So last time I revisited some of those foundational practices that allow us to live and perform at peak – exercise, nutritious clean food, mood and hydration. Incorporating any of these into your daily routine will make a significant difference in how you feel, look and function. Give attention to each of them and you are well on your way to living a healthful lifestyle that will pay you dividends now and in the future.
The fact is that building strong personal health habits is the most important thing you can do to improve energy, stave off sickness, and increase overall wellbeing. Each of us is responsible for taking care of ourselves and living a lifestyle that supports us in that. As we make healthier choices for ourselves, we build behaviors and skills that build on and support each other. It’s all connected!
You may think to yourself, “But I don’t have time to exercise, shop, cook healthy meals, sleep 8 hours, etc. Taking 30 minutes to exercise out of your day might seem like a chore, or just another item to add to your “to-do” list. I’m not denying that we all have busy lives with multiple demands on our time – I have them, too! What I know, though, is that incorporating healthy habits, making the time to get outdoors for exercise and fresh air, and getting a good night’s rest, helps make the rest of my day better, helps me to live better. And, in the end, I’m more efficient, productive and able to meet any challenges that come my way.
Here are the rest of my essentials:
Sleep – We can’t be at our best if we are not getting adequate sleep. Period. Our bodies and brains suffer when we are sleep deprived. Cognitive ability is decreased, and our emotional states are adversely affected. (Ever been cranky because of lack of sleep?) There is all sorts of new research these days about what sleep deprivation can cause – overeating and weight issues, weakened immune response, accidents, even heart disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer. Not to mention that dragging yourself through the day is not a whole lot of fun. 7-9 hours a night is the usual recommendation. Decide what you need to feel your best and make it a priority.
Stress Management and Self Care – Did you know that over 60% of all doctor visits in the United States are stress related? Burnout and depression are epidemic in this country and elsewhere, and the number 1 cause of work disability in the world. Self-care is NOT self-indulgent. Time out is essential for wellbeing and can take many forms – there’s a reason why meditation and mindfulness have become so popular in recent years. Classes are everywhere. Find a practice that works for you and build it into your life regularly. Other proven stress relievers are journaling, and activities such as gardening or photography. Find something that you love that re-charges your batteries.
Community – Did you know that having a strong social support network has important health benefits? Supportive relationships – whether family, friends, colleagues, or members of the community – have been shown to contribute to psychological and physical health, as well as longevity, and can be a tremendous resource in times of stress. And it works both ways – giving and receiving support are of equal benefit. Make it your mission to develop and build a community around you.
Meaning – Meaning and purpose are essential to inspiring wellbeing. Going about your life with a sense of meaning, of knowing that who you are and what you do matters, provides proven health benefits and can impact longevity. A study led by Patrick McKnight, associate professor of psychology at George Mason University, found that having a sense of purpose can promote healthier living in general. It doesn’t have to be about doing “big” things. If it’s something meaningful and motivating to you, that’s all that matters. What do you love, what do you care about deeply, what gets you out of bed in the morning? There you go.
What about you? Is there something you can do to develop more community around you? Can you begin to make sleep a priority and notice the difference in how you feel and perform? What do you want more of in your life, what lights you up? What recharges you? If you feel like it, please leave a comment. I’ll be sure to respond.
And – If you’re ready to prioritize a healthier lifestyle, I’m now offering my Evergreen Wellness Workshop to private clients, with the option of 2, 3 or 6 private 30 minute coaching sessions. In 6 weeks, you not only get great info on sleep, food, mood and exercise backed by the latest research – you’ll get activities and action steps you can start right away to see results in how you feel and look. This program will not only help you get on track, it will teach you how to stay on track and be successful. Plus, it’s filled with fun short videos, great info, and lots of cool health-boosting activities! Email me at Suzanne@evergreenlifeandwellness.com and we’ll set up a time to talk about whether this program is right for you!