Do you feel well? Are you experiencing wellness? What does ¨wellness¨ mean anyway?
I found the following description and thought it kind of covers it:
¨Wellness is the act of practicing healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes, so that instead of just surviving, you’re thriving.¨
I guess we would all like to thrive, don´t we, but practicing healthy habits on a daily basis… that sounds like a broad and somewhat vague goal where you will most likely fail. This is not because you don’t have what it takes to achieve this lifestyle; but having such a big goal can be very intimidating.
The journey to achieving wellness is just that, a journey. No single task will be able to accomplish this goal. You need to accomplish small, achievable milestones every day.
Why should you aim for wellness?
Healthier, happier people tend to live longer. Living well helps you have higher energy levels, lifts your mood and can improve depression and anxiety. Wellness can bring a sense of peace and acceptance over the many stressors that can rear up in life.
If wellness is so great, why is it so hard to achieve?
There are many unhealthy choices easily available in our society: prepared foods, no exercise, and lots of screens. All of these conveniences make healthy choices feel more like “work”. Keep in mind that changing any behaviour may take up to 6 weeks to really become a regular habit, so it´s no wonder it is frequently hard to get into new routine. The good news is that the more we try to change, the more likely we will eventually succeed. The payoff is an overall improved sense of well-being.
And we would like to help you getting on track by sharing some of these milestones toward a healthier and happier life. Remember, small, achievable steps every day, will eventually lead to big results!
You could start incorporating one per day or one per week. You do not have to do all of them all the time, but I am convinced that if you do practice a few of them on a daily basis you will notice a huge difference. You will start to feel fitter, healthier and happier… you will thrive!
Babystep 1: Drink lemon juice with warm water every morning
It is always important to support our bodies by drinking enough water, especially in the morning. Warm lemon water won’t be a miracle cure but it is a much better alternative to caffeinated drinks. Drinking warm water, first thing in the morning helps to flush the digestive system and rehydrate the body. Lemons contain vitamin C and potassium. Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning gives the body a chance to absorb these vitamins effectively and can provide a little immune boost. Vitamin C is also good for the adrenals and can potentially help reduce the effects of stress. Think about it, while you sleep, you will have about 7-8 hours that you have not had any water or liquid; so by giving the body adequate water when you first wake up is a great way to get your body and your mind going.
Babystep 2: Eat regularly
Skipping meals can leave you feeling so famished that you end up overeating later in the day. Eat at least 3 times per day, preferably with two healthy snacks – in between breakfast and lunch and in between lunch and dinner. Avoid big meals.
Babystep 3: Get outside
Try to get some fresh air three times a day for at least five minutes at a time. Use part of your lunch time to go for a quick walk. You’ll feel refreshed, more productive and better equipped to make healthier choices.
Babystep 4: Move a bit more
Take the stairs or choose a more distant parking place, take your bike instead of the car – anything to sneak in a bit of extra exercise each day. In the morning you could do some crunches and push ups or some sun salutations, whatever you prefer. 5 minutes should already be enough!
Babystep 5: Get some extra zzzzzzz’s
If you’re not getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night, try going to bed just 10 minutes earlier each night for a week and see how you feel. Try to squeeze in at least one night a week where you can get some extra sleep, if possible up to 9-10 hours.
Babystep 6: Decompress daily
Spend just a few minutes per day meditating, practising mindfulness, yoga, praying or taking deep, cleansing breaths.
Babystep 7: Plan in some me-time
Take your agenda and block one hour every week just for yourself. Spending time alone can be one of the best things you can do for yourself, as it’s nearly impossible to get rid of the background chatter that’s constantly going on in our lives without choosing to take some alone time. What’s more, due to our instant connectivity to the outside world with our phones, we often feel like we can’t “switch off,” as we should always be doing something productive. Being alone sparks creativity, it builds independence, and it can help you decrease your stress levels. Some things to try; write, sketch, read, take a long bath, listen to music or simply sit quietly and do absolutely nothing. Oh, and don´t forget to switch off your phone
Babystep 8: Treat yourself
Buy a lush and delicious smelling body cream and massage your body after showering. You can also get a pedicure or a facial every now and then. It doesn’t need to be costly; a glass of wine, your favourite coffee or tea, a lovely scented candle or beautiful flowers will make a huge impact.
Babystep 9: Be nice to others
Did you know that being kind to others reduces stress almost immediately? This is because it allows you to pay less attention to yourself and your problems. The moment you focus on doing good to others, it enables you to get a break from your own problems. Smile and make someone’s day a little sweeter. Just listen. Offer a hug or embrace. Invite someone new into your friend tribe. Send out a kind email or card. Give someone a genuine compliment. Help clean up, without being asked. Stand up in the bus for that pregnant lady or help that old lady cross the street. It´s really very simple and you will not only make the other person feel better, you will instantly feel better too!
Babystep 10: Be grateful
Studies show that practicing and experiencing gratitude boosts feelings of satisfaction, strengthens your relationships and drives you to help others. Despite these benefits, we aren’t always able to express gratitude, sometimes because we’re too busy, other times because negative feelings overshadow the good in our lives. An easy exercise before going to sleep is to think of three nice things you have experienced that day. They can be very simple things, feeling the sun on your face, a smile from the bus driver, the smell of fresh flowers or freshly baked bread…
Live healthy, live happy, live well!!
Written by your SISter in Wellness Femke