Healthy Habits : Mind & Body
I hope you are all well. In fact, that is what this post is all about! I figure, what better way to kick off the new year than by FINALLY taking the time to put your self first and improve your personal wellness?! For me, it was an uphill battle to stop making excuses and just DO what I needed to do to feel happy and healthy again, and I am still working on it, but I am almost at a point now where I can easily and happily work the following three things into my everyday routine.
Whatever form of exercise you prefer, taking even 30 minutes out of your day to focus on what your body needs will make an incredible difference in your day-to-day activities. While I may wake up ridiculously early to go to the gym with my boyfriend a few mornings a week, I find I still get stiff and uncomfortable quite often (and I am only 22 years old so this was a bit of a red flag for me). Once I noticed this feeling occurring most days on a regular basis, I decided I needed to add something to my routine to help remedy this feeling. I started adding 30 mins of deep stretching in the evenings before I go to bed and HOLY GUACAMOLE does it ever help! Sometimes I do stretches from back in my dancing days, and other nights I do a mini yoga-flow, but that is because what my body need was a little extra TLC in my joints and muscles. For you, this could be completely different: perhaps you feel lethargic throughout the day and need to add a more upbeat form of exercise to your mornings? Either way, taking this short amount of time to listen to what your body is telling you can make the world of a difference in getting your through your day.
OKAY… so if you are anything like me then you may be a bit skeptical about the whole “meditation” thing, but let me tell you…this has been the single most helpful thing for my overall wellbeing since a naturopath first suggested it to me. Now when I say “meditation” I don’t mean that I sit on a tiny pillow for hours in a yoga studio (although, if that brings you happiness then GO FOR IT…who am I to judge if that makes your heart happy). I simply like to take some time (usually 15-20 minutes) to close my eyes, listen to the sound of rain through my noise cancelling headphones, and breathe. Not regular, shallow breaths that keep us alive on a daily basis, but rather deep and meaningful breaths, each focused on bringing oxygen to a specific part of my body. As someone who is a frequent ball of stress and anxiety, doing this allows me to clear my mind, stop thinking about everything else in the world, and just be calm.
I have been training myself to do this for a little over 5 months now, and I STILL find my mind wanders and I get distracted, however, with practice, it gets much easier to tune out the world. There are many apps out there that are AWESOME for helping you to learn how to stay focused on your breath and not get lost in thought, but I have only tried “Calm” which can be downloaded for free from the Apple Store and I LOVE IT. You can choose whatever background sound is most soothing for you (rain, waves, birds, piano, etc.) and it contains hundreds of guided meditation routines to help you train your mind to relax - and by extension releasing tension and stress in your body as well. NOTE: this post is not sponsored, I just truly enjoy using this app. There is so much more that I could get into on the topic of deep breathing, so if you would like to chat more about this, then let me know in the comments down below and I can make a post dedicated to deep breathing!
I know… it is not news that sleep is important, but what a lot of people tend to forget/not realize, is that when you sleep, both your mind and body are healing and repairing themselves from the traumas of the day. Your muscles release tension, your mind becomes less foggy, and your immune system is strengthened. The less sleep you get, the easier it is for you to feel sick, irritable, and all around un-happy. While I know it is not always realistic for people to be able to fit a solid 10 hour sleep into the mix, I always try to prioritize sleeping in the same way that I would prioritize eating breakfast, or going to work. I definitely do not get 10 hours (unless I am sick), but I can usually manage to get a solid 8-hours.
I hope you enjoyed these 3 healthy habits for your mind and body and comment down below what some of your favourite healthy habits are!