In a busy world with much responsibility, it can be challenging to take the time to do what is necessary to promote overall health and well-being. Consider these three ideas below to guide you to make better choices in your day-to-day life, so you can live life to the fullest.
1. Put yourself first. This may be a hard concept to accept for the average woman, who is accustomed to the role of caretaker, nurturer, and the practice of putting other’s needs first. However, if you are stressed, unhealthy, unhappy and sexually unfulfilled, how can you give your family- not to mention yourself- what they need?
How do you put your needs first? The top three self-care areas to focus on include: nutrition, fitness and emotional health. You will be healthier, happier, and a far better role model for your children (especially your daughters) if you take care of yourself, even if it is sometimes at the expense of doing something for them.
2. Sex is an important and wonderful way to communicate with your partner and pleasure yourself.
Few things in life are FUN, FREE and HEALTHY, but sex is one. As Henry Miller wrote, “Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation; the other eight are unimportant.”
“Sex,” said Woody Allen in Annie Hall, “is the most fun you can have without laughing.”
However, there are distinct differences in men’s and women’s sexuality (as if you didn’t already know, i.e. the “Venus and Mars” thing) that are helpful to understand in order to avoid frustration.
The old Masters & Johnson’s linear model of sexuality is a male model: Desire> Arousal>Sexual Intimacy. If a man’s testosterone is OK, he is “always ready.” A man has to have desire as a starting point: no desire, no erection. Desire is primary in a man’s sexual hierarchy.
Not so for women! In a woman, desire is related to the newness of the relationship; desire for a woman is not as much a part of a long-term relationship. A woman’s sexual response is circular, and begins with availability (men are always available).
Women’s sexuality is the opposite of men. First, there must be trust and intimacy, which leads to availability. With availability, if there is gentle physical intimacy or fantasy, etc, then arousal may occur. Only then comes the desire for sexual intimacy. If it was a satisfying encounter, the cycle goes back again to availability. Circular and more complicated. Didn’t ya just KNOW it?!
Do you or your partner think something is wrong when your libido goes south? You’re not abnormal! When you think about it, the joy in a sexual encounter includes the intimacy, the wonderful arousal, the “play” and (hopefully) the delightful release of orgasm. A man must have desire in order to get an erection; a woman does not need desire for a great sexual encounter. You or your mate bummed about your lower desire? Get over it—you are not abnormal!
3. Practice the top three aspects to being healthy and happy: 1) Mindfulness 2) Exercise and 3) Healthful diet.
In order to devote yourself to practicing these three things, it helps to understand what good they can accomplish for you. Keep in mind, you need all three!
Mindfulness includes meditation, yoga, martial arts, prayer, vigorous exercise, etc. This is the process of allowing your mind to be “quiet,” so that you are able to calmly choose to act on matters rather than reacting to them. It is about diminishing stress, thus, protecting your immune system and promoting health, not disease. There are many breathe and counting meditations, “roll breathing” progressive muscle relaxation techniques available to relax you throughout the day.
Here, we are talking vigorous, sweaty, “out-of-breath” exercise, 20-60 minutes most days, at least 3 hours/week. This is how you go about truly improving your quality of life. It has little to do with weight loss. Sure, it will make you healthier as well, but it is really the one way you can go about day-to-day FEELING GOOD.
What are the benefits of exercise? For starters, you will feel better, perkier and even “nicer” and you will sleep better at night. In contrast, no exercise leads to being slower, moodier and just “yuck” in general.
Do not expect exercise to be “fun,” although if it is for you that is definitely a major perk. Most people have to look at exercise like a J-O-B. Sure, it takes time, it’s not always a blast, but it pays huge dividends.
Focus on consuming small portions of complex carbs and protein with few simple carbs. Refined carbs include flour products, potatoes, white rice and “sweet stuff.” Eat the small portions every 2-4 hours. The idea is to eat when you are hungry until you are no longer hungry, as opposed to eating at mealtime until you are stuffed.
This method will help you lose weight, and you will never become hypoglycemic (low blood sugar). In order to stick to this plan, you MUST have pre-prepared or pre-packaged small portion easy-unwrap meals ready and waiting in your refrigerator. The deli half pint is a great portion size. Here are some suggestions for these small portioned meals:
· Salads such as tabuli, southwest 5-bean, Chinese chicken, broccoli
· Wrapped small portions of leftover meat or chicken
· Hard boiled eggs
· Cottage cheese & fruit
· Half sandwiches
· Small salads (put the dressing separately in old small medicine container and put it on as you need it)
· Veggies with hummus dip.
In addition to these smaller portions, when you eat out ask for the “doggie bag” with the entree; place half into the take-home container before you take the first bite. You get the idea! Another great idea is to make sure you have a couple of small coolers available to throw in your “portions” while you are tooling around town. Always be prepared!
Mindfulness = stress reduction, better immune system and “action” rather than “reaction.”
Exercise = improved quality of life.
Healthful small portion multi-meal dietary plan = weight regulation.
All = good health!
Some Final Thoughts:
“If I had known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” — Jazz pianist Eubie Blake, upon reaching the age of 100
1. People who are spiritual and practice forgiveness live longer.
2. People who are creative and stay occupied and involved live longer.
3. Be happy with who you are.
4. Aging is something to celebrate.
5. The best is yet to come.
6. Feeling good about yourself is a major predictor of longevity.
7. Chronic stress and anger invites fatigue and illness.