The idea of redesigning your lifestyle to be more "HEALTHY" can be incredibly overwhelming. Especially with countless articles and people telling you what is good for you and what isn't. There is a lot of misinformation out there and it can be hard to know where to start. If you want to begin cultivating a healthy lifestyle, or maybe you already have but you want to bring it to the next level or hit re-boot, here are a few basic tips I have learnt on where to (re)start.
1) CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF
Take a personal inventory of how you are feeling physically and mentally. Do you feel energized or tired? Are you hydrated? Are you giving yourself the nutrients you need to get through your day? Are you listening to what your body needs? Is your personal inner dialogue positive or negative? Are you accepting of yourself? Does your mind and body feel anxious or peaceful? Once you check in with yourself you can become aware of what aspects of your health you may want to start prioritizing. Pour yourself a hot calming tea and write it down. It can feel like a relief to put it on paper and take a look at where you're at.
2) EDUCATE YOURSELF
There are a lot of amazing resources with study based information out there, you just need to do your research and find them.
One of my favorite resources is: Mind Body Green where licensed health professionals share nutritional advice and tips on being mindful.
Learn more about how to give your body and mind what it needs, and find out what approaches speak most to YOU. Everyone is different. There is not one magical diet or exercise that will be your magic ticket, and anything too extreme can be unhealthy. It is about finding realistic healthy habits, and learning to balance them within your day to day. Pay attention to how your body reacts to certain exercise and foods. Sometimes working with a naturopath/health professional or doing a physical assessment with a trainer can give you the guidance and information you might be missing.
3) START SMALL
Personally, when I have fallen out of the routine of exercising I find it intimidating to jump back into a yoga or spin class, or go to the gym. I feel like I'm out of shape and it affects my level of confidence.
A nice way to ease back into moving your body is to start by:
-Incorporating a stretching ritual into your morning routine. First thing when you wake, turn on the kettle to make a hot water with lemon, and while the water boils slowly stretch out your muscles and focus on your breath.
-Incorporate a daily walk into your routine. A 15-20 minute walk around the block to get your blood pumping, breath in some fresh air and feel reconnected to your body.
-Exercise with a friend. When you do go to your first class or gym session after a long break, take a friend with you. Safety in numbers :) The group setting won't feel as intimidating if you have one of your friends with you. Plus you're more likely to commit to it if you make the plan with your friend.
4) MAKE MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS
Reach out to friends, family, or a professional for help for support. Surround yourself with like minded people who have similar core values as well as strive to be have a healthy lifestyle and keep them close. Be honest with them about your challenges or goals. Accepting yourself enough to be honest with others about what you are going through or working on is a bold step towards making it happen.
5) CREATE A REALISTIC ROUTINE AND STICK TO IT
Do your best to schedule your health rituals into your week. Write out your goals and rituals in a planner and make a routine that you can try to do everyday. Set goals with the intention of emotional well being like "I want to walk everyday to feel re-energized and centered" rather than setting physical result based goals. Don't be hard on yourself if you don't get to cross off everything on the list, instead celebrate every tiny victory and tell yourself tomorrow is a new day to try again. That is one of the most beautiful things about life - it is never too late to start, or try again. Make your health your top priority. Even if you have a demanding job, or you are a parent with children that dependent on you your health needs to be top priority. You can't do either of those jobs if you are not taking care of your own physical and emotional well-being first.