Hey there, friends! The past ten days or so have certainly been historic. I am going to be re-introducing my normal content on my social media and blog this week, starting with this blog post, and will speak a little more on my takeaways from the week on IG stories today. Be sure to stay tuned for that! Over the weekend, aside from going to the peaceful protest, I spent a lot of time off my phone and with John and it felt amazing. I wanted to kick this week off with a little health chat, as the start to a new week feels like a good time and I spent a lot of my weekend surrounded by said healthy habits, which makes me feel good about the lifestyle I live.
Like most things in life, I’m a firm believer that a healthy lifestyle means moderation. I’m never one to pass up a yummy meal or glass of wine, and I’m also constantly trying to up my water intake, move a bit more, and eat nutritious meals more often than not. I don’t think you have to be perfect to be healthy and I definitely believe that health comes in all shapes and sizes!
While I won’t be preaching any intense fitness tips or crazy meal plans, I did think it would be nice to share some of the healthy changes I’ve made over the years. I’ve come a long way from my college days [fast food and too much beer, anyone else??] and I’m feeling pretty dang good! Thanks in part to John’s love of fitness rubbing off of me and I really do feel in balance with my health right now. If you’re looking for a bit of motivation to incorporate some healthy changes into your life, I hope these adaptable changes give you that!
Prioritize good sleep habits
Living on my own for so long, mixed with over-working myself because I had the flexibility, meant I wasn’t always the best with sleep habits. I’d often stay up way too late watching Netflix while blogging and didn’t usually log the necessary hours at night. Since moving in with John and focusing on better sleep habits, I’ve been on a good track and it’s been VERY noticeable in several factors of my life. I’m more likely to be productive, to make better health choices, and to quite frankly, be in a better mood if I’m well-rested. Here are my tips:
• Head to your bedroom at least 30 minutes before bed. I like to read before bed and notice that those are always the nights that I fall asleep easiest. I usually stick to something non-fiction so that my brain isn’t buzzing learning new info right before bed.
• Turn off your cell phone at least 30 minutes before bed. Turn on Airplane Mode or Do Not Disturb so that you aren’t tempted by notifications.
• Diffuse lavender or use this sleep spray which is amazing!
• Jot down anything swirling in your brain if you don’t feel like you’re at peace. Just keep a little notepad next to your bed for when the to-do list strikes.
• Block out any light possible, as even the smallest light can interrupt sleep. If this isn’t possible, a sleep mask is a great solution.
• Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time daily to support your natural circadian rhythm.
• Don’t have a TV in your room. Thankfully we don’t have space for one, ha! But I do feel like it’s helped me wind down and relax a little bit better before bed.
Advocate for your mental health on social media
To me, a huge part of having a healthy lifestyle is keeping an eye on your mental health. That includes self-esteem, how you speak to yourself, anxiety, comparison, obsessing over what people think, being present, and so forth. And one huge area, at least for me, that can disrupt all of this is social media. This is kinda tricky since social media is a large part of my job, but as I mentioned earlier, I’m all about moderation.
In the case of social media, moderating what you allow yourself to consume makes a big difference. I regularly unfollow people who don’t make me feel good or have me questioning my morals or self-worth. I use my ‘mute’ button on people if something is temporary triggering me or if I’m in a funk and need to see less.
Whether or not you notice it, social media likely plays a role in your mental health so I’d suggest taking note of how certain accounts or platforms make you feel, then finding your happy medium with it all.
Take breaks … and don’t feel guilty about it!
This is almost two habits: resting when you need it … and not feeling guilty about it, and this is probably where I’ve come the furthest over the last couple of years. I admit I used to be a bit of a workaholic. I’d rarely give myself permission to rest or take a day off, and when I did, I felt bad about myself and guilty ‘doing nothing’. And, while there are certain parts of the year where I do put more hours in and have a little less balance, I do feel like I have a much healthier mindset when it comes to work / life balance. The way I used to operate is NOT a good way to live, friends!
If you’re like I was, I urge you to find ways to open up more breaks in your life. Maybe that means delegating more [this has REALLY helped me!], doing less and saying no more, prioritizing what really needs your time vs. things you’re doing just to stay busy, and so on. We’re not machines – our bodies and minds need breaks to rest, and that means more than just sleeping at night. We need conscious breaks, too. To binge watch TV, to take a mid-day nap, to head to the park when the sun is out, and so on! Glennon Doyle just came out with a new book called Untamed and I’ve heard that she has some awesome views on rest – and how to allow yourself to do it without guilt – so I think I’ll pick up that book to read this Summer. Let me know if any of y’all have read it and if it’s helped you shift into a healthier lifestyle in any way!
Make friends with people who are different from you
You might be thinking ‘why is this on a list about healthy changes’ but hear me out. If you’re constantly surrounding yourself with people similar to you, you’re hardly expanding your mind and soul to new things. You’re likely hearing the same thoughts, opinions, and kind of living in a bubble of sorts. At least in my opinion! When you open yourself to people who are different than you, it promotes a healthy perspective and personal growth, which is really important when you’re aiming to live a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle. It helps you understand other peoples’ struggles and what is important to them. It broadens your horizons and helps you appreciate more than you probably would if you stayed within that comfortable bubble! I think Bob Goff said it best …
"You’ll be able to spot people who are becoming love because they want to build kingdoms, not castles. They will fill their lives with people who don’t look like them or act like them or even believe the same things as them. They treat them with love and respect and are more eager to learn from them than presume they have something to teach." – Bob Goff
Move your body
Notice that I didn’t say ‘workout X times a week’ or even ‘exercise’? While exercise has a TON of benefits, both immediate and long-term, a good place to start is simply prioritizing movement. I have definitely gone through stages where working out is the last thing on my mind…and I never feel my best during those times. What I’ve found is to tell myself that even a long walk is better than nothing! Even a short one is too
The point is to move your body daily, whether it’s walking, playing with your kids, or doing a full workout. Once you shift to the mindset of movement, a more regular physical routine usually follows. P.S. If y’all are wondering what at-home workouts this community [and myself] recommend, see this post.
Add instead of restricting
A friend recently shared this mindset with me and I absolutely LOVE it! Instead of always focusing on things you SHOULDN’T be doing, eating, consuming, etc., shift that to things that you SHOULD be doing. Healthy things that nourish your body, mind, and soul and really amplify the type of lifestyle you’re living! So instead of thinking ‘I shouldn’t have ice cream tonight’, eat some extra fruit or healthy fats for dinner to see if that satisfies you. If not, have that small bowl of ice cream! Or instead of thinking, ‘I shouldn’t waste an hour watching ‘Love Island UK / The Bachelor’, spend an hour time-batching and getting what you need to get done finished, and then watch the show! [For more on time batching, see here.] I love that this is truly a thing of balance and giving your body/mind/soul more of the good stuff, among treating yourself and indulging!
I would absolutely love to hear any small healthy habits y’all rely on for feeling good – even the really small ones – to ensure you’re living a healthy lifestyle! If you’re willing to share, please do so in the comments.
Have a great start to your week! xo.