Challenge your thoughts
Thoughts can profoundly influence our moods and even pain. Constantly telling yourself things like “I’m always in pain,” “I don’t know how much longer I can take this” or “I’m so stressed at work,” or “How can I continue to live this way?” can cause the “pain gates” in your nervous system to open. It’s a natural sensation to tense up and tighten muscles all over your body when feeling pain or stress. Such negative thoughts undermine your sense of control and keep you from taking positive action. Learn to monitor and challenge this negative self-talk. Try writing down your thoughts and feelings as part of a pain or stress diary. Practice belly breathing exercises and use guided imagery to get to a place that’s pain and stress “manageable.” You CAN make it better.
Source: Molly Ross, executive director, Integris James L. Hall Jr. Center for Mind, Body and Spirit
Prepare your meals
and eat better all week
Eating healthy doesn’t start with a magic pill or protein bar — it starts with your kitchen. That’s right, homemade meals take a little extra planning, but you can end up cutting calories and adding more nutrients if you do it yourself. And don’t forget about the money you’ll save. Here’s the battle plan:
Set it up:
Designate one day as “Plan and Prep” for the entire week. (We’re partial to Sundays.) Make a list of your future meals and the ingredients required for the entire week, and then go grocery shopping. When you get home, it’s time to prep. Here are some suggestions:
Make sure you have plastic storage containers, an insulated lunchbox and even a slow cooker. These will make the transportation and preparation of food that much easier.
Grill or bake a week’s worth of chicken breasts.
Fry ground turkey or beef that you can throw in eggs and pasta sauces.
Make a batch of quinoa or brown rice to use for breakfast porridges, salads or side dishes.
Hard boil a dozen eggs for on-the-go protein snacks.
Slice and dice a week’s worth of fruits and veggies for stir-fries, salads or just easy snacking.
Use your slow cooker:
If you’re OK with eating the same food a few times a week, start the slow cooker overnight on Sunday and portion into individual containers the next morning. Make a versatile meat, such as pulled chicken or pork, to use in a variety of styles: sandwiches, salads, pitas and pastas.
Packing a healthy lunch is easy. Toss a grilled chicken breast, a cup of quinoa and veggies into a container to heat up at work. If you’re looking for a grab-and-go breakfast, freeze a few individual smoothies on Sunday and grab one each morning on your way out the door. Happy eating!
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