I recently went to a seminar taught by integrative GPs from the National Institute of Integrative Medicine. It was inspiring. It reminded me of all the simple yet powerful ways that we can improve our health and vitality. Ways in which we can avoid chronic fatigue or adrenal fatigue. What gives us energy and what takes it away. I’ve helped people improve their health for over 20 years now. So here I am sharing information from the seminar & knowledge I’ve gained over the years.
I also believe that health care & wellness needs to be accessible to people on a tight budget. That is why I founded our Community Acupuncture facility at Freedom Chinese Medicine. And that is part of the inspiration for this piece; 20 ways to improve your health for under $20.
1. Set yourself up for better sleep. A solid 4+ hour block of sleep is super important for our health. This is when we get into Delta wave brain activity. Many of us don’t wind down sufficiently before getting into bed. Then we wonder why we can’t fall asleep. I recently heard a good analogy. We should approach falling asleep like landing a plane, a slow and steady descent is ideal. Not a crash landing. This means winding down our nervous system activity 1-2 hours before going to sleep. Winding down could involve reading (not on a device with blue light though), having a bath or shower, meditating, stretching, listening to relaxing music. Whatever works for you.
2. Walk or ride to work. Even part of the way. You’ll benefit from being outdoors, yes even in Winter. And get the benefits of the exercise. You might even save on petrol money.
3. Buy an organic grocery item. Or two. Yes it’s worth it.
4. Drink at least 1-2 litres of water daily. Have a drink bottle nearby to remind you.
5. Use a heat pack for tight neck & shoulder muscles. Simple, but effective.
6. Learn some yoga, tai chi or qi gong exercises. The combination of movement, breath & meditation is a trifecta for health & healing. Yes there are still classes for under $20, including our Qi Gong classes at Freedom Chinese Medicine.
7. Turn your Wifi off at night. So simple. Do you really need the EMF exposure overnight?
8. Have a device curfew. So many of us have got into the habit of using our devices in the evening. The exposure to this bright light, especially blue wavelengths have serious implications for our health. At night, light throws the body’s biological clock – the circadian rhythm- out of whack. Sleep suffers. Worse, research shows that it may contribute to the causation of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.¹
Do as the dogs & cats do.
Do a simple stretch when you wake up.
No special training needed.
Stop if it hurts.
10. Get an alarm clock so you don’t need to sleep next to your mobile phone or tablet.
11. Grow your own sprouts or micro greens. From the comfort of your own kitchen. Mung beans, Alfalfa, Broccoli and or Pea Shoots. Excellent to add to sandwiches and salads. Have you noticed how popular microgreens have become with chefs? Packed full of vitamins and minerals, sprouts are ready to eat in just a few days. You don’t need a garden to grow sprouts, just a window sill and a glass jar. Here’s a link for some simple instructions & supplies.
12. Don’t eat big, late dinners. Not good for your sleep or your waistline. Or your blood sugar levels. It can take some planning if you until work late. But you can do it. I did.
13. Laugh. Even if you don’t think it’s funny. Heard of laughter clubs? Laughing has lots of health benefits. Check out some comedy on Youtube if it helps.
14. Forgive. Not always easy, but so worth it. Do it for yourself. Your grudge won’t effect their life, but it will effect yours. In many ways. So set yourself free.
15. Count your blessings. So simple. Try it for 7 days. At the end of each day, pick 3 things that you are thankful for. It could be as simple as the ability to see, smell or hear. It could be that you have a roof over your head in Wintertime. Just pick 3 and try it for 7 days. See how you feel.
16. Drink lemon juice in warm water first thing in the morning. It will alkalise your gut, gently wake up your liver & gall bladder. The simplest detox regime. All you need is 1-2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. Some cold water (filtered ideally). And some hot water (boiled ideally). Down the hatch on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. I suggest for 3 months max at any one time.
17. Grown your own leafy greens. It is cheap and easy. All you need is a sunny spot, a pot (with some organic potting mix) and some seeds or seedlings. Or a garden bed in a sunny spot, with some organic organic compost or manure. All do-able for under $20. In Melbourne, you can grow bok choy, lettuce or tatsoi all year round. Simply water it well twice per week (if it hasn’t rained) and enjoy watching it grow.
18. Cook at home. This could actually save you $20! Apart from the benefits of knowing what’s in your food and where it has come from (hopefully). Our digestive system also benefits if we smell our food before we ingest it.
19. Reduce your intake of refined sugar. Avoid the white stuff. Read the labels. Want some more evidence on the adverse health effects of refined sugar on obesity, tooth decay & diabetes? Here you go.
20. Have at least 5 minutes downtime per day. Every day. This is your time to relax. No phones, no demands, no interruptions. Even the busiest family or workplace can cope without you for 5 minutes. Just shut the door and have some ME time. You could listen to music, stretch, meditate or just be! It’s easier than you think. Give it a go.
Dr Elaine Hickman
B.H.Sc.TCM (Acupuncture), Cert.Cl.Ac. (Beijing)
Elaine has trained and worked in various settings, both in Australia and China. She has over 20 years experience in treating many health problems. Elaine loves to provide a health care experience for people that is respectful, effective, empowering and enjoyable. Elaine’s acupuncture treatments are gentle, powerful, amazingly relaxing and incorporate Japanese & Chinese techniques, as well as Medical Qi Gong if appropriate.
She runs a private practice in Ivanhoe and is the trusted family physician of many. Elaine is a registered Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). She completed a Bachelor of Health Science – TCM, majoring in Acupuncture, and a hospital internship in China in 1998. Elaine is the Principal Practitioner at Freedom Chinese Medicine, managing a dedicated team of practitioners & staff, and supervises many TCM students in clinical training. Elaine’s passion for Chinese Medicine has her regularly furthering her education, Qi Gong training and sharing knowledge.