The passing of Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. For most Americans, autumn signifies the start of the gluttony that is holiday feasts, NFL Sundays and the comfort in knowing that cooler temperatures will demand layered clothing and, hence, the ability to hide all of these indiscretions.
As business professionals, we need to take care with how we treat our bodies, recognizing that what we eat and how we treat ourselves has profound impacts on our physical and mental state and, consequently, our productivity and creativity.
So how do we keep our minds and bodies fine tuned through holiday feasts and the football season? For starters, don’t discard your tailgate gear or start a liquid diet just yet. Instead, try a few of these physical and mental detox strategies to keep you sharp.
1. Choose your water wisely.
We have all heard that the recommended amount of water to consume daily is about eight 8-ounce glasses. What many people don’t consider is the source of water they are drinking. Tap water is fine, but it does contain varying amounts of compounds (fluoride and chlorine) and inorganic dissolved solids (mineral salts), which our bodies tend to absorb and store. For this reason, you should be consuming clean water, free from these elements, which will help your body more effectively cleanse itself.
Consider a high-quality home filter for both drinking and bathing water, and if you are really ambitious, use distilled water for your drinking and cooking needs.
2. Hit the toilet.
OK, so nobody wants to think about the fact that what goes into our bodies must come out, but paying attention to our evacuation system is incredibly important to our health. Whether you like it or not, having regular bowel movements is beneficial for our intestines, allowing us to better absorb water and valuable minerals. And, let’s face it, we are all generally more sociable and amenable when we are not constipated.
In general, exercising regularly and drinking plenty of water is the easiest way to get your natural expulsion system going. To keep it healthy, add to your diet foods high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables and legumes, and if necessary, take supplements.
3. Stop consuming chemicals.
Our species has spent millennia consuming food we found in trees and that grew from the earth, so why do find it so difficult to avoid food products that even bacteria refuses to eat? High-fructose corn syrup is one answer, and mounting evidence seems to point to high amounts of sugars in everything we consume as a significant cause of many of our health ailments.
Sugar alone is not to blame. We have become accustomed to big, bright and tasty foods brought to us with chemicals, preservatives, processed oils, additives, artificial colors and flavors. Let us not forget pesticides. Non-organic food is generally polluting our bodies with a frightening array of toxins that are slowing damaging our organs and minds.
The answer is to eat organic. Understandably, not everyone has a budget that allows for buying everything organic, so consider organic only for those foods identified as being most hazardous and stick with regular selections for everything else.
And stop consuming sugar.
We need to be aware that we are exposed to other chemicals everyday, such as through products we use on our bodies. Women are particularly at risk, with cosmetics and other beauty supplies chock full of compounds that could be hazardous in large amounts. Educate yourself on products that are free from toxins and dangerous compounds and look to products made from all-natural ingredients.
5. Take a minute to breathe.
The physical and mental benefits of meditation are well documented, but as busy professionals, finding time to relax and partake in breathing exercises can be difficult. The practice of meditation or breathing, however, does not require you to assume a lotus position for hours while finding a transcendental state. Instead, consider taking a minute -- just one minute -- every hour to stop and take five slow and deep breaths. Simple.
When you are ready to take it to the next level, which will happen once you see the benefits of a few minutes a day, consider any of the numerous meditation apps to help guide you as you progress.
6. Snooze longer.
Like exercise, we all know and understand the health benefits of getting more sleep. Our sleeping problems have many roots, including stress, poor diet and lack of exercise (your body needs to be as tired as your brain to sleep). Sleeping will come easier if you are eating a balanced diet, exercising and learning to deal with stress through breathing. In fact, you will be shocked how easy sleep will come once you have made these other detox strategies habits.
7. Lighten up, laugh and have a hug.
The stress of everyday responsibilities is difficult to avoid, and at times we can be overwhelmed to the point of losing our abilities to smile or be affectionate. The fact is, however, that the simple act of hugging someone can provide a remarkable host of mental and physical benefits, including stimulating our immune systems and increasing our natural levels of serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin, neurotransmitters that promote feelings of contentment and reduce anxiety and stress.
Not the hugging type? Then allow yourself the luxury of a good laugh, either alone or with others. Of course, laughing naturally makes us feel better, but it also has a number of health benefits, such as stimulating your heart, lungs and other muscles while temporarily raising your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure.
The result: A calm, relaxed and happy you, which means you can enjoy your football game and your BBQ indulgence without being a tired, constipated grumpy butt.
What other detox tips do you have? Kindly share your insights in the comments section below.