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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two of the leading causes of death in US men are heart disease and cancer. The statistics are pretty eye-opening—33% of men over 20 suffer from hypertension and over 36% are considered obese. Adopting Ayurvedic lifestyle practices can make big improvements on your health and well-being. Here are five easy tips to get you started.
1. Improve the quality of your sleep! Getting to bed early and giving your body the rest it needs is probably the most important tip we can give you. Sleep deprivation is not only physically exhausting, it can deplete your brain and increase the stress response. Try incorporating a bedtime routine that starts about an hour before you want to be asleep (which ideally would be by 10:00 pm). Put down your phone or other electronics, turn off the television, read a book, meditate, try using essential oils and/or self-massage—just begin to relax and let go of the day.
2. Stay hydrated. Sip (not glug!) water and herbal teas throughout the day. Avoid carbonated, iced, and caffeinated drinks. One of the best ways to hydrate and encourage the natural flow of the lymph system is to drink sips of warm or hot water every 15 minutes throughout the day. According to Ayurveda, ice water can make it harder for your body to absorb nutrients and properly process food. Cold water can also constrict blood vessels, preventing blood from reaching our organs.
3. Follow a sattvic diet. Eat more fresh, local foods; be thoughtful about how you prepare them; and sit down to enjoy them. Eat three easily digestible meals a day. Focus on getting a majority of your food during breakfast and lunch. This will ensure that you’re finished digesting your food before you go to bed. Good digestion is as important as nutrition—when digestion is strong your immune system is supported and mental wellness is balanced.
4. De-stress. Life is stressful—work demands, home responsibilities, relationships, societal ideals of what men should or shouldn’t be, drama! It can all take a huge toll on your mental and physical well-being. Find effective strategies for coping. Starting a meditation practice can have a profound effect on your health. (Here’s more information!) Be sure to find time to exercise, yoga is a great stress-reliever for both body and mind. Our blog has many articles on breathing practices, guided meditations, yoga poses, and more to help you stay calm and balanced throughout your day. This can mean good things for your blood pressure, immunity, and even your sex life!
5. Maintain a healthy mind. Banyan Botanicals’ Virility and Vitality Guide says, “While many men take pride in living an independent life, an alarming number struggle with fear, loneliness, and anxiety, especially in their senior years. As old friends and spouses that supported them the majority of their life pass on to the after life, a huge vacuum of emptiness remains. This often becomes very hard to deal with, particularly for those who are unaccustomed to sharing or even recognizing and handling their feelings.” How to cope? They advise being sure to have a space where you find comfort and solace, surrounding yourself with like-minded friends, self-care practices such as abhyanga, and forgiveness—of both those who have hurt you and yourself for those you have hurt in your past.
Self-care isn’t just for women. You’re a vital part of your family, society, and the world and taking care of your body, mind, and soul is important for happiness and longevity. The practices of Ayurveda, meditation, mindfulness, and yoga are holistic evidence-based methods of helping you achieve a healthier, joyful, and more fulfilled life.