When I started investigating the components of this diet I was delighted to find out that less stress, more sleep and having fun in the sun is vital to the healing benefits of paleo. I know most diets prescribe some form of behavioral modification and this sounds like quite a gift, to me. Simply, you change your behavior to feel better. But this means you need to analyze, acknowledge where you can alter thoughts and behavior, and then Make It Happen, Cap’n!
Too blessed to be stressed – really!
We need to eliminate stress in your life as much as possible. I think most of us have become desensitized, to some degree, to the daily stress in our lives, and if you have raised a child, yours may have doubled without you realizing it. Its a Mom-thing! Assessing your boundaries may be in order.
Most women I know embrace the Superwoman mentality and feel they’ve succeeded when they put career and family atop the list of their life’s daily priorities. Most baby boomers were lucky to have stay-at-home moms and grew up seeing family come first. It was a source of pride for the woman to be commander of the household. Meanwhile, who took care of the woman?
My generation, more than any other, got out of the house and worked in a career to fulfill a dream, a goal or a need, and this added enormously to our stress level. We simply saw our stress as being like the air we breathe – it’s just there, it’s part of the life we chose.
Well, cavefriends, I’m here to tell you this does not have to be the way and don’t you accept this notion! As individuals, we have unique, as well as similar, stressors in our life. Make time for yourself and take a look at all the situations where you feel stressed, even the tiny (read insignificant in your mind) ones and identify those where you feel the power to make changes. “You have time for what you make time for,” is one of my favorite quotes, so make time to do this for yourself.
To help us along in this lifestyle realignment, take a look at these links for guidance and insight.
And because I’m a huge fan of quotes:
You snooze, you loose – I’m in!
Another directive of paleo is to sleep the most you can. I recently read a blog that says we should try to wake up without an alarm and to go to bed when it’s dark. I understand the light and dark concept, but it’s January…I just can’t crawl under the covers at 5:30 p.m. But I do try to do it before 9:30 p.m. whenever possible, and read in bed for half an hour, or until the book falls on my face. I usually rise around 6:30 a.m. and it’s dark then, too.
Here is a piece I found on the fitbie website this morning about sleep and weight gain:
“In a 16-year study at Harvard, scientists found that people who slept for 5 hours or less a night were 32 percent more likely to pack on major pounds than those who dozed a full 7 hours. Although “major” was defined as 33 pounds, the average increase was 2 pounds a year, a gain that’s easy to miss from month to month. “Due to accumulating fatigue, those who get the least shuteye may also move around the least during the day,” says study author Sanjay Patel, M.D.”
I try making sleep easier by wearing loose clothing to bed, made of natural fibers, like cotton and silk, for comfort and breathability. I keep my bedroom cooler than the rest of the house by half-closing the heat vent. I usually pull the quilt half-way off the bed, giving me a single layer (not doubled over) of quilt over waist, legs, and feet, and then pull the sheet over my shoulders. I still love to snuggle down under the quilt but I know that given time, my wicked hormones will raise the heat to blast furnace – so not fair. Lastly, I avoid spicy foods before bed.
Here is a link to an article from the Mayo Clinic offering suggestions to improve your sleep:
PLAY! (that funky music, cave girl)
I realized the other day that I don’t sing along with the radio in my car anymore…when did I stop doing that? Learning about the benefits of paleo I also realized that I don’t think about playing outside anymore, either. Has that part of my brain gone into retirement or has life just gotten in the way of making plans for fun?
I usually don’t think of playing outside until spring comes and then you couldn’t pry the trowel and garden shovel from my dirty, gloved hands. I love the time change in the Spring; it means I can garden until 9 in the evening. Yes, I find gardening GREAT fun, but does it cause me to laugh and run around like throwing a frisbee does? Nope. Gardening is considered good exercise but not the same as playing.
Sarah Fragoso, author and blogger, tells us that play is extremely important and play is NOT just for children. Even without kids of your own, playing is something we all need to make time for. Play is a natural part of our existence and reminds us that life should be enjoyed. Having our noses constantly to the grindstone does not produce the complete quality of life that we all want.
Ms. Fragoso advises you to challenge yourself by getting outside of your comfort zone. Play a game of tag, catch, or swing on the monkey bars, for example And don’t hold back. Let yourself just be in the moment and enjoy it. Play is therapeutic, essential, and downright fun.
If you don’t have someone to go out and play with, grab a jump rope, head out to your driveway or sidewalk and jump to it! I just saw a story on CBS Sunday Morning about jumping rope and learned something surprising – 10 minutes of jumping rope can give you as much of a workout as 30 minutes of jogging. I’m going to look into this – I was a huge jump rope fan in my childhood. Almost as much as riding my bike around the neighborhood and to the park, another good play option for today, too.
I have at least one neighbor who, I know for a fact, won’t be able to hold herself back from bolting out her front door and joining me in a game of frizbee or hola hoops. It’s a blessing to have fun people around, truly!
So, even if only for a lovely stroll, get out in the sunshine when you can. Maybe add this tune to your walkman/ipod to quicken your step.
I don’t do this outdoors, lest the neighbors fall down laughing, but I love to dancercise to my iTunes in the morning to rev up my system. SO much fun! Which brings me to the part where I share with you one of my favorite movie dance scenes, from “New Year’s Eve”. Who wouldn’t want to dance with Zac Efron (I know, I’m old enough to be his mom) – the man can move, and so can You!