Easy to do and easy not to do!

I have recently bought a new vacuum cleaner, the cordless type – partly because I sold the other one on gumtree and needed to replace it, but also partly because I am super keen to apply the slight edge principles to my household cleaning!!  FYI – cleaning most certainly isn’t one of my past times – funnily enough I have a few close friends who would say its theirs – but that’s a story for another day!

Back on track – The Slight Edge is a book written by Jeff Olson – the overview of the book is that is about success habits and applying them to your everyday life.

What habits do you have?  Are they helpful or not helpful?  Interestingly, successful people always seem to have habits – I think there is much we can learn from even just that finding, let alone what the habits actually are!

Motivation is great, but it doesn’t stay constant or last forever!  Habits are what you need if you are going to make sustainable lifestyle changes – in any area of your life!  I said it.  And I will say it again, successful people have habits.

Back to the book, this picture below is pretty much the overview of the whole book.  Seems simple, but I can definitely recommend reading the whole book to make complete sense of it and be able to apply it to your own life.

Here are a few messages from the book:

  • In a way, it is environmental restructuring – setting up a framework that helps you to succeed.  Sounds like a good plan, yes?!
  • The book compares the slight edge concept to crops and time – about how we need to need to plant and cultivate before we can harvest.  We also know this to be true with healthy lifestyles – its an ongoing commitment to yourself.
  • The book challenges your personal views.  Are you ready to confront the values and beliefs that shape your world?
  • The people we choose to spend our time with matters!  Have you heard the saying that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.  People either inspire you or they drain you – choose them wisely!
  • Sometimes we need to get uncomfortable or outside of their comfort zone so we can grow and learn and change.

Have I got your attention?  If you want more, you will have to read the book for yourself!

I look forward to hearing if anyone is intrigued enough to have actually read or listen to the book.  And no, I am not receiving any commissions, but this is one place you can get a taste of it, with an introduction actually spoken by Jeff Olson himself, on YouTube, of course – just cut and paste this address https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSBaZJ1y6MU   It is also available on Amazon and various other book retailers.

I think it also very well describes that changing is a process, and through consistent actions we can see powerful results in many areas of our lives.  That is all.

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NB: for anyone who is interested, I have indeed, been using the vacuum cleaner daily.  Admittedly, it has only been a few weeks.  Evidently, and perhaps on the upside, my children seem to be quite taken with it too – happy days!

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Sleepy?

This morning when I was so rudely woken by my alarm, I seriously felt like I’d been asleep for like 10 minutes!  I hadn’t, I had almost 9 hours sleep, but it set me to thinking about how amazing sleep is!  I have always felt empathy for people who have trouble sleeping, however, never truly understood it!!!

Sleep is a human necessity and the benefits of sleep are truly astonishing!!  Who doesn’t love a good sleep??

Here is some facts I found for you in the ABC’s National Sleep Research Project (in bold)(These are from 2000 – its a little old now, but these facts are ones which won’t change with time.)

  • Seventeen hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to a blood alcohol-level of 0.05%.  Being a nurse who has done some shiftwork in her time – I believe this to be true!)
  • Teenagers need as much sleep as small children (about 10 hrs) while those over 65 need the least of all (about six hours). For the average adult aged 25-55, eight hours is considered optimal.  If you have had the pleasure of spending time with an adolescent, you will know sleep is very high on their priority list, and here it is, backed by research!)
  • Experts say one of the most alluring sleep distractions is the 24-hour accessibility of the internet. And further to this, backlit screens actually decrease a person’s melatonin secretion – which is the hormone that helps us sleep.
  • A new baby typically results in 400-750 hours lost sleep for parents in the first year (wow, I’ve not seen it laid out like that, any new parents out there, you are doing awesome, don’t stop reading, I promise to be the bearer of some tips too!)

And this is what I know about sleep:

Good quality sleep is good for weight loss! – Poor sleep has a slowing effect on metabolism, and we know our metabolism needs to be working well if we want to lose weight.

Lack of sleep has been used as a form of torture – prolonged periods of sleep deprivation mess with the entire body’s biological functions and therefore effect mental and physical health.

A sleep routine can actually help you sleep better.  Psst, sleep routines aren’t just for babies!!  Its not about timing how long you sleep for and sleeping for intervals and waking up, its about getting in the ‘sleep zone’ before you even go to bed.  Again, its about creating habits!

icon-sleep

Here are just a couple of things to try:

Try getting up at the same time each day – for people who are particularly fond of their sleep, this might be difficult to start with, but it helps regulate your body’s circadian rhythm.  And when you wake up, get out of bed, so for you serial snoozers, its time to ‘disable’ the snooze function.

Avoiding caffeine after about lunchtime – for obvious reasons, being zinged up on stimulants before bed clearly has detrimental effects on your sleep pattern.

Exercise, especially in the afternoon – physically tiring, but also there is a link to body temperature and it being back to normal by the time bedtime comes around.

I’ve saved the best until last, though perhaps it will be the least popular of all…

Turn off your backlit screens at least one hour before you want to go to sleep.  As mentioned above, the melatonin secretion is affected by that light.  The ‘one last look’ at your social media for bed has got to be a thing of the past if you want to sleep better!

There you have it, Wellness Assist’s sleep tips in a nutshell, have a great, sleep-filled week!

 

The best you can be.

In the last blog, I talked about knowing your chronic disease risk factors. For most people, this will have been put in the ‘that doesn’t apply to me box…..  It seems bringing up the issue was quite timely!  (Yay, I got something right!)

It was right, because it was World Health Day last Thursday and it was solely dedicated to targeting and ‘beating’ diabetes.  FYI  Diabetes is one of the chronic diseases with lifestyle risk factors I was referring to!

Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to give a massive pat on the back to anyone who lives with diabetes.  It is relentless and unforgiving for the sufferer and those around them, especially carers of young people with Type 1 – you’re awesome!

This is probably also the right time to point out the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

As according to Diabetes Australia, Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system is activated to destroy the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. We do not know what causes this auto-immune reaction. Type 1 diabetes is not linked to modifiable lifestyle factors. There is no cure and it cannot be prevented. 

WHEREAS

Diabetes Australia says Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas. We do not know what causes type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is associated with modifiable lifestyle risk factors. Type 2 diabetes also has strong genetic and family related risk factors.

Did you know the difference?  Here’s a challenge for you – go and tell someone else about the why these conditions are so different.

Make it your conversation starter for the week.  Or you could also share the staggering statistic, that 1 in 11 people have diabetes (World Health Organisation) or that if – Diabetes was a country, it would be the third largest in the world (Diabetes NSW).  Everyone likes to be the bearer of good news, sorry, its not you today! (when you start the conversation).

People with Type 1 Diabetes account for 10-15% of all diabetes cases.  The management of this condition can be heartbreaking and exhausting!  It’s a condition close to my heart and an imminent cure is most certainly on my hopes and dreams list, as I’m sure it is for every other affected person and their families.

Back to the main story (!) – for the purpose of this discussion, we are talking predominantly about Type 2 Diabetes – as its the one that is preventable, and also the one posing a major global health challenge.

As responsible humans, we need to recognise and talk about Type 2 Diabetes, no longer can we as a society, ignore it in any way!  In fact, we need to take concentrated action to make a change.

Sturt Eastwood, the Diabetes NSW CEO, recently told the Huffington Post ‘… Australians need to learn to read the signs of diabetes better.’

Do you know if you are suffering early symptoms or have you used the AUSDRISK assessment tool?  A list of symptoms can be found at: https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/type-2-diabetes

You can thank me later, I’ve helped you out here.  You can do YOUR assessment at: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/diabetesRiskAssessmentTool

This tool calculates a risk category and advises you on what, if any action, you should take.  I say it again, the best action you can take is to know your risk!  What would be even better is if you shared this knowledge and risk assessment tool with someone around you who you think might also benefit??

Apologies if this is a bit confronting, but at some stage you might just be grateful you read this blog.  Maybe you haven’t been feeling quite right and it is just the call to action you have been searching for?

I say it again, its about managing your health and taking concentrated action to be the best you can be!

 

Nobody wants a broken down car….

When I was younger, I remember my Mum saying ‘you don’t have much if you don’t have your health.’  I’ve been blessed with a very wise Mum (in that instance and countless others too).  It may shock her to hear me say, she was right – but she was, and still is.  Though, even with that in mind, we often take our health for granted, don’t we, until something goes wrong?  Have you done that?

If we take some time to look after it (and ‘service it’, like I’m sure you do for your car) you will most certainly not regret it.  Its really up to us as individuals to ‘perform the preventative maintenance’ on ourselves!  I’m not into cars at all – that analogy just came to me as I was typing – seems to fit well though, even if I say so myself!

What preventative maintenance I’m talking about?  Its just simply about taking responsibility for your health and managing it accordingly.  The thing is, making not so great health choices might not noticeably affect you in the short term.  But if you keep choosing unhealthy options, it will catch up with you in the longer term.  Just saying.

You see, the human body is quite amazing and extremely efficient.  It is capable of compensating for a long time (depending on the specific function), but when it stops working the way it should, only then, do individuals start to consider seeking health care, see the second paragraph for a better plan!

The other really important thing you can do, which only takes a few conversations with your family – is find out about your family’s health history.  Why is this even important?  It is especially important when it comes to knowing your risk for the lifestyle diseases.

The term ‘lifestyle diseases’ refers to conditions which are contributed to by such factors as poor nutritional intakes and physical inactivity – both frighteningly common in first world countries.   They include conditions as heart disease, stroke and Type 2 Diabetes.  There are some predisposing factors we can’t do anything about (like increasing age, family history/genetics and even gender in some cases to name a few) and then there is the factors we can alter like (inadequate nutritious food intake, amount of physical activity, alcohol intake and tobacco use).  So, knowing your risk factors and choosing to manage them is crucial to providing ‘preventative maintenance’ and taking responsibility for your health!

That’s right, we are in control (behind the wheel) of our own health.  Do you take your health for granted (cruise control)?  If not, what have you done to take control (take the steering wheel) of your health lately?