From the moment we wake up, women are go-go-going — tending to our homes, loved ones, and jobs. But all this caring for others can push us to the breaking point, cautions medical doctor Rangan Chatterjee, host of the BBC One show Doctor in the House and author of How to Make Disease Disappear ($12.79, Amazon).
“The body can only juggle so much,” he says. “When we exceed its limits, the system starts to break down and we get sick.” Fortunately, over nearly 20 years of treating patients, Dr. Chatterjee has learned that regaining health doesn’t require a lifestyle over-haul. “By making small changes in daily life, you can create and maintain high energy, good health, and happiness,” he promises. Best of all, his simple solutions fit into even the busiest of days.
Feeling so run-down that tending to your health seems daunting? Discover the easy doctor-approved strategies to reclaiming your vitality below.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
We write about products we think our readers will like. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the supplier.
Take a gratitude break.
Giving thanks is study-proven to increase energy, decrease stress, and enhance mental focus, Dr. Chatterjee notes, citing the power of prayer to enhance well-being. Other ways to add thankfulness to your day: Take a few moments to enjoy the beauty of nature or write down three positive things each evening. “It only takes a few minutes and will make you feel less stressed and more positive almost instantly.”
Try mini movements.
“Exercise doesn’t have to be hard, nor should it be boring,” says Dr. Chatterjee, who advises engaging in three or four bursts of movement every day. “Grab a jump rope, dance around the living room, or play a game of tag with your kids,” he suggests. These bursts improve your fitness to combat fatigue, brain fog, aches and pains — plus, they provide the mood-boosting benefits of childlike play.
Find your flow.
“Immersing yourself in a beloved pastime helps normalize levels of the stress hormone cortisol,” says Dr. Chatterjee. “That’s key since chronically elevated cortisol wreaks havoc on both brain and body.” His advice: Do something you can get lost in (such as knitting or gardening) for 15 minutes a day. Struggle to carve out time? “It’s fine to start with even five minutes. The more you practice, the easier prioritizing your-self will become.”
Fill up on phytos.
“Plants contain phytonutrients to defend themselves — and when we eat them, these defense molecules have a remarkable impact on our health,” says Dr. Chatterjee. To experience benefits like a stronger immune system and boosted brainpower, he advises enjoying five different-colored veggies daily. He explains, “By eating a variety of colors, you guarantee that you are getting a variety of nutrients.”
Put Phones Away
Take tech time-outs.
“Technology can interfere with the joys we could be experiencing with others,” notes Dr. Chatterjee. To bolster the human connections shown to slash stress by up to 50 percent: Temporarily switch off your phone’s data and Wi-Fi connectivity when spending time with loved ones — even for just a few hours on the weekend. “You’ll still be able to receive necessary calls and texts, but you’ll be more ‘in the moment’ as a result.”
Reading In Bed
Enjoy a bedtime story.
We’re facing what Dr. Chatterjee calls a “sleep-deprivation epidemic.” “The majority of sleep problems I see are caused by end-of-day ‘emotional commotion’ that makes it harder for the body to wind down,” he says. His tip to sync into sleep mode: Avoid watching stimulating television dramas before bed and curl up with a paperback instead. Research shows people who read in the evening fall asleep 28 percent faster.