Killing The Scoreboard – Part 3 – 9 Ways To Take Care of Yourself
I want to admit something off the bat. I am not the healthiest person around. Quite the opposite in fact. If any of you have seen me then you know that I don’t cut the trimmest figure around.
I have spent a lot of time doing a lot of unhealthy things that have brought me to a place of needed change.
I recently went to the doctor and got some testing done. The results, as you can guess, were less that flattering. At 29, I am already on a trajectory towards diabetes and heart disease. The good thing to come out of this is that because of my age there is still time to make changes before permanent damage is done.
Those test results and some hard conversations have led me to a place of discovery. I am setting out to find what taking care of yourself really looks like.
I am just starting and will never arrive but I wanted to share some things that are working for me and hope some may help you as a player or a parent to think through how to get the most out of what you’re trying to accomplish:
This is my biggest battle. I am a terrible eater. If you ask my wife she will tell you I have the palate of a 7-year-old.
I wasn’t forced to eat healthy as a child and once I was able to make my own decisions, I wanted to eat all the things I liked. It didn’t seem to make me feel bad and so I figured I could just eat whatever I wanted and I would be fine.
Well, 10 years have passed and I weigh 80lbs more than I should.
My wife is very healthy and has gradually and with a lot of grace began to show me how what we put in our body has a dramatic effect on how we operate. I know for most people this is common knowledge but for me, it has been a steep learning curve.
We buy organic. We buy non-GMO.
We try to buy what are called WHOLE FOODS. Not the store. But foods that occur in nature.
What I am finding is the more I eat foods how they were originally designed to be consumed the better I feel. The more energy I have and the better my mental clarity is. I remember things better, I can connect the dots quicker, and seem to generate more creativity and a livelier relationship with God.
There is a lie that gets perpetuated to the sports community about drinks. That lie ends with ade… Gatorade, Powerade, or if you grew up in the 90’s and liked a little carbonation, All Sport.
These drinks are some of the worst things you can put in your body. They are nothing but sugar and fake ingredients.
Now, I do agree that Gatorade replaces electrolytes but you don’t need a ton of crazy ingredients to do this. I recommend checking out the article by Food Babe to learn more:
Prayer is something I have never been good at but have always found fascinating. The basis for prayer is that you are speaking/communicating with the creator of all things. Even though we now know our minds can’t fully understand that concept of a Being that exists beyond space and time we are able to understand how beneficial prayer can be.
Even if you don’t believe in God or don’t believe that prayer works you should still do it for the physiological benefits.
Most of us are stressed about our day to day lives and new science is telling us that prayer can benefit us. If we notice we have less access creativity and rational thinking both faith and neuroscience are telling us to pray more.
Focusing on God’s love and goodness, being thankful, forgiveness, and goals for a better life literally begin to rewire our brains to be more present and less stressed.
Do this every day, and your brain will change for the better. So will your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
There is no doubt that we are busier as a human race than at any point in human history. We all have emails, texts, call, appointments, classes, deadlines, and reports we are trying to fit into our busy lifestyle.
I discovered silence as a way to reset myself. I use it as a spiritual practice to allow God to speak to me about whatever he wants. I try (and fail most days) to have no expectation for this time but instead to be thankful for a bit of time where I can be silent and really listen to what my mind, body, and spirit are telling me.
You can learn a lot if you listen to your life.
And, like before, your body responds well to this. If you have a job or spend a significant time in front of screens being silent and closing your eyes even for 30 seconds can reset how your eyes focus and take in light.
Silence allows you to slow down, relax, and be present to what is going on right in front of you. Most of us are so busy we don’t realize the life we have right in front of us.
5. Less Technology
This is the last thing we want to admit but the thing that we all know. Technology is addictive. We need less of it. We are addicted to our phones, pads, pods, and anything with an “i” in front of it.
There is new science that tells us that the same parts of the brain that activate when we are hypnotized are the same parts that activate when we watch TV.
TV is literally hypnotizing us.
It’s amazing that technology has the ability to connect us faster to a person half way around the world and disconnect us from the person directly across the table.
When is your phone not on? When can someone not get ahold of you? What one day is your email shut down?
These are important questions to ask. In what ways have you allowed technology to own us?
We as a culture are getting less sleep. Sleep was once tied to the days and seasons. We got up when the sun did and when to bed when it went down. We were tied to the natural order of creation.
For me, I used to be able to operate on very little sleep. Stay up late, get up early, and be just fine. Now I need sleep. I have to get to bed early and get up early to feel good. This is how I am wired. I like to get an early start.
It’s different for everyone. I used to try and get up at the same time every day. It didn’t work for me. My work allows me to get up when I am rested. I have tried to orient my life in such a way that it works with how my mind, body and spirit work the best.
You need rest. You have to allow your body to sleep. Even if it’s 30 min extra. Turn off Netflix 1 episode earlier. Go out 1 less night a week. Something that begins to allow your body to develop a new rhythm or rest.
When was the last time your bare feet touched earth? We can go from our house to our car to our job and never actually touch the grass.
Isn’t that fascinating?
I didn’t even realize that it had been years since my feet touched real earth. Maybe once a year I would go to the beach and put my feet in the water but that’s about it.
We can trace our need for nature to the beginning of the Bible. In the first chapter, we see we are created by a creator to work and subdue the land.
It’s in our nature to be in nature.
There is a created order to nature and we play an intricate role in it.
As my friend Rob says “Words create new worlds”. Books believe it or not are where we learn. They say that the books we read in the next 5 years will shape the kind of people we will become.
I love books. All kinds. I recommend reading as much as you can. There are so many good ones out there.
So many worlds to explore and ideas that will stretch us.
Read books you like. Read ones you don’t agree with. Read books that are about something you know nothing about. You will be surprised what you find out.
It will grow you, challenge you, and transform you more into the kind of person God created you to be.
This one is obvious which is why I left it until last. Everyone would put this number one. We all know working out is important. I’m horrible at it. I have never liked it. I worked out a ton in high school and college and once I didn’t have to anymore I stopped.
It took me a long time, several pounds, and a serious Dr. visit to decide that I had to do something different.
It’s been a slow road. I have had to relearn how to work out. I am learning that it’s not about getting a six pack or looking good for the ladies.
It’s small steps. One foot in front of the other.
Gaining a bit of muscle mass to improve your metabolism. Getting your cardio in to improve your heart health.
I’ve started intermittent fasting to allow my body to rest and not always be working to digest. It also allows my body to be hungry and appreciate the meals I have.
Let me repeat. IT’S SLOW.
There are no short cuts, no magic pills, no special diets.
You just have to get out and do the work.
There you have it. 9 ways to take care of yourself. Some of these are harder than others. Some are more practical. Some will be easier to start. The important thing is to start somewhere. Take the next step. It doesn’t matter where you start just that you do. You’ll thank yourself later.