Healthy Habits to Help Make 2018 Your Healthiest Year Yet!
Since this is the last week of February, and therefore the last week of our Newsletter Series Healthy Habits to Help Make 2018 Your Healthiest Year Yet, I wanted to delve deeper into the theme of being nice to your body and giving yourself a break – in all areas of your life! In essence, giving yourself the chance to have a more relaxed life.
Being a Mom is tough – or a Dad, co-worker, sister, brother, daughter, son – or whatever other “person” you consider yourself to be! Frankly, living in this world is hard, and it just continues to get more high-paced and high-stressed as the years continue to pass by. Thanks 2018! Not only does society put tons of pressures on us, what we do to ourselves is 10x worse – or is that just me?!
So with all that said, let’s give our bodies and minds a break and start being nice to ourselves – on the inside and out!
How? By following these 7 Steps to a More Relaxed Life you will be well on your way!
1) PRIORITIZE AND REDUCE
If you’re anything like me, your to-do list is probably a mile long on any given day, and instead of getting shorter, new things constantly appear so the list only seems to grow longer. How is that even possible?!
One of the biggest problems with our ever-demanding lives and schedules is that they are filled with too much stuff to do and think about. Not just that, but a lot of the stuff isn’t even necessary and just makes us more stressed out thinking about it. Yes, play dates with your kids’ friends are fun (for example), but if you have a conference call and then a Dentist appointment, and still need to run to the grocery store, do you really need to go today?! You know, you can always reschedule! Or how about that lunch meeting? Pushing it back a day or two probably isn’t going to cause any real harm…
Some things we do are just out of habit, and others are because we think friends, family or people in general will judge us if we don’t do them. But do they really?
Try using the 80/20 rule to figure out what’s really important in your day-to-day life. This means that 20% of what you do accounts for 80% of the value. With this in mind, cut down on your to-do’s and really focus on that 20%. If possible, remove the other 80% that doesn’t, or at least don’t let it stress you out and ruin your day if you don’t get it done.
2) REORGANIZE AND DECLUTTER
Ok, I admit – clutter is my demise. And it’s not because I don’t like organizing. I thrive on it! You should see my closet or my pantry after I’ve spent time organizing everything by color, size, food group, etc. It’s amazing! It’s just finding the time to actually do the organizing that I have the problem with. Maybe after I work on #1…
A cluttered environment can make your mind run rampant, making it hard to focus. Is that a bill I forgot to pay? Wait, is that my son’s homework from last week? Yum, is that a coupon for that new restaurant down the street?! Maybe we should go there for dinner? Should I make reservations...? Sound familiar?
Less clutter in your environment – whether that be at work or home – creates less clutter in your mind and again, allows you to truly focus on what is important. It also allows you to relax!
3) FIND REASONS TO LAUGH
Laughter truly is the best medicine and is one of the best ways to unwind and relax. Whether it be from a book, movie, website or just playing around with your kids, laughter can help you appreciate the now and forget the other worries and stresses you have – even if for a moment.
Another great tip – laugh at yourself. We all do stupid things sometimes or get so overwhelmed that our emotions just become too much. So why not laugh about it? Laugh at yourself, at the situation, or even at the fact that you are getting hung up on something that’s probably not that significant (when you look at the overall picture of life). Try it! It definitely won’t make you feel worse ;).
4) JUST TALK ABOUT IT
It’s amazing how much better we’d all feel if we would just talk about what’s bothering us. Seriously! Having been on the other side of things (I used to keep everything bottled up when I was younger), knowing that I can voice my feelings and get it off my chest automatically makes my stresses and worries seem less significant.
Whether it be a friend, a professional counselor, or even your dog, sometimes just voicing your frustrations really can do wonders! This act of saying your problems out loud can even help you find a solution on your own, simply by stating your issue(s) outside your own head.
Listening to others vent can also help you with your own problems, helping you to step out of your mind for a bit. Taking a different look towards someone else’s life and issues will give you a new perspective on your own. And then, they can help return the favor to you. Trust me, bottling things up is never the answer!
It’s amazing what a handful of deep breaths can do to your overall wellbeing. If you’re stressed, feeling overwhelmed, or are about to freak out at your kids, sit down for a moment and take a deep breath, breathing deeply in through your nose for 5 seconds, and then letting all the air out your mouth for 5 seconds. Do this whole sequence 5 to 10 times, and you can’t help but feel a sense of calmness start to overtake you as both your body and mind begin to relax and feel clarity. I may or may not have had to do this while trying to finish typing this up ;).
6) REDEFINE YOUR PROBLEMS
Life has a lot to do with how you perceive it, so it only makes sense that if you redefine your problems, you’ll essentially be redefining your life. Do you feel like you are always on the downside of your luck? Do you feel like no one appreciates you, or that you are always being judged by those who matter most?
Take a couple minutes to step back from the situation and see it from another’s point of view. Are your problems really as big as you think they are, or are you blowing them out of proportion in your mind? In the same way that fears and anger can be built up in our minds in an unrealistic manner, so too can stressors and unnecessary self-pressures.
This is where it’s good to talk about them with others, so you can get a fresh perspective on the whole thing. Then hopefully you’ll realize that today’s stresses and gripes won’t mean anything to you in a week or two, allowing you to slowly let go of them entirely. Now, try spending the majority of your time coming up with solutions to your problems rather than dwelling on them – which obviously will magnify them – and you’ll quickly realize how much time you were worried about things that could easily be fixed.
Ok, you know I couldn’t leave this one off the list – since it’s my answer to almost everything. Hahaha. But in all seriousness, exercise really can do wonders when it comes to releasing tension and putting your mind at ease. And it doesn’t have to be anything crazy either. Try going for a walk, riding a bike or taking a Yoga or Pilates class. If you feel like you really need to burn off some steam, take a Cycling class, go do CrossFit, or even go on an extended run.
Whatever your thing is, get out and do it! Not only does exercise help get the blood flowing, your endorphins will start pumping and your mind will be able to focus on you for a moment – and not your problems! Heck, you may even find the solution to your problems or stressors while not even trying! I can’t tell you how many times something has just “popped” into my head while exercising and not even thinking about it! Let your brain relax and see what possibilities it has in store for you!
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Having a problem finding a solution to your problems? Maybe you haven´t come up with enough solutions yet. Try surrendering to your feelings and accept them for what they are. Then allow your self to use the tips above to deal with them and move on.
Life is full of problems, but it’s also filled with answers – sometimes you just have to look harder for them. Or you may need to redefine them as a learning moment, rather than “an issue”. Or possibly realize that they weren’t important enough to worry about in the first place! Appreciate these things and look at how great your life is to give you these chances, these moments, these memories. Now breathe and relax...
I hope this list helps you realize that you can relax more – and that you deserve it! Start with just one of these tips, or choose them all, and you will start to feel happier, healthier and more fabulous in no time! Because it’s those small steps that make healthy living a lifestyle, so why not take one (or 7!) today?!
Thanks again for following along with the 7 weeks of our current Newsletter series: Healthy Habits to Help Make 2018 Your Healthiest Year Yet! And if you missed any of our Tips, CONTACT US for the Newsletter or check out the articles on our BLOG.