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Mom Knows Best:

Don’t Slouch, Eat Your Veggies and Get Enough Sleep!

Dr. Misty Paul of Basics Chiropractic is a healer. Besides being an expert on the mechanics of the human body and how to alleviate pain, her study of nutrition and essential oils and their own properties to heal are spurring a “Reclaim Your Health” initiative at Basics First. “We’ll look at the four pillars of health – first, structurally how well are you doing, and that includes exercise. Then, where are you with sleep? Where are you with stress? Then, finally nutrition. We’ll start out with an assessment to determine where you need the most work and will start there, continuing until you feel healthy and balanced.”

Because Dr. Misty speaks regularly at events like the local Women’s CEO Summit, we can offer this short synopsis of some quick tips to get you started in the New Year.

1.    Self-Care isn’t Selfish.

For women in particular, it is important to recognize that we can’t take care of our families unless we’re taking care of ourselves. It’s the first thing they say in an airplane emergency drill – put on your own mask before assisting others! Most say they fall behind because they don’t have time. Unfortunately, those days are gone when we can pause work to go work out for two hours. But there are simple basic things we can all do to improve.

Listen to your mom – don’t slouch! It’s not just a matter of putting your ears over your shoulders. We’ve become a sit-down society: sitting most of the day at work and during long commutes, then couch-sitting through the evening. Constant compression of our spines are straining our lower back, giving us lazy butt syndrome plus back and neck pain. The simple remedy is stand up! Stand up even for five minutes every 30 minutes. Walk around. Place hand weights and resistance bands by your desk for use during long conference calls. Before you know it, by the end of the day, you’ve logged 30 minutes of exercise!

2.    Eat your veggies.

We don't have very much time for lunch. But instead of grabbing a burger, do just a little bit of prep work to provide bags of prepared greens and vegetables. One bag of vegetable slaw from the grocery usually comes with dressing, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds. Just bring a bowl, a fork and a couple of bags to work so you can either add it to your luncheon intake or substitute it for a sugary snack. Or, make a shake of greens and fiber (I use dōTERRA’s) with your favorite juice as a supplement. Either way you’re doing something good for your gut.

3.    Address your stress.

We’re all overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tasks we need to address in a given day, in and outside of work. Many of us are in that sandwich generation where we’re caring for our parents and our kids, leaving little time for ourselves. When we’re responding to things in stress mode, we’re exercising our sympathetic nervous system – that fight or flight response that kept our cave-man ancestors alive when facing an outside threat. Adrenaline supplied, we fight or we run. Our blood pressure spikes, we can start panting. It could be traffic or being late for a call – whatever the impetus, we’re tapping and thus depleting our reserves of energy unnecessarily.

Our parasympathetic nervous system is the opposite – it provides us with rest and relaxation. It helps us digest our food, experience our surroundings or have a pleasant conversation. To help balance these two systems, the first step is to just try to get more sleep. Short of 7 hours of sleep, we become sympathetically driven by caffeine. We’re wired and just cruising until the next crash. With just a little more sleep we’re more creative and better able to focus. Sleep should be managed like everything else; having a bedtime ritual helps prepare us for sleep just as we did as children.

The Vagus Nerve is a big controller of our parasympathetic nervous system. It runs from the top of our diaphragm, past our hearts and into our throats. That’s why a couple of deep breaths help to activate it. So does humming, and aroma therapy. Misty’s favorite way to de-stress is to just rub a few drops of Wild Orange essential oil between her hands, cup them to her face and take a deep breath. “Instantly, it feels like I’m alone in an orchard; the scent passes the blood-brain barrier and helps to stimulate all the good hormones in my brain.” Try it during your next stressful moment and see if you don’t take your blood pressure down a notch. Working to activate your Vagus Nerve can even decrease inflammation elsewhere in your body.

So, those are just a few of Dr. Misty’s tips. None takes hours out of your day, but together they could help to make you healthier and more mindful in 2024. Need more of Misty’s help? She’s cut her first consultation visit from $100 to $49 just for readers of Leesburg Lifestyle. Give her a call at 703-777-2532 or book online at basicsfirstchiropractic.com/.

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