Sowing and Reaping Good Health

“You reap what you sow…”

It’s an old saying, one that is usually meant in a strictly philosophical way. You know, the Golden Rule and all of that. We have probably all heard it at some time or another, most likely from our grandparents. This quote has grown from being a simple, spiritual lesson on how to treat people, to one that encompasses everything about life…including your physical health.

“Your Are What You Eat”

We’re constantly cautioned against eating high sugar snacks, whether it’s the middle of the day or just before bedtime. Without going all science-y (which you can get by talking to a doctor or by looking it up on the internet), let me just repeat how it was explained to me decades ago when I was a sugar loving fool!

Consuming simple carbohydrates, such as sugar or fructose, raises serotonin and blood sugar levels. This falsely signals your pancreas that there are extra reserves of insulin available for converting sugar into energy. Thus triggered (usually by biting into that candy bar), the pancreas then releases large amounts of insulin into your blood stream, does the conversion thingy and voila’! you get instant (very short term) energy which is called a ‘sugar rush’. The rush generally lasts for only about an hour before your energy abruptly vanishes, just like turning off a faucet…aka “The Crash”.

This is not a good way to prepare for sleep, by the way.

19531Our blood sugar must be maintained at a particular level in order for the pancreas to do its job. The best way to insure this is to make sure you consume an appropriate amount of complex carbohydrates (found in whole grains, nuts and legumes) which actually do build the reserves you need for sustained energy.

By the way, craving sugar can be an indication that you aren’t giving your body other things it needs to stay healthy or that you have underlying health issues. If you find that you crave sugar more than just every now and then you should probably talk to a physician about it, just to be on the safe side.

What you take into your body will ultimately show in your health, energy levels and frame of mind.

“Burnout”

Keeping up with daily work, updating ‘works in progress’, research for future projects already lined up, being available as a consultant, keeping track of correspondence which will “pile up” if it’s not checked often and trying to keep a record of the work done from home; it requires a lot of organizational skills in order to get it all done. All that plus volunteer work and a home life. Pretty demanding stuff and a lot more time consuming than it sounds.

Multi-tasking is all fine and dandy, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

10142500-overworked-and-frustrated-woman-with-files-on-the-deskMental exhaustion carries with it pretty much the same result as physical exhaustion. You become stressed and therefore suffer functionally. Unlike your body does when it’s dead tired, though, you can’t really just “push through” and expect your thought processes to magically adapt.

When you overtax your body  it takes a bit more time to recuperate than it takes to recover from simple mental exhaustion; taking around 5-10 minutes to clear your mind or a 15-20 minute “power nap” usually suffices to boost your mental energy for another hour or two.

A very important note here: If you notice that either you or a co-worker seems to also be suffering from confusion or is having difficulties talking, it may be time to call 911 or at least talk to a doctor, as signs of mental exhaustion and confusion can also be signs of a stroke.

A study by Louisiana State University led to the conclusion that employees whose jobs primarily involved computer work had a higher performance level and greater productivity when their schedule included even just a 30 second break every 15 minutes or so, followed by a 10-14 minute break every two hours.

Writers know about that.

“Birds of a feather”

Surrounding yourself with like minded individuals who are supportive and encouraging is more important than you might think. Obviously you can’t completely avoid negative people if you live in this world, but you can pick and choose who you deliberately spend time with.

untitledNegative people can not only ruin your mood and make you feel depressed, they can also trigger a stress response that will affect your entire body, like high blood pressure which can basically burn out your adrenals and leave you with no energy. Not only do you expose yourself to health threatening issues but, aside from that, spending time around negative people might affect your own personality as well.

If you aren’t sure that someone else’s negativity is causing your energy drain, you have a couple of options:

  1. if you feel drained all the time, get in touch with a doctor and find out if a health condition or illness is taking its toll on you, or
  2. take a minute to analyze how you feel when you’re in the same vicinity as that person.

If you can feel a definite difference between being around that person vs being in the company of a someone you know to be a good friend…in other words if just standing close to them makes you jittery, feel like pulling away or makes you feel like you want to go to sleep…then avoid that person as much as possible.

Good health is so much more than exercise and diet. Your stress levels and emotions will always indicate whether or not you have sown the best seeds for reaping the best health.

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