I was recently asked by a friend what tips I had to stay mentally strong during these uncertain times. Here’s what I suggested:
1) I’ve been reading and watching plague-related content! So for example, I read Camus’ The Plague and I recently watched the Korean show Kingdom (historical drama with zombies!). They give me a visceral feeling of much worse situations which makes our current situation look better.
As the tectonic plates of my life have been shifting this year, I’ve found my routines to be the stable ground to fall back on to. There’s something about doing the same thing in chaotic times as you did in stable times. It provides reassurance and continuity of self.
There’s something that is more important for health than diet, exercise and social connections. Sleep. We all know it as we clearly feel the effects of inadequate sleep (bad eating, impaired thinking, constant colds) and the science is clear.
I read an excellent book on the topic, “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker,which spurred me to research the topic more deeply. I was fortunate then to meet one the world’s leading experts on sleep, Professor Adrian Williams. He’s been pioneering sleep research since the late 1970s. First at Harvard and UCLA and later here in the UK at St Thomas’ hospital and Kings College. I interviewed him for my podcast, which you can listen here. I’ve also collated all my research on sleep by topic below. Right at the end, I have the top tips to sleep well.
In my recent podcast on diet and longevity, I mentioned in passing that I take some supplements. Many people have now asked which ones and what brands! So in this blog, I’ll list each. For background I have leaned on the work of Dr Rhonda Patrick, who is very good on determining the research basis of various health approaches (she has a podcast, website and her Twitter is worth following). Also, interviews of her are very good (you can find them on the usual circuit of performance podcasters like Tim Ferris, Kevin Rose, Joe Rogan). For ideas on alternative medicine, I find The Ultimate Health Podcast useful. All the supplements I take are over-the-counter and thought to be low risk, but you should check with your doctor if you have any special health conditions. Here’s my list and I include links to the exact products I buy :
I can’t sing. I can’t play a instrument. And if I have choice between listening to music or a podcast, I pick the latter. Yet, I know that being too “heady” is not healthy. So I’m always trying to find activities that are physical (like running ) or artistic (like painting) as an offset. But my latest activity has to be my bravest yet – attending a singing workshop! Continue reading “The Joy Of Communal Singing (3 min read)”
There are so many books and articles about the right diet that it can be bewildering. There is the GI, Atkins, Paleo, Ketogenic, Dukan, Scandinavian LCHF, Banting, Bulletproof, South Beach and I’m sure many more diets.
All of these have there strong advocates and so it’s hard to decide which one to opt for. Thankfully, I came across the work of Professor Valter Longo,an expert on ageing, at USC Davis School of Gerontology. His work focuses on diets that can help you live longer and healthier, rather than diets that focus on weight loss and six-packs and is featured in his book , The Longevity Diet. His approach is based on five pillars: Continue reading “How To Eat Your Way To 100 Years Old (3 min read)”