How to Create a Healthy Plate – In Uncertain Times

carmen Uncategorized

Healthy Living

What’s on My Plate

Our ‘Plate’ is formed by all the things we spend our time on.  This includes tasks, chores, thinking, procrastinating, eating, resting and sleeping (to name just a few).  In order for us to be fit, healthy and  strong, we must ensure that what we spend our time on, is conducive to our health and wellbeing.  This also means being flexible, nimble and adaptive when our priorities change. 

Whilst most of us are used to dealing with temporary disruptions to our daily lives, we haven’t experienced prolonged turns of events, causing significant and long term changes to the way we live.  

Q – HOW DO WE MANAGE THESE NEW PROLONGED CHANGES TO LIFESTYLE?

A – By updating, and creating a healthy ‘plate’ which is current.

This will improve our health, increase our fitness, make us stronger, more resilient, and enable us to easily and calmly deal with the current global changes.  Including making necessary changes to our usual lifestyle.

Your Current Plate

Firstly, we need to look at what is currently taking up your time, on a daily and weekly basis.  Your plate should be filled with things which increase or support good health.  Every time our priorities change (including training for a running goal, or the health and wellbeing for yourself/family/world), what we spend our time doing or not doing, must change.  

In order to update your plate, the tasks you are spending your time on, need to be –

  1. Relevant and current to life
  2. Time appropriate
  3. Essential to you
  4. Healthy for you
  5. Have space

Now is the perfect time to update your plate.  

When was the last time you updated your plate and did a good spring clean?  Have you kept doing things out of habit?  Are these tasks still important and relevant?  Are you spending the right amount of time on them?  Can others take over these tasks?  Are they still healthy for me – increasing my energy? Or are they depleting my stores?  

Some of the common things we put on our plate are:-

  • Work
  • Emails
  • Cleaning and tidying the house 
  • Social Media 
  • Exercise
  • Shopping
  • Caring for others and making sure they are happy

“Take note of what is taking up too much time, what can be redistributed, and what needs to go.” 

What is on My Mind

With the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, our thoughts are on increased hygiene, our health (and our family’s), and having adequate supplies, in preparation for spending more time at home.  Our thoughts are on bunkering down, staying close to home, and creating a safe haven.  

As these thoughts become our priorities, how we spend our time, i.e. the things on our plate, must reflect this.  

To make sure we are dealing with the important things, we need to be aware of what is on our mind (where we need to spend more of our time), and what is no longer on our mind (things that can and need to be dropped).

‘Good not Evil‘

Our mind, when used ‘for good not evil’ acts as a fluent messenger, popping in tidbits throughout the day and advising you what to do/or not do do/and when to do it.  It acts as a ‘conduit between what is going on in the outside world, and with what is going on in your inside world’.  When used in a healthy manner it looks like this.

  1. A message comes into our thoughts.  E.g. we need milk
  2. We take notice of the message. E.g. we recognise we need milk
  3. We follow its guidance by either doing it/making a plan to do it or just simply noticing it for the future.  E.g we plan to pick up milk on way home from work at local grocery shop.
  4. The message drops away.
  5. Space or a pause comes into our thinking.
  6. We continue doing life.

When we are thinking all the time, we over-use our minds.  We use our minds as entertainment, create too many distractions, and not allow each thought to play out properly.   This causes a lack of focus, disconnection with our physical body, confusion, procrastination and a whopping headache.

The thoughts which are currently on your mind are the things you need to be concerned with and deal with promptly.  They pop up into our mind to remind us to pay attention to them.  There is no force involved, it just pops in, like a message.  

The things we force ourselves to think about and ruminate over; what we think is important; or just out of habit, are not crucial to be dealt with at this very moment.  If they were, the thought would pop in with the appropriate message and guidance.  Timing is everything.    

“This is a time to pay attention to what is required, and use your energy wisely.“

What am I Missing?

A crucial part in updating our plate, is noticing what we are missing.  What do we need and not getting?  What do we crave?  What do I need to add to my plate to make it more satisfying.  

Look for what you are always wingeing about, or saying out loud to yourself and others “I just need…”. “I would love just…”.  

Types of things may include:-

  • Sleep
  • Quiet
  • Read a book
  • Exercise
  • Massage

This helps us realise what our body is craving, but not getting enough of.  Our body and mind naturally gives us clues, and at times, when we don’t listen, slaps us over the head.  

“Just like vitamins and minerals, if we become depleted, it takes a lot more time, effort and money to rebalance.”  

Once we see an imbalance, we need to start adding the missing element into our plate.  These are good for you, increase your energy and improve your health.  All fundamentals for a healthy life.  

Make Space

Lastly, we need to allow space and time, within and between, each task we fill our day with.  This allows for unexpected changes (think our current global situation), reduces stress and pressure on our bodies and mind, and allows us to fully engage in what we are doing.  Conscious behaviours and actions, create stable ideas and projects.  

Think of your plate as you would a delicious meal.  You want to savour and enjoy every morsel.  By taking the time to enjoy each mouthful, you receive the whole experience, and still have room for dessert.  

HOMEWORK

  1. Take note of your Current Plate (how you spend your time)
  2. Make time adjustments – reduce time on not-important items (e.g. travel), increase time on more crucial elements (e.g. home)
  3. Reallocate 1 x task (minimum)
  4. Drop 1 x task (minimum)
  5. Add or increase 1 x Missing element e.g. Sleep 
  6. Add space in your day and week

Whilst this article is not specifically directed at running, that is the point.  Sometimes other things in life are more important to put our attention to.  With that said, we still maintain our active lifestyle, the best we can.  We still run, we still train and we use our running to increase our fitness (both physical and mental) and build our resilience.  It is not a sprint, or a marathon, its just one foot in front of the other.