One of the best ways I’ve been able to support my health is to create everyday routines and habits around the five pillars of good health: diet, relationships, exercise, sleep, and managing stress. There is a lot to accomplish each day between work, home, and being a mom, and I reserve my brainpower for the things that require high levels of creativity and thoughtfulness. For daily routines, I want to be like a robot where I do them with little to no thought, and they become health-centered habits.
The 21 Day Habits of Health Project (21DHOHP) is an intention to try a single health-centered action for 21 days each month. According to the researchers in a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology, 21 days is within the timeframe to form a new habit . Each month I pick a single action that supports the five pillars of good health: diet, relationships, exercise, sleep, and stress management. For the actions my body responds positively to, I’ll work to include them into my daily routines and habits.
Diet. Food provides our organs and systems the information and ingredients to work properly. Nutrient and mineral rich foods gives our body functions the information to grow, restore, and maintain. When our bodies are nourished properly, we physically and mentally perform at our best, we feel good, have the energy to do the things we want to do, we feel happy. During the 21DHOHP, I will try foods and routines that will support my body and health.
Relationships. Close relationships with people we can trust makes us feel secure. Studies have shown strong, trusting friendships and a supportive community results in better health, less disease, and longer lives. During the 21DHOHP, I’m embracing the relationships that elevate me and make me my best self. In the same regard, I will be “detoxing” from my life relationships that cause me guilt, anxiety, or don’t bring out my best self.
Exercise. Regular movement and exercise effects our whole body by keeping our joints healthy, strengthening muscles and building bone, losing and maintaining weight, supporting heart health, brain health, and preventing stress, injury, and chronic disease. Each day we want to be moving (standing and walking ) more and sitting less. 2-3 times each week we want higher-intensity exercise like a run or exercise class and mind-body movement like yoga.
Sleep. We all NEED sleep. It affects productivity, emotional balance, memory, focus, metabolism, immune function, heart health, and even creativity. It’s the only time our body restores and cleans house. Our bodies need 7 – 9 hours of sleep.
Stress Management. Stress is mostly not avoidable in our busy lifestyle managing home and work, and conquering the world. Stress management is the most important of the five pillars of good health because you can change your diet, exercise regularly, but if you aren’t managing your stress you will still be at risk for conditions like heart disease, diabetes, thyroid diseases, auto immune diseases. Stress management is hard. It asks a lot of us. It forces us to slow down, disengage for a moment from the intensity of modern life.