A special birthday post

I ran this blog post last year on Madiba’s birthday, but, considering all that’s happened to him during the last 12 months, it feels so long ago.

Over 365 days SA’s former president’s face has been put onto each one of our banknotes, and he’s been hospitalised for two bouts of lung infection – the latest being so serious that several media representatives overshot the mark with stories of his death – and members of his family became embroiled in bitter legal battles about his final resting place.

But, he is sitting up and watching television, according to the latest reports – even though SA was told only last week that he was is a vegetative state and family were thinking about turning off his ventilator.

He may surprise us all yet, and many of us fantasise about him getting up and telling us all where he’d like to be buried, when the time comes. Closer to the truth is the likelihood that he won’t, but he has said, and done, more than enough for us all.

Here are the 67 tips, and Happy birthday, Madiba.

It’s 18 July 2012 and Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday, and I thought I’d find something we could all use and give away – there’s bound to be something on this list for everyone:

glass of wine

glass of wine

1. drink water, at least four glasses a day
2. eat breakfast every morning
3. choose steaming over frying or baking when you can
4. eat fruit and vegetables, a lot and every day
5. sprinkle olive oil on your greens – the greens make it easier for your body to absorb the essential fatty acids in olive oil
6. eat chillies because they stimulate the release of feel-good endorphins in the brain
7. cut down on white sugar and white flour in your diet – they’re dead foods that give very little to your body
8. eat as early in the evening as possible and wait at least 2 hours after eating before you go to sleep
9. avoid huge energy highs and lows by eating small meals often – this balances your blood sugar
10. eat fermented foods like yoghurt – they contain bacteria beneficial for the gut
11. eat as much junk food as you like as long as you make it yourself
12. make sure nothing in your fridge, freezer or cupboard contains MSG – it’s highly addictive and tricks the brain into thinking the food is more nutritious than it actually is
13. stop dieting to lose weight – dieting fails approximately 90% of the time
14. eat organic foods, if you can, and buy from an outdoor market rather than a supermarket
15. avoid fizzy drinks – they contain phosphorus which depletes calcium levels and makes our bodies acidic
16. when eating, slow down and chew each mouthful thoroughly for the best digestion possible
17. eat only when you are hungry and stop when you’ve had just enough
18. have one meat-free day each week
19. get more variety – exotic fruits, veggies or traditional meals in your diet – most of us end up eating just like our parents which may (or may not) be a good thing
20. get your vitamins and minerals from fresh, whole foods rather than relying on supplements
21. eat more seeds and nuts – brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, pecans
22. avoid drinking large amounts of water or other fluid while eating as it dilutes and hinders your digestion process
23. think about what you can ADD to your diet, rather than just what you want to remove – you’ll feel less deprived

beach muizenberg

24. learn how to be present in each moment so you don’t miss out on life’s magic by overthinking everything
25. s-t-r-e-t-c-h when you wake up
26. work on your emotional health – it impacts heavily on your relationships, job and physical health
27. learn to let go of grudges and release anger
28. maintain supportive relationships – invest in family and friends
29. be yourself, honestly & graciously, in all situations at all times
30. make love to your partner as much and as often as you can
31. move your body in a way that you enjoy as often as possible – dancing, soccer, swimming, yoga, running
32. breathe deeply every day
33. plant and tend something beautiful, and something edible – even if it’s only in pots
34. park as far away from the shops as you safely can and use the stairs so you’ll have to get some exercise
35. use heat to relieve pain – used properly, heat packs and hot water bottles do an great job of releasing tension and promoting healing
36. be outdoors and around nature as much as possible – it reminds us of what’s really important
37. get some direct sunlight on your body every day if you can
38. minimise or remove completely toxic relationships from your life and mind
39. give attention often to your relationship with yourself
40. ask your yourself, honestly, what it would take to change some destructive habits in your life
41. learn to listen to the signs, signals and symptoms your body gives you every day
42. read – it feeds your mind and soul, and read to your children
43. sing, as often as you can it’s therapeutic and a stress-reliever
44. learn something new on a regular basis
45. create a safe, nurturing environment in your home
46. if you don’t have a passion, find one – something that has no purpose apart from the pleasure it brings you
47. a daily walk with your partner deepens your connection and strengthens your body



48. get involved in your community in some way – have a reason to get up in the morning that’s bigger than just you and your own family
49. an afternoon nap can be a great recharger
50. create something, anything – a good meal, a DIY project, music, art, anything
51. don’t just donate money, donate your time as well – you’ll get far more internal reward this way
52. for women, spending time with other women releases stress-reducing oxytocin
53. for men, spending time alone increases and improves their ability to deal with stress
54. seek constructive criticism – see it as an asset
55. hone your problem-solving skills and don’t be afraid to ask for help
56. recognise when negative emotions start creeping in, whether it’s stress, sadness or anger
57. laugh a lot and often
58. cry when you need to, it’s a sure stress-reliever
59. save money, no matter how little – get into the habit of saving, and teach your children how
60. plan for your retirement – start now
61. get into the habit of having an annual check-up, and get your eyes tested
62. use hats and long-sleeve shirts for sun protection rather than chemical barriers like sunscreen
63. immerse your body in water as often as you can: the ocean, a pool or the bath
64. get 7 hours sleep every night you can
65. sleep on the right side of your body – it takes pressure off your heart
66. get a massage regularly – not only does it feel wonderful, it promotes circulation and stimulates your immune system
67. educate yourself about how your body works



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