If we told you that adopting 9 simple lifestyle habits could dramatically extend your life; would you change your lifestyle? In 2004, a group of researchers teamed up with National Geographic to scout out pockets of longevity worldwide. Their 5 designated “Blue Zones” are virtually disease-free, as well as geographically and ethnically diverse. In each location, large numbers of residents live to 100 or older. Here are the identified common lifestyle characteristics.
9 Lifestyle Elements Centenarians Share Worldwide
Plant-based diets – some meat, vegetarians have a head start here
1 glass of wine a day w/ friends at meals (4 of the 5 groups)
Belong to strong social networks (often faith-based)
“Hara hachi bu” Japanese for eat until you are 80% full
Routines that reduce stress – we’re fond of massage for this one
“Ikigal/ plan de vida” – maintain a sense of purpose for your life
Put loved ones first
Hang with the Right Tribe (others with similar health behaviors)
Dive in, do some research. While some cities and communities are working to incorporate longevity lifestyles into their communities, you could take a do-it-yourself approach. The 9 key lifestyle habits are a great match for Florida year round outdoor living: walking, gardening, swimming, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, bird-watching, biking etc. Live long and prosper!
There are many natural ways to reduce your stress levels. Massage, as you may know, helps lower both your stress levels and your blood pressure. Exercise, being in nature, meditation, practicing yoga, hanging out with friends, laughing, talk therapy and support groups also help to decrease stress and anxiety. As stress and anxiety are cumulative, so are the benefits of self-awareness and self-care. Practice self-care and seek a health professional if your stress levels begin to affect your health.
“Beyond all ideas of right and wrong there is a field, I will meet you there” Rumi
Journaling is a wonderful way to start your year. It’s even good for your health. Clean pages beckon (instead of blink) ready to capture your musings, sort feelings and goals, and create something new. Like a composer who wakes to write down notes that came in sleep, your journal awaits. When you a have a place to write your intuitions, ideas for art, books, projects and dreams, more will come.
Helpers. Many tools can inspire: friends, books, blogs and articles. A nice niche, comfy chair or sunny spot to write helps with inspiration.
Materials. Journals can be lovely sheets of fine paper or simple notebooks. A pen that pleases you, flows well onto paper is an asset, not a necessity. Browse in a bookstore, many journals and notebooks are on sale this time of year.
Prompts. If the writing doesn’t flow, use “prompts” to get started. A favorite quote, an image, a random observation will work. Use a beautiful object, an act of kindness, music, a frustration, a question with no answer, an overheard conversation, a memory. I usually find a strong image or quote to start an article.
Give your creative self a place and time to share. Affirm,
resolve, doodle, press flowers, sketch, include photos and momentos. Record happy and sad moments, wins and
losses. See it’s really all yours. Handle with care, no preconceptions, no
judgment, no rights or wrongs.
Feeling overwhelmed? Dread the flurries of shoppers, wrapping, shipping, and exchanging? Do we really need more stuff anyway? Consider reinventing your gift giving this year. Here’s some starter ideas…
Choose a theme. Nostalgia’s a good one: give gifts that educate or (gasp) require face-to-face interaction. Board games, puzzles, legos (not just for kids), cards. Focus on animals. Give zoo tickets, a cat tree, or stuffed animals (endangered species are good) a bird house (or kit) or adopt a wild animal like a manatee or dolphin.
Foodie Goodies. Choose food-related gifts, gourmet treats, heirloom seeds for spring gardens, organic veggies or flowers. Gift certificates for local gourmet specialty store like a chocolate shop or a wine store. Ship some juicy Florida fruit to your freezing peeps in the North.
Keep It Green. Consider sustainable, recyclable gifts that are ethical, earth-friendly, locally grown. Consider gardening books, tools or seeds. Buy gift certificates for classes like cooking, gardening, kayaking or paddle boarding. (Let Google do the searching).
Practice Gratitude. Some of us already have so much. No matter how you choose to celebrate the Holidays, take a moment to breathe and reflect on all we have been given. And then give to others from that place, the space of gratitude.
Each new school year, parents and kids shift into “go-go gear”. Anticipation, preparation and time-juggling increases stress for all. Classwork and homework, extracurriculars, relationships and social media generate even more stress. A recent study found that teens now report stress levels as high as those of adults.
In the classroom, stressed brains have trouble learning. To reduce stress and improve learning, some classrooms are sprouting yoga mats, meditation pillows and soothing music stations. Activities such as mindfulness, yoga, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation are helping to calm students and contribute to more positive experiences and outcomes.
For fun, take day or weekend road trips this summer with family (or friends). Whether you’re a Florida native or visitor, you probably remember cruising around with your family, playing road-trip bingo and swatting mosquitoes, en route to some fabled Florida roadside attractions.
We sought out performing mermaids, dolphins leaping from small tanks, dinosaurs hanging out in the woods and graceful, water-skiing ballerinas. We swam, snorkeled and tubed in crystal springs and murky rivers. We flocked to alligator and flamingo farms. We hiked or camped in “wild Florida” state parks and wildlife sanctuaries. And we reveled and splashed on the beautiful beaches that frame our amazing coastlines.
Planning your Trip. If kids are involved, ask them to help choose the destinations. It may shock them to learn that before Google and the internet, we relied on billboards, signs and maps to guide us to these mystical places. Central Florida, a popular destination, hosted many roadside attractions before Disney. You may rediscover a few, although most have surrendered to competition, development or kudzu. When you hit the road, see if you can get your passengers to put down their screens and play bingo, “I Spy” or even sing.
No matter what, you’ll share great fun and adventures captured in snapchats, insta’s, selfies and most lasting? Memories!
If you reach the point of thirst, dehydration has begun. The remedy for dehydration is deceptively simple: drink clean, clear water daily. Fortunately, our water supply is abundant and clean. (How the US compares to the rest of the world)
5 Tips Before You Sip
Drink slowly: (avoid “chugging”) to balance your hydration
BYOWB: Carry a refillable water bottle (Father’s Day gift idea)
Limit caffeine: it works against your hydration
Go for 6-8 glasses of water a day (adult dose)
Be wary of “energy drinks”: they pack in sodium, sugar & caffeine
Summer is definitely here! Stock up on watery foods, such as fresh fruits and veggies, which help boost hydration. Go for cool, sweet, juicy watermelon or frozen grapes on hot summer days. We’re big fans of hydration and it’s likely that we’ll remind you to drink some water after your next chair massage 🙂
The working moms’ debate still simmers: is it better to be a stay-at-home mom or a mom-who-goes-to-work? It’s all good. Recent research validates positive outcomes for moms who work outside of the home and opportunities for doing career work from home and/or work flexible, part-time hours have become more abundant. Now delete the image of stuffing envelopes at your kitchen table. Technology has punched a hole in the time/space continuum, creating opportunities to work remotely (full or part-time) and/or to jump into the gig economy. Potentially you can pick up work based on your skills, needs and schedule. Nearly every industry has (or is moving towards) more contract/freelance work, part-time work or telecommuting.
If you’re considering working “free range” it’s advisable to take some time to consider your benefits and retirement. Before you go the self-employment route, review your health and life insurance needs, do some retirement and tax planning, and consider resources for vacation and income gaps. With these factors in mind hit the web, talk to friends and colleagues. What you find out there may surprise you! Regardless of your family situation, you may discover that creating more flexibility with your schedule might just be the best work for you!
Multitasking is a thing, a progressive upwardly, exploding trend. And that little smart phone next to you? It lurks, ready to pounce on your productivity. You may be a self-declared Multi-tasker or a staunch skeptic, in either case, multitasking impacts your life.
Popular Multitasking Myths
MT is a viable choice
MT increases productivity
MT is good for your brain
MT makes you more alert and observant
MT doesn’t technically exist, it’s actually “task” shifting. You can do one or possibly two things at once. You can walk and talk, you can cook and listen to the radio, but you probably can’t add a column of figures, answer email and/or talk to your boss all at the same time. So at best, it’s really about switching back and forth, and at worse, bouncing from task to task.
MT actually lowers productivity (as much as 40%). If you open too many tabs on your desktop, POW your screen freezes or crashes. Same with your brain: engage the right side and engage the left side with two complicated tasks, and you’re done. That third task can crash your already engaged brain. (French study).
MT increases your stress level, and distracts you both during and even after. (That fact brings many of our customers into our massage chairs, and we recommend our headsets)
MT lowers the perceptions of your environs and limits your view. You can literally miss seeing even obvious things. In a recent campus experiment, 75% of college students failed to observe an unicyclist nearby while talking or texting on their phones.
Multitask for Good in Your LIfe
For Self-Motivation. For low level tasks, like exercising or cleaning, listen to music or podcasts.
Getting Unstuck. When focused on a project or deadline for too long and feel drained or stuck, take a break, switch tasks. Revitalize your mind, refresh your creativity. Simple repetitive tasks like knitting or gardening soothe the mind and body.
Enjoying nature. Be present and really see, hear, smell and sense your natural environment and surroundings. Your reward will be energy, fresh observations and creative, new ideas.
Multitasking is valuable and is clearly important to our survival as a species. If our parents hadn’t been able to multitask, some of us might not be here clinging to smart phones or anticipating self-driving cars!