Stocktonm, (209) 461-2000
Valley Perinatal &
Genetics Diagnostics Center
1617 N. California St., Ste. 2e
Stockton, (209) 933-9888
Vein and Vascular Institute
2216 N. California St., Ste. C
Stockton, (209) 462-VEIN (8346)
Vinyasa Flow Yoga
2389 W. March Lane, Ste. 202
Stockton, (209) 473-1332