I CHOOSE GREEN
By: Analiese Arle
It’s no secret that “green is good for you,” but modern day urban settings seemingly have little to no “green” that’s readily accessible. City life is cramped, loud, and creates a busy mindspace. These stress triggers negatively affect your mind and body, but the good news is, escaping has never been easier! You can completely alter your thoughts and feelings through your lifestyle choices.
Every choice you make, consciously or not, affects your daily attitude. Start with your diet. Picture it: you’re at lunch looking down at the plate in front of you. How many leafy greens or other fresh, plant-based options are in front of you? If it’s little to none then it’s time to pile those vitamins and minerals on. You’re a grown adult not a kindergartener; eat your spinach! Research has shown that eating a well balanced diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and proteins, along with whole grains lowers your chance of weight gain and chronic disease. Anthony Komaroff, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School states: “one of the most important fields of medical science over the past 50 years is the research that shows just how powerfully our health is affected by what we eat. Knowing what foods to eat and in what proportions is crucial for health.” So if you’re finding yourself getting #hangry and spouts of low energy, then pick up an apple, put down the iced coffee, and give your body what it needs--proper nourishment.
Before you quit reading this post from the word “exercise,” just hear me out. You do not have to go to the gym everyday in order to receive the health benefits of exercise. All you have to do is not be stagnant. You are 70% water, so act like it; ebb, flow, move! Stagnant pools of water are icky anyway.
If city life has you sitting at your desk from 9-5, then you understand achieving the recommended 10,000 steps a day that everyone and their mother posts to their IG stories going #I’mBetterThanYou, can seem impossible. Prove them wrong! You don’t need fancy equipment to get your heart rate up. Take a 20 minute walk in the park on your lunch break (look at you incorporating that greenery scenery), ride a bike to work, get up and stretch every so often, anything that gets you up, in your body, and away from those pesky pixels on your computer screen.
Mind and Body
Discussions relating to mental health have thankfully risen. We’re seeing more and more people open to the idea that mental health days are important for overall wellness, and it’s being acknowledged that stress is a key factor in making people sick as “many people who are stressed end up eating, drinking and smoking more, and sleeping and exercising less — tendencies that have obvious negative consequences for our health.” (AARP. 2016). Stress creates a negative, neverending cycle, where you feel powerless over your bleak mental state, attitude, and outlook on life. What can you do about it? Practice something that provides you a safe space for mental clarity, and in return keeping your stress low.
I suggest yoga. A real shocker of a suggestion, I know, but it has quickly become the newest trend, estimating that over 37 million Americans practice it in some form or another. Yoga provides mental and physical wellness, so it’s no wonder every other post on your IG feed is #YogaIsLife. My favorite thing about yoga is in order to successfully complete a session your mind must fully dedicate itself to the moment. It’s about listening to your body and doing what feels good. Every yoga teacher I’ve ever had has stated that you know you are advancing in your practice when you’re listening to your body. Your body is incredibly smart, and will tell your mind what to do to make the poses comfortable, but you have to be breathing for your mind to be listening. At the end of a 45 minute sweaty session you’ll be open and relaxed. It’s truly one of the greatest ways to recenter yourself.
Bonus: Yoga has become so popular, that there are many “Yoga in the Park” events (type it into Facebook, I guarantee something will pop up), making it easier for one to manifest their overall wellness.
Physically escaping your stress triggers is the most obvious way to reduce stress, but let’s face it, not everyone can take a full on vacation every time they feel the weight of the world on them. What you can do is take “mini vacays.” These are moments you allow yourself to think of something that brings you joy and beauty. After these moments you will find yourself a tad calmer, and ready to get back to work. If you work in an office downtown, look out the window for a small patch of nature--trees, ocean, flowers--and simply breathe, meditate, and stay present. Allocating beauty into your headspace laces positivity throughout your day.
When you think you’re about to admit yourself to the loony bin, then it’s time for a total wellness reboot. The Wellness Doctor is writing a prescription for a Nature Oasis Vacation at the Lyons Estate. The modern off the grid home situated between Volcano National Park and Hilo Town offers an abundance of relaxation and mindful living. Here you will be surrounded by local farmers markets providing an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables; 20 acres of forest preservation supplying mental clarity as you listen to the wind rustle in the trees and beautiful endemic birds sing to you; and a chance to live off the grid finding harmony within nature, rebalancing your soul, and providing you with the ultimate cleanse.
Take time for yourself to be well. EVERYONE deserves it.