Our modern world can easily be summed up by one word: busy. There are places to go, messages to respond to, feeds to check, meetings to attend, pictures to like, food to consume, and exercises to be done (if we ever find the time). But we weren’t always this ‘busy,’ were we? What has this level of busy done to our health?
I would argue it is taking its toll, making us chronically sick, stressed, and tired. But it seems, fortunately for us all, that the introduction of smart and wellness tech is opening us up to an integrative world that blends health, technology, and emotion together.
Let me explain. Working at Collective Evolution, I’ve been able to see what the collective is really dialing into at any given time. Through analytics and trends I have seen that now, more than ever, people are attracted to anything related to improving their health via the latest technology.
Because we rely so heavily on our gadgets and apps these days — they give us our schedules, tell us what to eat (and when, and how much), what exercises to do, how to meditate, what to watch, and more — it would be wise to take a look at how it is affecting our health. Mindful usage of these devices, should we choose to take advantage of them, is essential to our mental health, because as we all know, things can get a bit obsessive quite quickly.
Wearable technology, like the Fitbit, smart eyewear, and accessories, allows us to track, record, and monitor our movements and health. They provide analytics, graphs, and even locations of places we’ve been to or wish to visit. While it’s great to have a record of your achievements (or lack thereof), it is equally important to recognize that you are much more than those numbers. I had a Fitbit earlier this year and I found it to be a great motivator to get moving.
I remember one day being so determined to reach my daily 10K steps mark that I walked up and down and all around my house for 30 minutes at 11pm until I reached my goal. Was I a better person for achieving that? Not really.
Was I a little too caught up in my mind and its impossible standard of perfection? Probably. This was a perfect example of how technology, health, and emotions are a powerful trifecta than can help or hinder depending on how they’re used.
Better Work Tech: CoreChair
Sedentary lifestyle has become so prominent in our technology driven world. We have lost so much of our natural mobility within our vocational life. Some of us have jobs that require us to sit down for long periods of time every day.
The creators of the CoreChair recognized this reality and came up with a revolutionary chair that not only supports and corrects posture, but strengthens core muscles as you work.
Once we found out how destructive sitting for long periods of time is on our health, we moved to standing desks. But those have their own set of issues. CoreChair technology combines the movement the body requires (and a fantastic outlet for fidgeters) with the practicality of getting your work done. You can lock the chair in place when you want to be still, or unlock it for full range of motion so you can gain the benefits of mobility while you sit.
But there is an element of mindfulness inherent in this technology, as the chair provides an opportunity to check in with your body and see what it needs. I have the not-so-healthy habit of folding my legs under myself on a chair when I’m working. Doing this continuously and often has caused me some knee pain. But the design of the CoreChair does not allow for this or other poor sitting habits.
The sculpted seat for example won’t accommodate criss-crossed legs, but is super comfortable and works in conjunction with the low back to stabilize the pelvis and create a balanced spine position, optimizing sitting posture and reducing back pain. Learn more about the CoreChair here.
Technology like the emWave strives to improve our mental health by giving us a glimpse into our stress management habits. The HeartMath Institute has decades of research showing the intimate relationship between our physiology and psychology processes. Everyone has some form of stress in their lives; instead of going for the impossible and trying tirelessly to get rid of it, let’s work on managing it instead.
The emWave technology is an innovative approach to improving wellness and facilitating personal growth based on learning to change your heart rhythm pattern to create coherence — a scientifically measurable state characterized by increased order and harmony in the mind and body. This little device clamps lightly onto your earlobe, with the other end plugged into your computer via USB port. It’s fascinating to see the real-time results as you focus on a positive emotion and breathe along with your heart rhythms. You will see the graphs and lights change to reflect your level of coherence.
Health Journal Apps
At some point or another, we seek personal development as a means of evolving and improving ourselves. Instead of getting (and paying for) a real, live life-coach or mentor, however, there are an array of apps that you can download on your various devices that mix the tech with the health and emotional well-being.
Apps like Remente or Balanced are goal-orientated and demand accountability, helping the user engage more with their life. I think the best thing to come out of this technology that integrates with our lives is the level of self-awareness it can help bring to people.
When you are committed to logging your food, activities, alcohol consumption, exercise, social time, drug use, sleep time, and other metrics, it gives you a real snapshot of where and what you are spending your time doing. The downside to this could be the self-judgment that may or may not come along for the ride if things aren’t documented or you don’t like what the numbers are showing.
Either way there is much to learn; it’s just important to remember to blend this technology into our lives mindfully — not getting attached to the perceived outcomes or wished-for expectations, but simply engaging more with our own lives and habits.
We’ve all seen the dark side of technology, but we just went through some awesome ways it helps us improve our lives as well, as long as we are mindful and self-aware of all the implications. If something just isn’t working for you, be wise and courageous enough to let it go. I let my Fitbit go for a while, as I started noticing a competitiveness coming out with other Fitbit users. If you know of more health integrative technologies, I’d love to hear about them!
Tips On Overcoming Sleep Problems During Pregnancy
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep in the Third Trimester is a Challenge
As the body changes, a pregnant woman may suddenly find a handful of reasons she can’t get to sleep at night. Try these tips for an uninterrupted night’s sleep.
A common complaint among pregnant women, particularly those in their third trimester, is the inability to fall (and stay) asleep at night. Many factors are often to blame, making it difficult to know exactly how to address the issue. From growing size to frequent urination, there seems to be no break for a rest. But some very basic techniques can help pregnant women get the sleep they need.
Why Can’t I Sleep?
As the body changes throughout the first and second trimesters, some women may notice changes in their sleeping pattern. Most, however, aren’t too affected until they reach month seven or so. As the body rapidly adapts to the growing baby, some issues may arise:
• Frequent urination can be a huge annoyance. As the kidneys do double-duty to filter the increased blood volume (about 40% more than normal), the body produces more urine. At the same time, the baby’s growth has increased pressure on the bladder, making the time between bathroom trips very short. Babies active at night may also increase the number of trips for some mothers.
• A rapid heartbeat is needed to pump that extra blood throughout the body, but some women find it difficult to relax in these circumstances.
• Shortness of breath, due to pressure on the lungs and the release of certain hormones, can make it a challenge to fall asleep at night. As the fetus grows, the diaphragm will compress more and more, increasing the pressure on the lungs.
• Aches and pains are quite common, since a pregnant woman’s center of balance shifts and places extra pressure on new areas. Leg cramps and lower back pain are a typical night-time complaint since the hormone relaxin is working to stretch out and loosen the ligaments to prepare for delivery. Injuries and strains become more likely later in pregnancy.
• Digestive problems, like heartburn and constipation, abound as the process of digestion slows down. Food backs up in the digestive tract, taking longer to break down, and the result is mom’s discomfort.
Doctors recommend that pregnant women lay on their side at night to allow proper blood flow throughout the body. For stomach- and back-sleepers this might be difficult, but it’s important. Choosing a comfortable mattress and pillows is a must as they will help make a pregnant woman more comfortable at night. Use pillows under the belly, behind the back, and between the legs. Try experimenting with different pillows (body pillows, wedges, etc.) and different positions.
When it’s almost time to get to sleep, start preparing the body for bedtime. Take a relaxing bath, have a glass of warm mylk, or a night-time massage. Putting the mind at ease can help make the transition to sleep easier. For some, foods high in carbohydrates, like a snack of bread or crackers, will help with sleep troubles. And to limit bathroom trips, be sure to avoid drinking fluids too close to bedtime!
The right nutrition and exercise can go a long way, especially during pregnancy. Certain things should be avoided and added to optimize sleep:
• Adding calcium to the diet will help to curb those painful leg cramps.
• Protein-rich diets can ward off those unpleasant pregnancy nightmares.
• Skipping caffeine, or limiting it as much as possible, can have a dramatic effect. Many pregnant women’s bodies cannot break down caffeine, so it remains in the system much longer than usual.
• Avoid foods that trigger heartburn.
• Get enough fibre to reduce constipation.
• Try yoga for relaxation, walks to keep joints limber and moderate activity to help promote sleep. Adding exercise every day might be the key to getting to bed at night.
Paying attention to the body, staying relaxed, and getting the right nutrition is essential to quieting the mind and getting a good night’s sleep during pregnancy. Follow these tips and try to stay positive; only a few more months (or weeks) to go!
10 Quick & Nourishing Smoothie Recipes That Taste Great
- The Facts:
Smoothies are a great way to pack a lot of nutrients into a filling, delicious meal any time of the day. In our fast-paced world, they help provide a great way to stay healthy on the go.
- Reflect On:
If you find combining sugars and fats bloat you, keep them separate. Sugar that comes from eating whole fruit is not the same as added sugar!
Have you ever compromised on a nourishing and filling breakfast because you are running late for work? Well, it has happened to all of us, especially women with kids.
And the good news is, smoothies! That’s right! Smoothies are nutrient-rich, delicious and can be made within minutes. You can replace it with your coffee on-the-go as it is much more healthy, filling, and tasty.
Here are 10 such smoothies prepared using a variety of fruits, veggies, and other ingredients. Some of the ingredients are rich in antioxidants, some are protein packed, and a few others are the best anti-inflammatory foods. So indulge in a smoothie marathon and try out one of the below smoothies each day; either as a fully-loaded breakfast or as a filling snack.
This is a protein-rich breakfast which is clean and detox-friendly. It consists of,
- 180ml of coconut milk
- 1tsp cacao 1tsp coconut oil
- 120 ml coconut water
- 25 grams of oats
- half a banana (either fresh or frozen)
- 1tsp almond butter
- 3 ice cubes
Blend everything together and you are ready to kick start your day on a super healthy note. It contains protein, fibre and all the essential nutrients required for a wholesome breakfast.
Peanut Butter Banana Apple Smoothie
Another protein packed smoothie that is just delicious! This recipe is as easy as it comes.
- Add two tablespoons of peanut butter
- a banana
- some sliced apples and
- a few ice cubes
There you go! Banana will give you instant energy, protein from peanut butter, and loads of vitamins and minerals from apple. Nothing can get better than that!
Watermelon Basil Smoothie
Another simple and quick smoothie with just three ingredients. It is healthy, quick and delicious. This smoothie includes watermelon, basil and coconut water. It is super-hydrating and healthy. Watermelon is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and many other nutrients. It aids conditions such as inflammation, obesity, diabetes and heart diseases. Basil is an amazing source of vitamin K, magnesium, copper, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and omega 3 fatty acids. What more do you need?
Cherry Vanilla Protein Smoothie
Cherries are the best summer fruit ever! Put one cup of cherries along with one cup coconut milk and one scoop of protein powder. It is naturally sweet, creamy and full of deliciousness. This will fulfil your daily dose of protein in a single gulp! Cherries are packed with antioxidants and cancer-preventing elements. Studies show that it also promotes sleep by increasing melatonin levels, relieve arthritis pain, reduce belly fat and is an excellent post-workout snack that can reduce muscle pain.
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
With just two ingredients, it is possible to have a tropical beach experience at home. Don’t know how? This pineapple smoothie is just what everyone needs. Frozen or fresh pineapple and almond milk are the only ingredients in this. It is quick, easy and a perfect after workout drink. This combination can never go wrong. Pineapples improve bone strength, eyesight, delays muscle degeneration and aids in digestion. Having this smoothie first thing in the morning can help with smooth bowel movement.
Banana Blueberry Chocolate Smoothie
Who doesn’t love chocolates? This smoothie can fix the craving for chocolate and in a healthy way. Adding sugar and other sweeteners can ruin the whole purpose of having a healthy smoothie. Cocoa powder is a perfect substitute that can solve this issue. And blueberries offer a myriad of benefits such as regulate cholesterol and heart diseases. It has fibre, potassium, Vitamin C and other essential nutrients.
The ingredients are
- 1 sliced banana
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- Water or crushed ice can be added.
Mint Chocolate Smoothie
This is a nutrient-packed smoothie with simple and easily available ingredients. Simply put 1 avocado, 1 banana, 1 scoop of green powder, one tablespoon vegan yogurt, two handfuls of spinach, some almond milk, few mint leaves and 1tsp cocoa powder. The greens offer plenty of vitamins and minerals along with the benefits of avocado. Mint acts as a palate cleanser and improves digestion and bowel movements. It also reduces the symptoms of inflammation, depression, asthma, respiratory diseases, promotes oral care, cures nausea and headache and even prevents cancer.
Tired of the same old peanut butter? Try this smoothie recipe with non-dairy milk, almond butter, bananas, one tablespoon of flaxseeds, natural oats, and honey. It is packed with protein, dietary fiber, omega 3 fatty acids and plenty of other nutrients. Needless to say, extremely delicious. Makes up for an excellent post-workout snack that promotes muscle strength, repair of damaged cells and provides energy.
Beetroot Cinnamon Smoothie
The ingredients are,
- 1 small raw beetroot
- 1 handful of almonds
- 1 handful of baby spinach
- ripe banana
- ripe avocado
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
This smoothie can be customized by adding more fruits or greens. It is perfect for breakfast or as a snack option. Beetroot is a good source of iron, nitrates, magnesium and other antioxidants. It also improves skin health and glows, lower blood pressure and prevent dementia. This smoothie is an ideal option for a pre-workout meal.
So what are you waiting for? Try out these incredibly easy and healthy smoothies and pamper yourself with a great breakfast that nourishes your soul. It’s time for some self-love!
8 Comics Showing How Much Today’s Childhood Differs From Ours
- The Facts:
The childhood experience today is inevitably affected by--and sometimes even centered on--technology.
- Reflect On:
What is technology giving to our children, and what is it taking away? Should we be more proactive about our children's exposure to technology?
When I was a child, there was no shortage of getting told by our parents and other adults about how much better we had things than they did when they were children. Stories of having to walk for miles to go to school, sleeping in the same bed until they became an adult, having the same food all the time, and having only a few simple toys to last them several years were not uncommon at all. There was a definite sense that as society modernized, things were getting better for children.
And as children we certainly didn’t disagree — hearing our parents’ stories did indeed make us feel that we were better off than they were. We certainly would not be inclined to exchange our childhood for their more rugged, austere version. And yes, to some extent these stories gave us a bit more ‘appreciation’ for what we had, despite not showing enough of it to satisfy our parents.
How About Today?
Today, I’m not sure that familiar line of conversation that has spanned many generations is going on anymore between parents and children. As the father of a 4-year old, the most immediate difference I notice is that we seem to have less time for our children than our parents did, especially if both parents are working full-time, which is just about a requirement these days.
The other major difference is the level of technology children have access to. And in some ways, technology has come in and ‘filled the gap’ where a parent’s attention is absent. Now, undoubtedly, there are some benefits to technology for our children. But when we take time to reflect on it, we might recognize that we have come to a particular stage in the modernization of our society where most of us are not sure that ‘newer, bigger, faster, more convenient’ is necessarily better, especially with regards to the type of childhood that serves as a foundation for a happy and prosperous adult life.
Here are 8 pictures comparing childhoods then and now, where technology has become ubiquitous in the lives of our children. Do you think our children have it better than we did?
Are they having more fun?
Are they being more creative?
Are they more ambitious?
Are they healthier?
Are they understanding consequences better?
Are they feeling things more deeply?
Are they experiencing more frustration?
Is their sense of wonder being cultivated more?
How Did You Score It?
How you answer these questions might give you some insight into how much you want your children’s early experiences to be influenced by technology. As everyone knows, childhood is the most formative time of a person’s life, which is why, as parents, some of the choices within our control that we make about our children’s exposure to technology might have a significant impact.
Drawings courtesy of Sergey Raskovalov.
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