Earlier this year I was let go from a job I really enjoyed. After living in Brazil for four years and coming back to the States to start all over again, having this job really meant a lot to me. When I was let go, I was devastated, I didn’t see it coming. I spent three weeks talking to friends and family, analyzing the situation, asking why me, why now. During those three weeks, I also updated my resume and started to look for a job. When I followed up, the position was already filled or they went with another applicant. Then I thought I might as well apply for unemployment as I figure out the way forward.
At this same time, I started to put more time into my former blog, Women On It. I continued to write about issues facing women or interviewing female entrepreneurs and executives, but I also added topics about health and wellness. I felt that part of being successful is being healthy and taking care of yourself. We live in a world that doesn’t make it easy to preserve our health, so I wanted to share my thoughts and ideas to help women be more healthy.
Then one day I started to reflect on all my years in the “women empowerment” space and I started to feel frustrated. I felt too many of these women organizations did not have the best interests for women in general, nor the women involved, volunteering their time. There was too much hypocrisy happening that I could not be involved anymore.
As I was becoming more and more focused on health and wellness, and truthfully have been since I was a young girl, it was time to take a big step forward. In July I enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, signed up for a yoga teacher training course and changed my blog to Simply Be Good.
Until today, I haven’t written a full description for Simply Be Good. It’s obviously focused on health and wellness, but there’s more to it.
Then we had our election this past Tuesday and talk about a stunning result. Nobody expected Mr. Trump to win and for the past 48 hours I think we’ve all been reflecting on the state of the U.S. right now. This made me think about the name Simply Be Good and what that means in relation to our current environment. The conclusion I’ve come to is, we need to be good now more than ever.
Be good to yourself
First and foremost, be good to yourself. Take care of yourself. Everything starts with you and how you feel. When you are unhealthy, stressed, sad, unmotivated, sick, struggling, that has an effect on the immediate world around you.
Is this easier said than done? Yes, but it really matters. I understand we’re all different and our problems are different, but you have to find ways to be good to yourself.
Here are some suggestions for you:
- Make sure you get enough sleep: I know there are times when that’s difficult, but good sleep rejuvenates you. It doesn’t have to be eight hours, but try and get six and a half to seven hours of sleep as much as you can.
- Eat whole foods: Stay away from processed food. Focus on fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, nuts, seeds and grains. It may be challenging because of time or money. Don’t worry about buying organic, just focus on whole foods. Every grocery store from Walmart to Trader Joe’s have plenty of options for good, healthy food that’s affordable.
- Make time to exercise: You don’t need to go to a gym for an hour. Take daily brisk walks, do it with your dog, do it with your children. There are a TON of videos online, find one that’s fifteen minutes long, do it three times a week. If you prefer going to a gym, you only need twenty minutes to get a good workout in.
- Take five minutes to meditate or just breathe: I wrote about how I started to meditate five to six days a week. I feel like a new person. When you’re stressed, it’s easy to reach for a drink, eat crap food or be full of anxiety. Instead, give yourself a few minutes to breathe or meditate.
Be good to your friends, family and neighbors
Our relationships with the people around us are so important. This brings to mind the Blue Zones and the importance of social circles.
The Blue Zones started out as a project with National Geographic, which eventually became a best-selling book called The Blue Zones. The Blue Zones are key places around the world where people live to 100, ten times more than they do in the U.S.
When I thought about the importance of a social circle, social media came to mind. We talk a lot about how we feel more connected with the world than we ever have and that’s due to social media. However, that’s only being connected to people, information and news from around the world. That’s not truly being connected.
When I say be good to your friends, family and neighbors, this is what I mean:
- Make time for your friends: Do this regularly; weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Have dinner, create a book club, go to yoga together and do it without your phone.
- Spend time with family: Some of our most contentious relationships are with family. Put a stop to it, life’s too short.
- Smile and say hi to your neighbors: One of the things I absolutely loved about living in Brazil, is everyone always said hi, good morning, good afternoon and good evening. Ever since I came back from Brazil, I make a point to smile and say hello. Sometimes I don’t get a reaction, but it doesn’t matter. When I do, many times we strike up a conversation.
Be good to both men and women
There are obvious reasons why we need to be good to women. We need to fight for equal pay, a respectable amount of time for maternity leave, and treat them with respect in all situations; socially, personally and professionally.
The reasons to be good to men might not be so obvious. I imagine many women reading this will think, “Why? Men have it all, they have good pay, they don’t bear children, they have more opportunities than we do.” However, there are several things we don’t take into consideration that affect men.
- They were greatly affected by the 2007-2009 Recession: In this piece by the National Bureau of Economic Research, they explain why men were more affected by the Great Recession than women. At the time, almost 80% of the 5.1 million jobs lost during that time were employed by men.
- The women’s empowerment movement does not include men: Not only did men lose their jobs, but as the women empowerment movement has gained a resurgence in the last few years, they shut men out. We need their support and participation to achieve our goals.
- Paternity leave is just as important as maternity leave: Having a week with your new born child is a drop in the bucket of life. Both men and women need some form of paid family leave. This affects all of us in many ways and it needs to change.
There are other issues that face men, but my point is we need to be good to both men and women for different reasons.
Be good to the planet
Climate change is real, even though we still have a large group of people who don’t want to believe it. If you are still on the fence about it, take some time to watch Cowspiracy, Before the Flood or Years of Living Dangerously.
Most of us recycle right? I’m sure if we surveyed the public, some don’t. Point is for years we’ve been recycling and reducing our water usage as a way to be good to the planet. However, we’re finally waking up to the fact that it’s not enough.
Here are ways in which you can be good to the planet:
- Stop eating feedlot animal protein: You really should reduce your consumption of animal protein; dairy, eggs and meat, but if that’s too difficult, at least buy local, sustainably raised meat, dairy and eggs.
- Stop buying products that use palm oil: Do you know the number of products that use palm oil? There are many, check out this list from the World Wildlife Fund. Think twice about the products you buy.
- Stop buying drinks in plastic bottles: I love sparkling water, I usually mix it with flat water from my Brita. But I never buy any water in plastic bottles. Truth be told, most of the drinks we buy in plastic bottles are not good for us.
For more information and to learn more about everything I mentioned, check out the links below.
Let’s work on taking the time to be good. It’s for our own health and wellness and the health and wellness of friends, family, neighbors, strangers, men, women, children and the planet. After such a negative, divisive and long election campaign, coupled with the results, we owe it to ourselves and the world, to take better care of one another.
14 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Own Carbon Footprint – National Geographic
Which Everyday Products Contain Palm Oil – World Wildlife Fund
The U.S. Needs Paid Family Leave – For the Sake Of Its Future – Jessica Shortall’s TED talk