I’ve gotten really inspired to optimize my health long term these past couple of weeks. During November I have been preparing, testing and figuring out what healthy routines to add to my life. From December I have a year long challenge to get to a place of optimal health and having healthy routines in place. The building blocks of my healthy life is diet, exercise, sleep and miscellaneous. This is not really a health blog so I will leave others that are more knowledgeable than me to explain the science (non of the links are advertising). My over all goal is to live in tune with the animal that I am and feel energized, strong and healthy. I have some issues with my micro biome in my gut so I’m working on healing that too.
In this post I am grouping together other things I am doing for my health that doesn’t fit into the other three categories. Exposing your body to hot and cold for shorter periods is very beneficial for your health. Therefore I take cold showers. I start of with a normal shower but then turn the temperature down as far as it will go for the last minute or so. I combine this with a breathing exercise to control the automatic response to not be able to breathe. It was Wim Hof that got me into cold showers and the importance of the breath. It sounds terrible but you get used to the cold after a couple of times and then it actually feels amazing and for lack of another description you body feels totally alive. Cold showers are good for your health in many different aspects like reducing stress, hightens alertness and better immune response.
Saunas are also good for your health and has a detoxifying effect so I plan on going in the sauna at our tiny house in the archipelago more often and for longer. I have always had a hard time to enjoy going in the sauna because I have issue with feeling sweaty. It probably comes from our societal conditioning that sweat = disgusting. Infact all normal bodily functions have been villainized in todays society. Anything related to us actually being an animal is taboo and disgusting… So I am working to break free of this conditioning and actually starting to really enjoy saunas.
Meditation is something that becoming more accepted and less weird. Our brains are turned on constantly and all the moments where our brain got to rest (like queues, transport time, waiting for a friend) we now fill with something may it be podcasts, social media, series, youtube clips and so on. Therefore letting our brains rest through meditation is getting more and more important. I only meditate sporadically at the moment because I haven’t found a good routine for it yet. So this is a habit in progress. There are many different meditation apps that can be used. I use a heart rate variability (HRV) tracker from HeartMath which measures my hearts patterns and gives me feedback on when I am in a postive state (stable and even HRV) or in a negative state (erratic and disordered HRV). This feedback helps me reconginze the difference and how to shift from a negative state to a positive state.
Journaling has had a huge impact on my mental well being. I do it almost daily as a part of my morning routine. It really helps me to figure out what is going on inside my head or to develop thoughts and ideas. Many things that go round and round in my head can ususally be analysed and solved by putting them down on paper.
To optimize my hormonal health I have decided to come off hormonal birth control after using it for 12 years (there are serious health implications of hormonal birth control). This is not an easy decision and not one I take lightly. I was first on the pill which in hindsight was terrible for me but that I had no idea was the cause of many of my problems when I was on it. I just though it was a part of being me/a young adult/life. After I switched to a hormonal IUD and many of the side effects disappeared and I understood that it wasn’t me it was the pill. When I was going to switch from the pill I did extensive reasearch and started to understand all the serious side effects that come with taking hormonal birth control that is rarely spoken about. I finally decided to try the IUD and it has worked well for me as far as I know – I’ll have to see if I notice changes now that I am free of synthetic hormones. I’ve started using Natural Cycles which is an algorithm that learns your cycle based on your temperature that you measure each morning and gives you a fertile/not fertile status. I am excited to get my first period in 12 years and get to know my cycle. I hope that my hormonal system manages to reboot itself without too many complications (although it is definately a possibility especially since I have been on birth control for so many years).