Hold the dressing. Today we're talking about the reality of our wellness in what could be our financial future.
Futurists have been predicting a recession for years now, but key catalysts of an economic downturn are causing more and more recent chatter. In short, this “yield curve inversion” is the indicator that evaluates the return on long-term vs. short-term treasury bonds, predicting recessions in the past. In a healthy economy, long-term treasury bonds have a higher return, and we are currently seeing the opposite. As a millennial, I felt a heavy personal impact from the last recession as the daughter of both a business owner and banker. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, my job is to study external effects on our overall well-being. Naturally, I took a look at how we could maximize our health in what could be the reality of a soon to be unhealthy economy.
Since the Great Recession...
Since the Great Recession, we have seen and benefited from the tremendous rise of tech, travel & my jam - health and wellness! The fitness fever has spread from small rural towns similar to the one I grew up in CT to the Rocky Mountains and well beyond the Pacific. Families make real estate decisions based on the proximity to the closest Whole Foods. The linearity between the amount of money people pay for their rent or mortgage, and Soul Cycle is laughable, but also relevant to the rise in recent prosperity.
So, what happens when our friendly budgets do not have the luon-like stretch for a fourteen dollar green juice? Considering most of the world does not have access to any of these luxuries, my core tells me we will all survive, and I genuinely believe it could even make us happier. So, my first suggestion is not to panic, and my second is to consider the basics of our human natures.
Applying Integrative Nutrition
In integrative nutrition, we study primary food in addition to the science of bio-individual nutritional needs. This means that our overall health requires more energy applied to our primary needs to survive.
The more complicated added extravagances make our life, the less likely it is we are to live for happiness and longevity. So, as we continue to watch the stocks tank, let’s evaluate a few wellness fundamentals that will raise our stashed cash, maintain an optimal weight and increase our productivity before that green juice, like the DOW begins to taste too sour.
One: Bring awareness to the "extras" in your life.
I personally have a very liberal appreciation of coffee, snacks and especially wine. If you seek these small comfort items out of tedium in the late morning or early afternoon, recognize where this appetite derives from. Our blood sugar often drops around 3pm which can cause our brain to send signals for a boost of serotonin. If we give into this instant satisfaction, it is natural to develop a habit which can lead to extra calories, nearly $1000/year and a wasteful use of time. Instead, consider a 16 ounce water over coffee, interchange packaged snacks for whole foods if you do need caloric fuel and select one night/week to enjoy your favorite wine, perhaps while cooking. You will drink less and enjoy the entire experience instead of simply drinking your stresses, and your cash away.
Two: Develop the habit of the "5 second rule."
According to Mel Robbins, we have five seconds to talk ourselves out of, or into a decision. Consider adding this habit into your daily practices. If you are making an impulse buy, elect to walk away within five seconds of thinking about it. If you are about to sleep through your alarm, count down from five seconds, and don’t talk yourself out of waking up. Over time this will naturally become more automatic.
Three: Take your pick.
As a flegan*, I have naturally crowded out foods that my body does not need. On occasion, I love to indulge, but it is rare I technically have a craving. Dairy, simple carbohydrates and animal proteins are all great ways to get the proper nutrition you need, but consider only adding one of the three to each meal. You can expect to consume more fruits and vegetables, and begin to satiate your dietary needs which are creating specific cravings that may cause you overeat. If you tend to under eat, this is also a great way to add calories into your diet by consciously asking yourself if one of the above is included in your meal. Like the five second rule, our neurotransmitters will develop this habit naturally and consistently.
Four: Sleep is cheap!
According to Dr. Ribin Naiman, sleep, nutrition and energy are all complimentary. As a society we tend to overeat and over consume energy, but we rarely over consume sleep which causes an imbalance. When imbalances occur, we will find ways to obtain our needs that are typically not the healthiest. Ariana Huffington jokingly suggests how our culture wears sleep deprivation as badge of honor, but there simply is no substitute for insufficient sleep. The effect for poor blood flow to your brain caused by inadequate sleep itself creates anxiety, compulsive behaviors and poor self image which leads me to believe the effects of little sleep causes this arrogant brag.
Five: Walk it off!
Studies have shown that in order to maintain maximum health, there is little difference between those who incorporate a 30 minute walk into their daily routine and those who spend and hour in high intensity exercises. About six months ago, I experienced an injury that left me sidelined from running for four months. Initially, I was devastated, but I incorporated 30 minutes of walking everyday, and to my surprise I noticed my jeans became loser, while I maintained the same style of eating. In my training, this signifies excess cortisol production in my bloodstream while I was running 30-50 miles/week signaling my brain to tell my body to store fat. Walking became relaxing, balancing my stress hormones to moderate my metabolism.
Could it be?
Could it be that a recession may add unanticipated value to us? Could the checks and balances of our health have a similar correlation to the yield curve inversion? Perhaps our focus on short-term reward over the last decade has outweighed our human nature to live an integrative long-term, happy life.
*Crowd out: A natural method to remove empty, macronutrients by adding the same macros with high nutrient density
*Flegan: Flexible vegan