Fitness? Wellness? Your actual HEALTH? Do you ever find yourself reminiscing about the days when being busy meant you were just doing a great job of taking care of all of your needs? Getting to the gym and making 3 healthy meals a day was just part of your routine? Maybe it never was, but life did seem to be a lot simpler when we were younger. Now I find myself with an endless pile of laundry, pickups, drop offs, a business to run, clients to take care of, and a house to maintain a semblance of organization in. When it comes to my needs, they are often the last to get taken care of, if at all!
My last haircut was 18 months ago when my friend showed up with a bottle of wine and some new Shark Tank hair trimming tool and I can’t tell you how many doctor’s appointments I’ve had to cancel and reschedule. I mean, I'm not dying, so I guess it can wait!(?) Oh, now I’ve forgotten what I even made that appointment for! Sound familiar?
Once upon a time, taking care of ourselves was just called life and it didn’t feel selfish or overwhelming. It felt great and fulfilling. As my responsibilities grow and shift, I realized I needed to really figure out how to make sure my own needs were being met. At least occasionally! It’s important to remind ourselves that we matter. Like, not just who we are and what we do, but how we FEEL! I spent the last year and a half researching and implementing various health and wellness habits into my own life and helping clients work them into theirs. Everyone is different, that’s for sure! But here are 5 of my favorite tips that seem pretty universal to help you keep your health and happiness a priority:
Why: Meditation has been shown to help with stress and anxiety, healthy sleep, and mindfulness (no-brainer, right?). It doesn’t have to be chanting and gongs and incense. There are so many great apps and resources out there to help guide you into quieting your mind, letting go of anger, forgiving yourself, even dealing with chronic pain. The mind really is a powerful tool!
How: I decided to try to just give myself five minutes a day, and it’s been amazing. First thing in the morning, or right before bed, in the car before I head inside, or sometimes sitting in the living room amidst the chaos with my eyes closed and earbuds in. I have a set of 30 5 minute meditations and they are everything to me! Give yourself five minutes to close your eyes and check in with yourself. You deserve at least that much of your time!
Be mindful of your nutrition
Why: Eating healthy is important, but to be sustainable, you need to be able to enjoy the things you love. Choosing healthy, unprocessed foods when you can will not only keep you healthier but it will give you the confidence to know that you are in control. Soon the cravings for junk food will calm down and you’ll realize how great you feel and you’ll be motivated even more to choose healthier options. Treats will then be just that. Treats! And make sure you do treat yo’self to your favorites on occasion!
How: If you need something quick so you don’t get hangry, make sure you have healthy options to grab and go! If you want something more indulgent, make time to sit and enjoy it. If you need to break a habit, make a rule around it! Don’t tell yourself something is off limits. If ice cream at night is your weakness, find a small portion controlled bar you can sub in. Or allow yourself 2 nights of ice cream so you can look forward to those days!
Drink 60+ oz of water
Why: Drinking enough water throughout the day has been shown to boost your mood, your energy levels, decrease your cravings and feelings of hunger and even help with your sleep. It will often help with random “hunger” and mindless snacking, too!
How: It’s not as hard as you think! Get a cute water bottle and carry it with you everywhere! Try to fill it up whenever you can and chug-a-lug whenever you think about it.
Be active whenever possible
Why: Don’t question this one.
How: Instead of meeting a friend or coworker for coffee, take it on the road and get in a walk! Or, if the kids are playing in the yard, grab some weights or do a quick bodyweight workout. Walks, jogging while the kids bike or a dance party in the kitchen are awesome for everyone! Park farther away from where you’re going, take the stairs, set an alarm on your phone to get up and do a quick set of squats and push-ups or a jog around the block every hour or few. Remember: Even five minutes is better than no minutes!
Track and celebrate your successes!
Why: Research has shown that we are more likely to make healthy choices for both our body and mind when we feel like we are currently making healthy choices.
How: Find a place to write it down – on a whiteboard in the kitchen where your friends and family can see it, too, or in a cute journal you keep by your bed.
Now go drink some water and take five to meditate!