This post was written by Claire Grieve — an international yoga specialist, stretch therapist, health coach, and wellness writer. Check out her website for more information.
Can you have it all? The great career, relationship, health, and fulfillment? Perhaps even a bit of free time? I believe it’s possible with a few mental shifts and a bit of re-prioritizing.
It seems as if one bad habit bleeds into another. If you start drinking and going out more, your diet slips, your sleep quality changes and exercise becomes a thing of the past. Yes, it is a slippery slope, but, the reverse is true, as well — one good habit leads to another good one.
I am a believer that starting small with one or two healthy habits, with the intention of snowballing into more, can truly shift your lifestyle for the better. Don’t feel pressured to incorporate all of these suggestions right away. I find that eliminating a habit that doesn’t serve you is easily accomplished when replaced with one that does, so I've compiled seven tips on where to start.
1. Get serious about your sleep.
Your day does not start well if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Get serious about your sleep. For me, it is investing in comfortable bedding that calls my name at the end of a long day. Cultivating a nightly routine gives me something to look forward to as my unwind time. A cup of peppermint or chamomile tea soothes my entire system while I journal a few points of gratitude from my day. Tea can also serve as a delicious complement to whatever I’m reading before bed.
Shutting off technology, e-mail, and social media an hour before I go to sleep is a self-discipline and self-care habit that has worked wonders on my stress relief and efficiency of my night rest. Knowing that sleep comes before anything, even before exercise if I am behind, builds a foundation for a healthier lifestyle.
2. A convenient and healthy diet.
Fast food and unhealthy meal choices are common simply because of convenience. I believe that healthy choices can be just as quick and convenient with a bit of thought and a few simple tools.
Investing in a solid blender ensures a better opportunity for me to incorporate more fruits, veggies, and other superfoods daily. I am a huge fan of a slow cooker. It’s easy to throw a bunch of healthy ingredients in the crock pot before work and it’s great to come home to a meal which feels as though a chef cooked my dinner while I was away. Having these handy tools in your kitchen makes life easier. Combined with a bit of mindful shopping and meal planning throughout the week, your diet can be enhanced.
3. Replacing your to-do list with a priority list.
Big lists can feel daunting. However, a bit of structure can keep you grounded. It’s also rewarding to cross things off of it. I love the idea of prioritzing my to-do list by ranking one or two items that must get done today and what can wait until tomorrow. The pressure to “DO” so much decreases and leaves me less stressed and better equipped to efficiently prioritize. I recommend downloading a go-to list app on your phone. This convenience allows you to add items on the go and can sync with all of your devices.
4. Find your fitness.
Pick whatever exercise gets you moving and commit to it. Think of it as routine as brushing your teeth, and build your day around it. It’s an investment in you and your well-being, which as a byproduct is an investment in your career and those around you. Classes and communities are fun because they help you build a network of like-minded individuals for you to connect with. You might try yoga, hiking, or a dance class.
Your “me-time” is just as important as your “we-time”. Don’t let the demands of life impact your interpersonal relationships. Be sure to schedule FaceTime dates, coffee dates, or whatever works for you to keep in touch with your friends and family. As humans, we feed off connection and this is an important factor to leading a healthy lifestyle.
Whatever that looks like for you. Leave the lists, routines, and responsibilities at home for a few hours so you can get out and play. Whether that means brunch, going to a winery, or planning a weekend getaway, figure out what works for you and make a point of incorporating more of it. Try it; you owe it to yourself!
Be loose about all of these goals. When you are overwhelmed, always remember to zoom out and think, "will this matter a year from now? A month from now?" Simplifying things makes them easier to navigate. I read once that President Obama always reminds his daughters, “The only thing that’s the end of the world, is the end of the world.” I like to remind myself of this when things seem worse than they actually are.
All of these suggestions fall under self-care, which looks different for everyone. Self-care starts within and if you prioritize it, your entire life will start to look and feel healthier.