Ok, are you ready for some deep conversation? Recently, my husband and I had those difficult discussions about funeral arrangements and what kind of burial we’d like. Sounds gruesome, I know, but these are real, straightforward talks that need to happen. We’ve all had those thoughts about our own mortality: What if I died tomorrow… Have I done all that I wanted to do? What would I have done differently?
It caused me to reflect on my life and the changes that I have made in the past decades and the legacy I’d like to leave behind. I am definitely not the same person I was twenty or thirty years ago. The struggles and triumphs I’ve endured got me to the place where I am now. By no means, am I perfect. Rather, I am a student of life – constantly learning and soaking up information like a sponge. The older I get, the more time I want to spend grabbing onto knowledge as if it were an outstretched arm from a firefighter as my house was burning. I want to learn all that is humanly possible, while trying to get through an ordinary day of work, paying bills, household chores, taking care of pets and my family.
When I was a teenager, I went to a church with my mother and grandmother that was a nondenominational Christian church. While there were biblical quotes given in every Sunday talk, there was also discussion about a book called “A Course in Miracles”, which is a philosophical interpretation of the Bible.
Hang with me, this is deep talk.
It started out with the typical symptoms of sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, headaches and fatigue, but I was too busy to listen to my body. I had been doing a lot of interviews to promote my new book, “4 Minutes a Day, Rock ‘n Roll Your Way to Happy,” in addition to producing our TV show, “Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild”, and chores like cooking, cleaning, laundry, paying bills, etc. On several interviews, I even bragged that “I never get sick”. But God had other plans, and here’s what he taught me when I discovered I had a sinus infection:
A goal without a plan is just a wish.―Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Do you feel you’re always rushing to get everything done and yet you never do? Although you know the holidays are fast approaching, do you still end up scrambling at the last minute to buy gifts? Though I know darn well when I have to travel days or weeks in advance, I often find myself hurrying at the last minute to do the laundry, pay the bills, clean the house, and pack. Usually, I overpack and still forget something. Sound familiar?
Part of the reason I wrote my book, “4 Minutes a Day, Rock ‘n Roll Your Way to HAPPY” is to learn these lessons myself. So try this with me, won’t you?
You workout – or maybe you don’t. You eat clean – or maybe you don’t. Overall, you think you’re pretty healthy, but are you really?
Here are a few simple things you may have overlooked in keeping yourself and your family healthy.
The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.
This is gonna hurt. I’m sorry, but it’s time to be truthful. Look at yourself in the mirror in just your undies. Do you have love handles and cellulite? We all have something we want to change. Coming face-to-face with the truth can be incredibly motivating, while putting clothes on just covers the problem, doesn’t it?
Throughout the day, you know what you’re hiding; numbers don’t lie. Weigh yourself and take your measurements. Are you content with those numbers? Do you want to look better and feel better? Have no fear! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you didn’t get that body overnight.
We all know the basics of banking; you cannot withdraw money you don’t have in your account. What if we looked at our bodies as bank accounts and the healthy choices we make as money deposited into our account? Every time you exercised, ate healthy meals, slept well and had a positive mental attitude you’d receive more cash flow! But all the unhealthy choices, like smoking, excessive drinking, too much stress and lack of sleep would be withdrawals that may result in poor health, depression or injuries.
There will always be times in life when we are unexpectedly hit with a curve ball and we’ll have too much stress, miss a night of good sleep, indulge in junk food, or have one too many glasses of wine. After those occasions we feel a little less perky, more sluggish and even run-down. Our body functions at a lower vibrational frequency and if we make yet another withdrawal on the body bank account we risk becoming overdrawn. Injuries and illnesses are more likely to occur when our immune systems have been compromised. In our twenties or thirties, we may have been able to get away with a few too many drinks and lack of sleep from partying but eventually, our bodies will rebel in the form of a cold, headache or something worse.
I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing.—T. S. Eliot
Close your eyes, put your hand on your chest, and feel your heartbeat. Focus on slowing down your breath and relaxing every part of your body, beginning at your head, down through your jaw, shoulders, chest, arms, legs, and toes. Imagine that every cell in your body is operating at its utmost potential. Envision every muscle and bone healthy and strong. Bring your awareness to your breath. Pretend you’re breathing through a straw slowly. Inhale to the count of ten and exhale even more slowly. Try to slow your heartbeat.
Studies show that we can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and diminish anxiety just by being still and calming our bodies and minds. Meditation helps the mind find a happy ground where it’s not working so hard and spinning out of control. It helps control anxious and negative thoughts.
Have you been ignoring minor or major aches and pains? Is your body trying to tell you something? Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to my body and became deathly ill.
I have been a group fitness instructor since 1980. I’ve appeared in exercise videos and cable TV shows. I know my body, and I know when something doesn’t feel right. Around 2002, I began to have flu-like symptoms and debilitating migraines. I knew something was wrong. I went to several doctors. One of them told me I might be too healthy and I should try eating at McDonalds!
I was constantly tired and hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in years. Ten minutes into the exercise classes I was instructing, I couldn’t get enough air, and I was scared. I knew something was terribly wrong but I couldn’t figure it out.
Let food be thy medicine; thy medicine shall be thy food. —Hippocrates
Calling sugar the devil might be a little drastic, but the graphic above gets your attention, doesn’t it? Sugar lurks in many foods and is labeled as sucrose, fructose, and other natural-sounding ingredients, but it contributes to weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and many health problems. Sadly, my friends, sugar is the new tobacco. It can even be more addictive than cocaine.
I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know? —Ernest Hemingway
Getting enough sleep is an important part of being healthy. Adequate sleep makes you look and feel better. It helps boost your metabolism and immune function, and helps your memory. The older I get, the more I appreciate a successful slumber. But getting good, restful sleep can often be difficult.
You probably won’t function at your best if you don’t get enough quality sleep. “Losing four hours of sleep is comparable to drinking a six-pack of beer,” says Tom Rath, Author of the New York Times bestselling book, Eat Move Sleep.
Here are some things you can do to improve your sleep:
- Try organic bedding, mattresses, and even pillows.
- Unplug any electrical appliances, including alarm clocks, and put them seven feet from your bed, or even move them to another area.
- Avoid cell phone and computer use at least two hours before bedtime.
- Stop caffeinated drinks at least eight hours before bedtime.
- Take a few minutes to meditate, relax, and stretch before you jump into bed.
- Make sure your bed and pillows are clean and comfortable.
When we don’t sleep well, we’re worthless and tired the next day. Taking prescription drugs to stay awake or go to sleep adds more chemicals to your body and can contribute to lethargy the next day. Sometimes we overthink problems causing our brain to be on a constantly repeating soundtrack. Create a bedtime routine that includes all of the things listed above and sleep well!