We live in a fast-paced world infused (and often confused!) with information and technology. It’s a world in which we eat on the go, sleep when we can, and often neglect to take care of ourselves. We call that “progress”, but ironically, as we dig to find the newest, latest, most advanced wellness research, we find that going back to our grandparents’ lifestyle would be much healthier for us. Turns out, Grandma’s advice may be the best after all.
Let’s take a moment to step back in time and examine what Grandma would recommend in terms of sleep, food, mood and exercise, and see how it compares to current wellness trends.
Grandma’s Health Promotion Strategies
Sleep. Grandma would never be up till midnight watching TV shows or catching up with email. Instead, she would have observed a fairly early bedtime, including a chance to ease herself to bed. She was also very consistent with her sleep patterns, always the first to rise and the first to go to bed. Our brains and bodies were made to follow the cycles of light and darkness, and they love regularity. If we were as serious about our sleep as Grandma was, you can be sure we wouldn’t be so prone to insomnia, overeating, anxiety and inactivity as we are.
Food. In terms of food, eating right was always a top priority for Grandma. This is why she had her own garden, and supplemented it with mainly local, organic ingredients (well, back then, organic was pretty much the norm because they industrialized farms and chemical fertilizers were rarer). She insisted on home cooking almost anything she served. In fact, the thought of going out to eat or even buying a commercially-produced bread, sauce or pie would have not crossed her mind. Grandma would also never let you have desert before you were finished with your vegetables! And what does research show today? Of course, Grandma was right.
Mood. When it comes to mood, Grandma also knew that being happy requires making an effort to look on the bright side. She knew that forming bonds and connecting with others help to increase our level of happiness. Grandma did not have time to sweat the small stuff, and she was always the one that would take bad news with a grain of salt. And who can forget how important spirituality was to her? Well, today, there’s also research proving that.
Exercise. As for exercise, Grandma just didn’t have all the technology that we enjoy today. Her daily activities of cooking, cleaning, washing, and going places required an expansion of energy. There is no question about it, she moved around so much that I bet she’d put a lot of us to shame! Today, we’re increasingly recognizing that intermittent activity throughout the day is better than spending time at the gym and then sitting the rest of the day.
Even her cleaning products were a safer alternative than what’s on the market today! As more and more information shows how polluted the air in our homes is due to harsh chemical cleaning products, I started to go back to her water-lemon-vinegar solutions.
Rule of Thumb
So when in doubt about what to do for your wellness or what to recommend to your kids, consider what Grandma would have said. It will guide you to what nature intended.
And here’s to all of you, lovely Grandmas!