Too many of us feel sick and tired too often. Sickness isn’t your body’s natural state. I know it doesn’t feel like that when you’re trying to restore your health but it’s true! Your body is always working towards homeostasis, or balance. Sickness is your body responding to all the stresses the world puts it under. It has to adapt to the stresses we unknowingly, or knowingly, put our bodies through.
It’s not normal to feel like garbage everyday just because you’re getting older. There are natural ways to heal your body. Your body deserves the healthiest version of itself. I’m going to tell you about 6 of the best ways you can support your body’s health. These concepts are not only important, but they are safe and low cost. Some are even free. I’d like to say they are all easy, but for some of you this will take some work. But trust me — once you incorporate them into your life, they will become a lot easier!
It’s not a pick and choose list. I recommend incorporating all 6 of these natural tips into your healthy lifestyle. Remember, there isn’t one magic bullet when it comes to building a healthy life.
6 Tips to Start Your Journey
1) Get that Shut-eye
How many people do you know who wear their lack of sleep like a badge of honor? Are you one of them? We have to change this. It’s unhealthy for all of us to live in a way that glorifies lack of sleep. Your body needs sleep. That’s when it heals itself and, for women especially, when it restores its hormone reserves. Men should be getting eight hours of sleep and women up to 2 hours more.
When my patients work on their sleep habits and are able to get a good amount of quality sleep, I start to see dramatic improvements to their health. It costs nothing to sleep but can have huge impacts. For some of us though it’s not as easy as it sounds, so we need to work on that.
Tips to improve sleep:
- Go to bed earlier
- Incorporate inversion techniques like yoga or an inversion table
- Turn off electronics and lower lights before bed
- Sleep in total darkness and take in the natural light in the morning
- Try CBD oil to help relieve insomnia (1)
- Practice nighttime rituals
- Be consistent with your sleep habits
If you want to sleep easier it’s also important to lower your stress which also happens to be next on the list for healing your body.
2) Lower Your Mental Stress
Relaxing is easier said than done. Lowering your mental stress is one of the hardest things to do and it shows. According to a recent survey from the American Psychological Association, more than 80% of Americans reported emotions associated with prolonged stress in the past two weeks. (2)
Chronic stress is not a state your body is meant to live in. Your body doesn’t know the difference between modern stress and a bear is chasing you stress. When you are stressed your body goes into fight or flight mode. That moves the resources from working on digestion and repair to make it so your body can run or fight. This can wreak havoc not only on digestion and healing but also other critical parts of the body like hormones.
So, reducing stress isn’t just a feel-good thing your doctor is telling you to do. It’s a health imperative. I understand there are stresses we can control and stresses that are beyond our control. Some stresses we have to mitigate be ensuring we take time for ourselves and our priorities.
3) Get Outdoors
Supporting your body by getting outside not only helps you lower stress and helps you sleep, it comes with a number of health benefits. That’s not surprising as the more time you spend outside the more likely you are to build up some vitamin d. When the sun hits your skin, it starts the biological process of creating the hormone that we know as vitamin D. This hormone plays a role in numerous physiological processes including immune response and metabolic processes.
Yes, there are dietary ways to get this vitamin, but it is very difficult to get as much as you need from diet alone. The average person will produce enough for their daily needs in about 20 minutes of sun exposure. Low vitamin D levels have been connected to higher frequency of getting the cold and flu. (3)
It’s estimated that 90% of people are deficient in vitamin D and we see it a lot in our testing. (4) It’s hard to get enough vitamin D in the winter months so we recommend a supplement. Be sure to get your vitamin D levels tested to see where yours are at. A supplement can’t replace all the health benefits of the outdoors. Spending time in nature is relaxing, improves your mood, and helps you sleep, so make sure you get that outdoor time even with a quality vitamin D supplement.
4) Eliminate Inflammatory Foods
I get it. Food can be another thing that is difficult to change but it’s necessary. The standard diet includes far too many inflammatory foods, and this causes chronic inflammation. If you eliminate gluten, dairy, and soy you will have a great head start on restoring your health.
Diseases like arthritis, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel disease and so many others have inflammation in common and chronic inflammation can lead to a number of diseases. There are a number of causes of inflammation, but a common cause is inflammatory foods. After eliminating these foods many people experience alleviating of symptoms like brain fog, anxiety, acne, sinus issues, headaches, and GI problems.
Common inflammatory foods:
- Processed foods
Many people have food allergies that they aren’t even aware of that cause chronic inflammation. It’s important to find out what foods are causing your inflammation. You can eat all the healthy foods but if you’re allergic to them then they aren’t healthy for you!
Giving up foods you love can feel difficult to implement but you won’t regret it after you start feeling healthier. You will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!
5) Heal Your Gut
If you are like most people you have been damaging your gut for years without even realizing it. It’s time to turn that around. Your gut is made of thousands of bacteria, yeast and flora that make up your gut microbiome. The microbiome is what helps support metabolism, immune system function, digestion, and overall bodily function.
Inflammation can damage your gut which can damage your overall health as it disrupts nutrition absorption and hormone production. You can see how your gut impacts so many other parts of your health so it’s important to take steps to reverse that damage and help heal your body.
Tips to help heal your gut:
- Eat whole, organic foods that aren’t inflammatory
- Enjoy prebiotic foods and other fibers
- Add fermented foods to your diet
- Take 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before meals
- Add bone broth to your diet to help restore your gut lining
- Exercise if your body and health allows
- Avoid over the counter heartburn drugs
6) Reduce Your Exposure to Toxins
Toxins will leave your body in a funk and drag down your health. Yes, your body is made to detox harmful junk, but your body comes in contact with a lot of harmful junk in our modern-day world. This really taxes your liver and overall function of your body. Think of it like a bucket. The more toxins you start to add to your bucket the more it starts to overflow and the harder it is to clean up.
It’s impossible to avoid toxins all together because we are exposed when we touch them, eat, drink and even when we breath. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reduce your exposure. By reducing your exposure, you give your body a chance to keep up with the toxins you can’t avoid.
Tips for avoiding common toxins:
- Protect your indoor air quality and use a good air filter
- Choose organic, whole foods to avoid pesticides and added chemicals
- Upgrade your personal care products because toxins can be absorbed right through the skin
- Use non-toxic cleaning products that you can trust for laundry and every day cleaning
- Invest in a quality water filter to remove toxins
- Trade your nonstick pans for healthy cookware to avoid chemicals like Teflon and PFAS
These are just a few ways to get started and while working with your doctor you may determine the right time for a detox.
Take Back Your Health
You can restore your health. Just because feeling sick and tired is common doesn’t mean it has to be your normal. Support your body for the heathiest version of yourself. You are not alone on this journey. If you are trying everything and its not working or if you need assistance reaching your health goals, we can help.
Written by Dr. Patrick Flynn