It SHOULD be obvious but many people are so busy they forget that being healthy or returning to health is never as simple as taking a pill.
We work work work and fail to eat a healthy breakfast from whole fresh ingredients because it takes "too much time" and we have to rush out the door because we could not wake up early enough because we just HAD to stay up late to see the next episode of our favorite show and then we could't get to sleep because we were too agitated.
We didn't have the ability to prepare a proper lunch at work because there was no way to cook in the break room (and no, microwaving is NOT cooking) so we ate snacks all day or brought something to put in the fridge for later or we went out to get something from a local fast food restaurant because we only get 1/2 hour to get all that done.
We were too exhausted to eat a proper dinner at the right time, or we came home after dark so we scarfed down whatever was left over or prepackaged because it was easy to reheat.
And then we relaxed by sitting in front of the TV, eating there and perhaps not noticing that the meal made us feel bloated or the agitation from the exciting TV show made it difficult to digest in time to avoid getting reflux when we finally collapsed into bed around midnight, only to be jolted awake way too early by the alarm clock to start this entire routine all over again.
"I'll sleep at my desk" said one corporate yoga class participant who would come to class with a can of Red Bull (and he always skipped the rest at the end of class).
Why am I harping on the obvious?
I recently spent a wonderful weekend attending the annual conference of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (the second in-person conference since the pandemic shut down the economy). It was held at the beautiful Art of Living Ayurvedic retreat center on a mountain outside of Boone NC where we were surrounded by forests, breathing clean air, and enjoying the sounds of birds and spring peepers instead of being bombarded by the sounds and smells of industrial "civilization". Our meals were prepared from fresh ingredients prepared by an incredible chef. Many of us had to deal with our own personal health issues such as sleep disturbances, musculoskeletal issues, and other health conditions (which drew us to Ayurveda as we were not satisfied with what allopathy could offer). It was immediately apparent to me how powerful the Ayurvedic "dinacharya" (daily routine) is when the causes of most of my distresses (having to move from my quiet single family home to a noisier mobile home park sited next to an industrial site) were removed.
While the sessions I attended may have covered specific topics such as the Ayurvedic management of addictions and addictive behaviors or Ayurvedic management of perimenopausal symptoms the ONE common thread was how important it is to do one's best to follow a daily routine that obeys Mother Nature's rhythms, AKA "circadian rhythms":
1. Rise close to sunrise if possible
2. Eat meals prepared from fresh ingredients at regular times (with the largest meal close to noon and the last before the sun sets) as much as possible.
3. Go to bed between 9 - 11 pm if possible.
There will always be exceptions to every rule, such as if we get sick or we have to work irregular hours, but the more we can do to create a regular rhythm to our days the more resilient to stress we will be. Find ways to create some calm from the chaos of life and for more individualized recommendations we can learn about traditional forms of medicine such as Ayurveda.
Once I have reopened my private practice I will be available for consultations in person. Until that time, feel free to explore the videos and blog posts on my website, email me with questions, and I can do limited consultations via Zoom.