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Actions for Life: How to improve your health and well-being (and that of the planet)

Living Well

Two for one: Simple changes can impact our life and our contribution to the planet.

1. Walking on an empty stomach: Going for a walk in a nearby park when you get up (before breakfast) will revitalize you for the rest of the day. Breathing in deeply the clean and less polluted air of the morning and being in visual and physical contact with Nature will oxygenate your entire body, filling you with vitality and optimism to face the new day. In addition, by doing it on an empty stomach, you will speed up your metabolism and allow your body to use its own fat deposits as a source of energy (since walking is a less arduous exercise, it will not be necessary to eat any food and you will not feel weak). If you don’t have a park nearby, take a deep breath and do some exercises first thing in the morning to catch the first rays of sunshine.

2. Cold showers: Cold showers are excellent for the body as they favor the generation of white blood cells, thus strengthening the immune system. In addition, cold water is an excellent tonic, because it activates circulation. In the hot months it’s nice, but if the idea of taking a cold shower in winter is too extreme for you, try ending your shower this way, it will soon be a must for you!

3. Intermittent fasting: In our blog we have written about fasting (always under the directions of a doctor). It is an idea to give the body a break and let it rest from the digestive function and dedicate itself to other repairing and regenerating functions. An easy way to incorporate it into your life is to ensure that at least twelve hours elapse between dinner and breakfast. If your health allows it, you can also dedicate a day to drinking only infusions (from Symbeeosis) and water with a little honey and lemon or just fruit (pineapple is recommended in winter and watermelon in summer for its excellent purifying properties). Try to choose organic options, to allow the body to cleanse itself properly.

4. Forest bathing: “Shinrin yoku” or “forest bathing” is a practice invented by the Japanese, which they have benefited from for decades. Forest bathing turns out to be a wonderful and healing practice for human beings and has demonstrated multiple physical, psychological and spiritual benefits. It is not just about walking through the countryside, it is about immersing yourself in the forest, with all its humidity, exuberance and richness, engaging all five senses, touching the earth, hugging the trees, breathing in the exquisite aromas of the vegetation, listening to the sound of the wind and birds. The health benefits of forest bathing have been scientifically proven; anxiety levels decrease as the activity of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems increases; blood pressure and the chances of a heart attack are reduced; the immune system is strengthened against infections and diseases; it stimulates and improves our eyesight; it cleanses and oxygenates the cells; it increases vitality and even lengthens life, to mention just a few. The physiological benefits of forest bathing have been shown to last for up to a month afterwards.

5. Practice gardening: If you are lucky enough to have a garden, a terrace or a balcony, make use of it. A magnificent Greek custom is to fill terraces and balconies with plants – just visit us and you will see it! Find out about which plants are most suitable according to the environmental conditions at your place of residence or depending on whether you are going to keep them outdoors or indoors and fill your space with plants, flowers and fruit trees. This will allow you to be in contact with the earth, observe and respect the cycles of nature and feel great satisfaction in seeing how the plants respond generously to our care, watering them, fertilizing them, and exposing them to the sunlight that each one requires. You can also grow your own aromatic plants and enrich your recipes with them! Your home will be filled with beauty and color and your well-being will increase.

6. Disconnect mobile devices: We know that the use of the internet and technological devices are necessary to carry out our work activities; however, taking a break from them in your free time is necessary. When you go to sleep, turn off your home Wi-Fi network if it is accessible and unplug your devices. This will improve the quality of your sleep, and when you wake up, make sure turning on your phone isn’t the first thing you do in the morning. Take a walk, take a shower, or have a leisurely breakfast beforehand. You deserve to fully enjoy the moment!

7. Eliminate sugar from your diet: The consumption of refined sugar harms your health. If you are used to its consumption, try to eliminate it little by little from your diet. Do not add it to your infusions, tea or coffee and replace it with a teaspoon of honey. Note the ingredients of the foods you buy and do not take them home if they contain sugar, even more so if you have growing children. You’ll be doing their health, development, and future eating habits a big favor. You will find countless delicious recipes that use honey or nuts as a substitute for sugar. Try them!

8. Massages with oils and essential oils: Few things are more pleasant than a massage, in addition to being an act of generosity for those who give it and of gratitude for those who receive it. If you live as a couple or as a family, give each other massages! This will strengthen the bond between you and increase your sense of well-being. Use vegetable oils with beneficial properties for the skin and add a few drops of essential oils, both organic (essential oils, especially, have the ability to penetrate the deepest layers of the skin). Offer to give a foot or hand, head or back massage. It is not only pleasant but also reduces stress and increases the production of endorphins, the happiness hormone. If you live alone, take care of yourself and practice pedal reflexology or cranial massages. You will feel great!

9. Be more aware of your diet and its effects: Analyze what you eat throughout the day – and how. Self-respect also entails not introducing into your body any food that is put in front of you, and not eating in any form. Choose the food you eat with care and respect for yourself and the planet. Give yourself time and space to savor food in a relaxed and conscious way. What ingredients does it contain, where does it come from, how is it produced and what are the implications of all this? Is its production exploitative of the land and the ecosystem, due to the use of pesticides and pollutants (which also harm you)? Is it by a responsible company, truly committed to the health and well-being of humans and the earth? We all contribute with our daily actions to make the world a better or worse place. Reflect on this and be more aware of your choices.