Angela Warm, Health Editor
A little over two months into the new year and it’s starting to feel like one of those crazy carnival rides that just never ends. The world we live in feels a bit out of sorts. Just when a tiny ray of light shone through the gray clouds of the past two pandemic years, another storm in the form of war had to darken our skies.
So how do we stay focused on our Health and Wellbeing in today’s endless doomsday news cycle?
Navigating a pandemic was challenging enough, explaining to my kids that there is a war going on just a few countries away, well that has been heart wrenching. I’ve had some very poignant conversations with my kids this week, ones I’d long hoped I’d never have to have.
Their innocent and curious minds are filled with questions, so many questions, mixed with a dash of fear. Oh how I wish I could kiss it all away and make the world a better place for them.
But the truth is I don’t have all the answers.
And I know I don’t have to. I know just being there for them to ask, to voice their concerns or even study a map together will be good for now.
This war feels different though. A bit closer perhaps
And not just in the geographic sense. Yes it’s not in a far off land I’ve never seen with people of different cultures that I’ve n only read about in history books. But it’s closer in the sense that after living abroad for the past ten years, I’m proud to say that my inner circle of friends is quite diverse with people from just about every corner of the earth. I have friends from the Ukraine, Poland and Russia who this war is directly impacting on a deep personal level. It is more personal in that sense.
And War is war, no matter what country, continent, flag, skin color, or reason for fighting it is. People die, lives and countries are forever shattered. The world is left feeling untethered.
And so I am finding myself, my friends, and some of my clients a bit more anxious and stressed this week. Even feeling a bit guilty worrying about their own health, when their are so many bigger, scarier things to deal with at the moment. I gently remind them, and myself, that the world needs their unique gifts. Even when the world is upside down, it is an act of love to take care of our selves, so we are better prepared to take care of others. Know that taking care of yourself is not selfish. You are not turning a blind eye to what is happening, you are simply choosing not to let it dim your precious light.
What can we do to take care of our health?
Put pen to paper and write down your feelings, all of them, the good, the bad – it doesn’t have to be poetic or Hemingwayesque. It just helps you process the range of emotions you may be feeling and get them out of your head. This has far reaching positive implications for your mental health.
Phone a friend
Tap into your community – whether it is friends or family members. Don’t be afraid to share your struggles and feelings. Most likely the person on the other end is feeling exactly the same.
I didn’t say perfect. Aim for well balanced meals full of whole grains, vegetables and healthy proteins. Even better, enjoy a meal with friends. Find joy in preparing the meal, being grateful for the opportunity to be together.
Exercise can be a powerful stress reducer as well as lift your mood, while keeping you physically fit. Go for walks, dance with your kids. Get outdoors for some Vitamin D.
Try some relaxation techniques
I’ve long used Insight Timer and have recently become obsessed with Sarah Blondin. I have to say her soothing voice and beautiful prose have me all kinds of girl crushing and sleeping life a baby. If dreamy guided mediations aren’t your thing, try walking meditation (ie without your phone), yoga, or EFT. Anything that helps lower your stress hormones are all examples of relaxation techniques that can benefit your health.
Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep EVERY NIGHT. If you are having trouble with this try going back to the previous suggestions or check out my previous blog article here. And if that doesn’t work talk to your health care provider, because your body needs more sleep when it’s stressed – honor this.
Don’t sit idly by thinking there is nothing you can do. Volunteer or find another way to help the Ukrainians on the ground or the million plus refugees. There is no shortage of avenues to pursue. Special shout out to the women in my town who organized a donation drive, with a truck full already on it’s way to Poland. Never underestimate the power of a small group of dedicated women. Be one of them.
Try this simple breathing exercise. Breathe in for a count of 5, hold for a count of 5, exhale for a count of 5. This simple and effective exercise can have a profound positive impact on your nervous system and your overall health. Aim for 5 rounds in the morning and 5 before bed.
It’s OK to take a break from the 24/7 doomsday news cycle that can be taxing to your health efforts. Feeling stressed? Go for a walk, leave your phone behind and commune with nature. Studies show it is one of the best things you can do for your health.
Find Humor where you can
We all got a good laugh this week as all the late night talk show hosts were poking fun at Switzerland.
“They have frozen Russian assets and closed Swiss airspace, which is helpful. And now not only is Putin in hot water, he’s in hot chocolate too.”Jimmy Kimmel
“Switzerland has a knife out for Russia, and since it’s a Swiss knife, it comes with little scissors, a toothpick and a corkscrew.”Stephen Colbert
Apparently the kids at school were discussing other ways to fight if they didn’t have weapons. One kid mentioned you could play“Stein, Papier, Schere” aka Rock, Paper Scissors. A good laugh goes a long way.
Taking care of your own health and well being can and will have positive benefits for not just your own physical and mental health, but for those around you as well, and the greater world we all share.
Be Happy in the Moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.Mother Teresa
If you are seeking some motivation and companionship this month, we have some great events you can check out:
Register for my free Midlife Metabolism 21 day Challenge today! All I ask is that you make a donation to a charity supporting Ukraine refugees. If you are feeling bloated, achey, tired and just plain out of sorts, come learn some ways to get back in the saddle and make your health journey easier. It is the perfect blend of nutrition and lifestyle adjustments to help keep you motivated. We start Monday, March 7th. Register here.
Would you like to meet the team behind My Swiss Story for a cup of coffee? If your answer is YES – don’t forget to check out our brand new initiative “Coffee with a Purpose” and register for FREE, places limited.
To read posts from February, click here