A few weeks back, we hosted a live webinar with Dr. Michelle Thompson. If you missed it, you can view it on-demand HERE.
Here, we’ve recapped our top takeaways.
Lifestyle changes can be overwhelming, especially as they pertain to your health. Often times the hardest part is just figuring out where to start. You don’t have to make a million drastic changes in one fell swoop. Instead, start with one change and add new habits over time. Dr. Thompson highly recommends starting with your sleep.
Sleep is Medicine
Sleep influences EVERYTHING. If we’re sleeping better, we’re going to make better decisions. It’s that simple.
Sleep apnea causes a lack of oxygen. When we have oxygen deprivation to important organs in our body, it causes a million other issues including lowered testosterone and hormonal production and weakened heart and lung function. Sleep also directly affects our mood. No one enjoys being foggy, unmotivated, edgy, or temperamental.
So, the bottom line is – get better sleep. How do you get better sleep? Check out our list of daily habits, proven to improve your quality of sleep in our “Ways to Create a Healthy Sleep Routine” blog.
Food is Medicine
Our Microbiome is the fundamental key to health and longevity. The microbiome is the compilation of all the bacteria that live within us and is responsible for just about every important function our bodies perform. An unhealthy microbiome leads to illness and disease if not taken care of. Put simply, we cannot live without our microbiome, and the healthier it is, the healthier we are as a whole.
Dr. Thompson recommends looking at your microbiome like a compost pile. When composting, you want to throw in a variety of ingredients: peppers, carrot tops, orange peels, strawberry tops, eggshells, coffee grinds, etc. to make the richest possible soil you can. You wouldn’t put in fruity pebbles, fried chicken, ramen noodles, or McDonald’s hamburgers, because those would do nothing to enrich the soil. The same concept goes for your microbiome, it needs to be fed nutrients to survive and function optimally.
If you’re experiencing muscle and joint pain, brain fog, fatigue, bloating, heartburn, chest pain, shortness of breath, or skin issues like acne or psoriasis, you’re likely not putting the right foods into your body. So, the key to all of it is thinking about the variety of foods we put in our mouth and re-balancing our microbiome to help prevent disease long-term. Every bite matters.
Exercise is Medicine
Your heart is a muscle, and we want to keep it strong. When we think about working out, we often think about strengthening our biceps, shoulders, abs, or quads, but we often don’t think about the strength of our hearts. While exercise has endless other benefits, like those for our other muscle groups, it’s important that we challenge our heart muscle to keep it strong. Dr. Thompson recommends making sure you have variety in your workouts to keep your heart guessing.
Just because you’ve had cardiovascular problems in the past does not mean you have to have them for life. Cardiac rehab has been proven to strengthen the hearts of people with prior illness, so you can improve the strength of your heart through exercise, no matter what stage you’re in.
Working out also helps your brain. Our brain, if we take good care of it, can fend off dementia. While high-intensity exercise can be beneficial, low intensity, a soothing exercise that massages our organs, joints, and minds can also be equally beneficial. Again, variety is key here. It’s important to challenge our brains by not doing the same exercises every day. When we listen to our bodies, we tend to have the best results.
Love is Medicine
It’s all about Gratitude. We’ve all got at least one thing to be grateful for every day, no matter how small. Waking up and finding something to be grateful for every day, even if it’s just one thing, can be really powerful in changing our perspective and has a cascading effect on our health.
Dr. Michelle also talks about the power of interpersonal communication during major life events like COVID19. She says that social isolation can cause a lot of health problems and that social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. With the technology available, you don’t have to be in the same place as your friends, colleagues, or loved ones. You can Zoom, Google Duo, Skype, Facetime, Facebook messenger, or any other video chat. Having gratitude and social interaction every day can lower cortisol levels (stress) and raise serotonin and dopamine (feel-good hormones).
Positive self-talk is also a powerful everyday choice. Dr. Michelle recommends checking in with yourself and being honest by asking “where am I on this journey?” Think about where you’ve come from and where you are now and own it. She tells her clients that every day is a new day and a new opportunity, and your best is good enough. Love yourself, you are your own best healer.