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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kristen Mitteness

Improve Your Brain and Body with These Monthly Challenges

Updated: Jan 23

Staying healthy doesn't have to be complicated. And most of the time it isn't. It's simple, really. We just have to put in a bit of work. But, what if I helped you make it just a bit easier? This year, I'll be releasing one challenge each month for you to incorporate into your day. The goal is to make these a habit so you can continue to improve, even as you age. I'm not into resiliency. We can do even better than that. I much prefer being anti-fragile. Join my monthly newsletter to stay up to date on each one!

JANUARY: Balance

I chose balance for January because if you are in Winnipeg like me, you know it is icy out. And, also like me, chances are you take a slip at least once a winter. As we age, we naturally lose the ability to balance putting us at risk of falling and being injured. Improving your balance doesn't mean that you won't ever slip, because you will. But, it does mean you have a better chance of catching yourself when you do slip. Yes, please.

GOAL: You are able to stand for 30 seconds on each foot individually. This is a good marker for children and adults, alike.

If you can do it, great! You can make it harder by doing it with your eyes closed. If you can't, then we have work to do. You can practice balancing on one foot while you wash your hands or brush your teeth. If that's still too hard, then you are a great candidate for the heel-toe walk. Aim to practice this once per day if you didn't not pass the goal. If you did pass the goal, practice balancing with your eyes closed once per week.

FEBRUARY: Bedtime Routine

Sleep is so, so, so important for your health. "According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 3 adults in the United States reported not getting enough rest or sleep every day." 1 in 3?! So, chances are you could use some help with sleep. I find this especially true due to all of the artificial everything we are exposed to through the day: artificial light, artificial temperatures, artificial food, artificial beauty products. Yes, all of these things make life a bit more comfortable in the short term. But, at what cost? And could it be affecting your sleep? A bedtime routine will look different for everybody. You may have to spend the month trying to find the right combo that works for you. All of us need different amounts of sleep, but most of us need 7-9 hours. While eating well and exercising during the day can and will influence your sleep, you'll probably want to focus on the 1-2 hours before you want to be in bed. Maybe you would benefit from avoiding screens for 1-2 hours before you want to go to bed. Maybe you would benefit from not eating snacks. Maybe you would benefit from reading a book for leisure. Maybe you would benefit from an Epsom salt bath. Maybe you would benefit from some light stretching. Maybe you would benefit from dimming all of the lights in the house and lighting a candle. Maybe you would simply benefit from actually going to your bed earlier.

GOAL: Find the right bedtime routine combo that works for you and stick to it. It's a short month after all.

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