The 7 Principles of Health Revisited - Keys To Putting Your Self Care First
Self Care has become a major buzzword in recent times, but very few people truly understand what it means.
It doesn’t necessarily mean meditation, bubble baths or massages when you’re stressed (although detox baths certainly can help), but rather, it encompasses the foundational principles of health that our ancestors understood and espoused for centuries.
There are seven of these principles - which if you truly embrace them - will naturally lead to lasting health, fulfilment and the avoidance of dis-ease.
2020 promises to be a year of heightened consciousness, clarity and enlightenment. With that in mind, there's never been a better time to revisit these seven timeless principles, and to put your Self Care first, without even spending a dime.
The 7 Principles of Health are these:
While it’s clear air is absolutely necessary for health and survival, the quality of air is often what’s lacking for most people.
It used to be understood that good, clean air was a key to health and wellness, but today, we spend so much time indoors in stagnant air and have forgotten the value of getting fresh air.
Even worse is when we’re surrounded by air conditioning or air from the furnace, especially if we’re exposed to it while sleeping. This “false” air is leading to respiratory issues and other health problems, but you can help prevent them by reverting to clean air from outside.
Put your self care first by exposing yourself to fresh, clean electrified (moving) air every single day; get outside, breathe deeply and move to stimulate the lungs.
If you’re stuck inside for prolonged periods of time, open the windows to let the fresh air circulate and/or use a ceiling fan or box fan to electrify the air you work, sleep and live in.
Even in the winter months it's vital that you expose yourself regularly to moving air, particularly due to the fact that airborne viruses and pathogens tend to proliferate during this time. Don't be afraid to crack the window when you sleep and simply layer on some extra blankets if needed.
Water is so important for your health, since it literally sustains your entire body, including your brain. Water also cleanses, both inside and out, by eliminating toxins in your system so you can maintain good health.
By not getting enough water each day, you’ll notice you become tired, unfocused, and unmotivated. Dehydration affects you down to the cellular level, and most people often don’t even realise that their bodies are dehydrated.
Always try to drink more water than you think you need. In fact, you should be drinking as a minimum, the weight of your brain - approximately 2 litres every single day.
Optimally, or if you're particularly active, you should aim for 1 litre per 22 kilos of body weight per day e.g. a person who weighs 70 kg's should aim to drink at least 3 litres of water per day.
If you don't drink enough water, you're probably experiencing regular headaches, dehydration, weight gain, fatigue, problem skin or constipation.
And it may seem a little daunting to kick up your water intake if you're not used to it, but it’s just like any other habit. You can consciously adjust until it becomes a subconscious routine by knocking back a 500ml - 1 litre when you rise first thing in the morning.
Take a water bottle with you wherever you go - in the car, at your desk and when you go walking. All of these little habits add up to help you achieve your daily goal.
If you want to make the water easier to drink, add 1-2 drops of lemon essential oil to your glass water bottle to extra taste and cleansing benefits.
Finally, don't get too hung up on "which type" of water to drink. Any water is better than none - your body will work it out.
That said, obviously you should avoid drinking fluoridated municipal water straight from the tap. Invest in a good quality water filtration system for home, or go with rain water, distilled water or a good quality spring water from a free-running, trusted source or natural underground aquifer.
Handy Tip: Distilled water is made through the same process that mother nature makes rain. To remineralise it, simply place in a glass container and set out into the sun for 1 hour before refrigerating. You can also add a pinch of celtic or himalayan salt if you desire.
Learn more in Water: Nature’s Best & Why It’s Critical to Life.
In recent decades, the populations of the developed world have been told to avoid the sun because it is "dangerous" and "causes skin cancer".
The problem is that avoiding the sun leads to a long list of diseases which include, skin cancer, breast cancer, bowel and colon cancer, prostate cancer - not to mention liver disease and depression - and more.
The sun is the source of a vital nutrient for human health known as Vitamin D, which can't be easily obtained from other sources.
Responsible, regular exposure to sunlight is a key form of self care which should not be overlooked.
Obviously you need to be sensible to avoid burning and allow your skin time to adapt, but by exposing as much of your body as possible to sunshine for 30-45 minutes during the low-intensity time of the day, you’ll help your body get the nutrients it needs for strong immunity and a healthy, happy lifestyle.
Avoid chemical-laden sunscreens which contain known carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals), commonly found in big brand products.
Instead, for prolonged exposure, use plant-based oils that have naturally occurring SPF's (sun protection factors). These include; Red Raspberry Seed Oil (SPF 28-50), Carrot Seed Oil (SPF 38-40), Wheatgerm Oil (SPF 20) and common plant oils like raw Coconut, Almond and Olive Oil (SPF 2-8).
You don't need to 'sun bake' either. It can be as easy as sitting in the morning sun with your hat and glasses off, in the park at lunch time, or even just gardening.
Finally, after sun exposure, using a nourishing plant based moisturiser like our handcrafted Divine, or a natural Shea or Mango Butter, will help to rehydrate and nourish your skin to nourish and maintain suppleness.
Your body was designed to walk. It’s one of the best, most natural forms of exercise you can do, and it’s completely free and you just need to go outside your front door.
Walking combines two of the above health principles (three if you take a bottle of water!), which makes it an incredibly effective self care activity.
Studies have shown that walking for 30-45 minutes per day can add on average up to 18 years to your life. Walking is low-impact, effective for strengthening your constitution and available to just about anyone. It's also good for both your mind and body thanks to the meditative state it can induce.
Oh and it's not the same to use a treadmill!
Instead, get outside where your senses are involved and you have fresh air, for an instant boost to your mood and wellbeing.
Of course, you can add other forms of exercise to your movement routine to take things up a level, but remember that walking is #1 and should be practiced as a healthy foundation.
5. Whole Foods
These days, highly processed foods sneak their way into almost every meal and food we eat, which is causing serious health and weight management issues.
Whole foods are nature’s true medicines which are designed to nourish and sustain us.
Packed with phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, fibers and enzymes, consuming a diet rich in plant whole foods i.e. fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains, is one of the best things you can do for your energy, vitality and longevity.
Anciently, they understood that fruits are nature's "astringents" (cleansers and detoxifiers) which are best consumed in the earlier part of the day when your body is naturally in it's detoxification/elimination cycle. Fruits also add splendour and life (energy).
They believed that Vegetables are designed to strengthen and establish and feed the systems of the body.
The point is, to just be sure that you eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains in as many different colours as possible to nourish your body and cells.
You'll notice a huge improvement in your health, especially in terms of digestive issues, inflammation, weight management, energy, and illnesses like colds and flu.
Whenever you're on the go, try the Pulse Sacred Meal for a quick and easy nourishing whole food snack.
Learn more in 10 Self Care Superfoods for Health & Healing.
6. Non-Toxic Relationships
What you put into your body is important, but so is who you surround yourself with.
Relationships can have a huge effect on your mental and physical health, not to mention affect how you change, adapt, grow and more. Choosing uplifting, positive relationships can help you become your best self, while toxic, negative relationships drain you and drag you down.
Relationships include everything from family to friends, coworkers to managers, and of course, partners and spouses. Every single person you invite into your life has an effect on you, and it can either lift you up or bring you down, so it’s important to be thoughtful about the people you choose to surround yourself with.
Be grateful for those who you share your life with and it's important to recognise your role in a relationship and what you positively bring. The more positive, appreciative and uplifting you are, it tends to rub off on those around you.
If certain relationships in your life are a source of constant pain and you've honestly done everything you can to make it work, often it's best to make the hard decision and remove yourself from the relationship. Generally it turns out for the best for everyone involved.
Choosing to put yourself in healthy environments around positive people can help you to be the best version of yourself, so be sure to seek out those environments, events, clubs and communities. They will help you to forge healthy friendships and connections with people who are on a similar path to you with similar interests.
Most of the Self Care principles are physical, but as we understand from "relationships", mental and emotional health is just as important.
One of the best ways to ensure you’re living a full, engaged life is by giving attention to the things that invigorate and energise you. These are hobbies or activities that you love doing, that bring joy to your daily life, and that make you feel challenged or fulfilled.
It can be as simple as knitting, or it can be writing, music, running marathons, learning a new language, or whatever else ignites you. If there’s nothing that comes to mind, be curious and try new things until you find something that clicks.
Your true passion in life can often be found by scanning back through your early childhood and identifying the activities that you naturally gravitated to that brought you the most joy. Often, the fullness of time and journey of life can cause you to lose those passions, but they're still inherently inside of you.
If you want to live a truly fulfilled life, your job as an adult is to continue to cultivate those passions and to not let them die within you.
Self care is so much simpler than most think, and it’s truly about following basic principles to live by. If all seven are a stretch for you right now, focus on the easiest two or three that you're not already doing and start there.
As you build each principle into your life and it becomes habit, you'll start to notice the difference in how you look, feel and act, which will then encourage you to take things further by embracing additional principles.
One things for sure. The 7 principles of health are time tested and they work.
It's simple a case of embracing them, and over time you'll find that they're the ultimate keys to becoming and being the best version of you.
Tolman Self Care.