the gut girl

Achieve Work Life Balance from Within

For many, "work life balance" is an oxymoron. How is it possible to feel any semblance of peace when we have so much going on? 

I’m a Fermentation Coach and Yoga teacher, but balance is still a practice for me—as it is for everyone. However, my personal practice is easy and attainable, because it focuses on my state of mind rather than my to-do list. 

Simple acts of mindfulness and self-care can better equip you to deal with life’s many challenges—and appreciate the successes. As the saying goes, “Change your attitude, change your life.” 

Instead of rearranging your entire schedule overnight (which can be a shock to your nervous system), achieve work life balance with these simple steps: 

Get Moving

Had a busy day? Been sitting for 8 hours straight? End your day with gentle yoga. A walk or cardio training can also do the trick.

Getting into our bodies enables us move away from the thoughts and worries occupying our minds and helps us release endorphins (also known as one of the “happy hormones”).  

Fuel Up

If you’re like me, you might find yourself running around all weekend caravanning kids to sporting events, birthday parties and friends’ houses. This might prevent you from sitting down and eating. But hunger can throw your blood-sugar levels way off balance, making it harder to handle stress.  

To avoid an energy dip, prep gut-healthy snacks that will give you the boost you need to stay on an even keel throughout the day. Get portable snack ideas here.   

Be Present

When you’re constantly on the go, it’s easy to miss the simple pleasures of life. Sitting still for 3-10 minutes each day can help you reset at any point. Set an alarm and use the time to focus on your breath. 

Stillness can also be achieved through awareness. If you’re washing dishes, feel the warmth of the water on your hands and watch the bubbles of soap rise from the sink. If you’re taking a walk, concentrate on the air filling your lungs and the heat of the sun on your face. Just noticing the beauty of the world around us can help us gain a positive perspective. Suddenly, we're getting more done and stressing less.   

Feel inspired? Leave me a comment and let me know one action step you'll take toward achieving work life balance this week.  

 

A Surprising Cause of Gut Dysbiosis

We know that a high-sugar, high-stress lifestyle can lead to an imbalance in our microbial community, otherwise known as gut dysbiosis. This condition causes the good bacteria to decrease and the bad bacteria to increase. When this happens, we’re susceptible to inflammation, illness and disease… not to mention depression, anxiety and weight gain. Not fun for any of us!

While diet and stress are the primary factors, they aren’t the only ones that can lead to a gut imbalance. Another surprising cause? AGE. Aging is, of course, a biological process. However, if we don’t support our bodies throughout our lives, we’re increasingly prone to infections and illnesses the older we get. Here’s why…

Age & Gut Dysbiosis

The type of bacteria we have in our gut and the levels of bacteria in our bodies both change as we age. As we get older, we produce more E. coli (proteobacteria) and Staphylococcus (firmicute), and less Bifidobacteria (actinobacteria).

A recent study, The Healthy Gut for Aging Well, provides a few reasons for this bacterial shift: 

  • Decreased salivary function
  • Neuron degeneration 
  • Decreased gut motility

If you'd like to learn more about this study you can read the full abstract here. 

Gut dysbiosis is also more prevalent as we age, because elderly individuals are often prescribed more antibiotics than younger adults. “A study looking at 187 elderly people prescribed antibiotics found that there were alterations to their microbiota and concluded that this affects long-term health.”

So what does this all mean? Promoting a healthy gut microbiome is essential now and as you age. It’s also important to continue to replenish your body with pre and probiotics every day, and especially after a course of medication or antibiotics.  

In fact, a healthy gut balance may be the best “anti-aging” trick available. The more you populate your body with good bacteria, the younger you look and feel. Ferments and a healthy lifestyle could actually save you hundreds of dollars on makeup and eye creams! 

What else can you do to support your body as you age?

Be sure to check back next week to get tips and recipes that will positively affect your whole body—at any age!