The Tiger year is coming to a close and the chinese new year festive mood is all around. While people were out shopping for new year goodies and preparing for the celebrations, I spent the past 5 days recuperating at home, trying to recover from a severe cough bug and eye infection. During this period of physical discomfort and associated emotional ups and downs, I learnt 2 valuable lessons about physical and mental well being
which I am sharing in this post.
1) Be responsible for our body
Our body is our temple and a healthily functioning body is what enables us to go about striving for our dreams. Without health, we will not get to enjoy life even if we have all the riches in the world. And when our health suffers, the people around us suffers as well.
I realised that I have been over working and under resting my body over the past few months, often stretching my sleeping hours into the late nights after a long hectic day. I ignored the signs that my body was sending me and tried to “keep it up” by using supplements to boost my immune system. During my recent trip to Taiwan, I caught a chill one cold night as I didn’t make sure my body was kept sufficiently warm. Not to mention the unhealthy diet and late night suppers as my husband and I combed the night markets to conquer all the recommended snacks! I guess it was “Payback” time after the accumulation of low immune coupled with the climate and diet change during the trip.
Many of us tend to take our bodies for granted as we pursue our goals and live life to the max. We are constantly stretching our body limits and even abusing it with our lifestyle, diet and bad habits like smoking, drinking, late nights.
Yes, we know intellectually that these are no good for the body, and we have heard of scientific studies that prove the damaging long term effects of such bad lifestyle habits. But then we think “I’m still young and healthy, such health problems probably wouldn’t happen to me, or at least not within the next few years so I can just enjoy first, take care of it later”.
We justify to ourselves “what harm would a few late nights do? I can always catch back on my sleep when this dateline is over” or ” I will just enjoy these yummy food first, I can exercise off the cholestrol another day”
And when the occasional flu comes by, we dismiss it as the flu bug and just pop some panadols or suppress it with antibiotics, and the cycle repeats..
Often it is not until a really major illness catastrophy happens, that people wake up and make radical changes to their lifestyle.
The question is “Do I want to wait for that someday to happen before I change drastically?” Or will I make minor adjustments in my lifestyle right now to nurture my body before its too late?
I choose the latter, simply because it’s easier and much less painful. I believe that little time and effort invested consistently on my physical well being will bring about multi-fold benefits in all aspects of my life, including my business, relationships and overall happiness index.
One simple adjustment I will start with (which I have been started doing quite consistently over these few days) is to sleep by 11pm every night. 11pm to 2am is the golden period whereby the body rejuvenates and repairs itself so resting your body during these 3 crucial hours makes a significant difference to your overall well being.
Another activity I’m going to incorporate into my schedule is to allocate time 2x each week (30min slot once during the week & once during the weekends) to jog or bounce on the trampoline + stretching. This actually doesn’t take me a lot of time, what it does require though is discipline to act against my inertia and procrastination. By actually penning it down into my schedule, I make it visible and real.
What about you? What is the one thing you can start doing today for your body that will make a difference to your overall health overtime? Take some time to consider this and have a good start this new lunar year!
2) The power of mind over matter
It’s not what happens that matters, it’s how we react to it that determines how we feel about it. We can choose our response.
During the initial phases of my illness, I was feeling uncomfortable and unhappy, frustrated that I can’t do the things I planned, irritable, angry with myself and a whole load of negative emotions. Throughout the episode, my husband kept reminding me that “You can still choose to be happy and upbeat even if you are ill” and that was a helpful reminder that pulled me out of the downward spiral of self-pity and unhappiness.
I realised being positive and happy is really a choice, knowing that I can choose how I feel about the situation versus letting the circumstances dictate my mood. It’s a moment to moment conscious choice to focus on what’s good out of the situation and thinking of possible solutions. And practising this choice long enough overtime makes one an optimistic person.
This flu episode gave me a great opportunity to practise and build my optimistic brain “muscles”. One method which I found to work well for me is to replace negative emotions with more positive, supportive ones. The brain can only focus on one thought at any one time, so if you consciously choose to focus on a positive thought such as “What is good out of this situation?”, after a while your emotions start to transform into more empowering ones and the whole experience shifts. This habit will also come in helpful when faced with challenges in other aspects of life, be it business or relationships.
Gratitude and Appreciation shifts the whole perspective
As I shifted my focus away from my own discomfort and start to notice the care and concern shown by my husband and in laws, I began to fill my heart with sense of gratitude and appreciation for all the people in my life who love and care for me. I start to appreciate this recuperation period as a chance for me to rest fully and re-connect with my family.
Thankfully my flu broke out full force after the trip so I still enjoyed my holiday fully! I am grateful that this is just a minor illness and that I didn’t have to suffer a major health setback to learn these lessons.
Acceptance and calmness brings about peace of mind
As I came to accept that the body just needs time to recover, and being frustrated doesn’t help me feel any better, I came to peace with the situation. I became present to the now and for once, enjoyed the calmness and tranquility of doing nothing.
Creativity and resourcefulness generates solutions
By shifting my focus away from the problem, I was able to free up my mind resources to look for solutions. I had difficulties lying down to sleep because the coughing just wouldn’t stop. So I tried various methods to improvise e.g prop up pillows to support my back in a upright and yet comfortable position so I could at least catch some rest at night. My husband and I also researched the internet and found home remedies for alleviating persistent cough which worked quite well!
One useful tip for those who experience persistent cough -> Try mixing a few teaspoons of apple cider vinger to a glass of water and add 1-2 tablespoons of manuka honey. Sip the drink periodically whenever the urge to cough arises. Apparently vinger has anti-immflamatory properties and manuka honey helps to soothe and heal the throat so it works pretty well together!
Humor and laughter lightens the mood and people around you
During the days when I was coughing so hard that my stomach hurt, I commented on Facebook that I was “developing six pack muscles from coughing non stop”, which actually generated some interesting responses. It also communicated my discomfort in a more light hearted manner and felt much better than saying “I’m dying from coughing non-stop”. I also joked with my family about how I was welcoming the Rabbit Year with my infected red bunny-like eyes!
The mind and body are inter-related. A healthy body generates happy, positive thoughts and a happy, positive mindset in turn supports a healthy body. Maintaining a healthy mind and body creates balance and harmony in one’s well being.
So, remember to take your new year goodies in moderation this festive season, drink lots of water and get sufficient rest. Maintain a positive mindset while enjoying the celebrations and have fun!
Here’s to your good health and happiness in the Year of the Rabbit.
Wishing you bountiful vitality, joy and abundance!
To Your Success and Happiness,