Now that the "new year resolution" craze is behind us, let's settle in on reality. Each day is a blank page to write a new story about You. Everyone has a past and a future. We truly are in charge of the path, but we don't always have a solid foundation to support us. So I've come up with my top 5 habits for that foundation based on client feedback and my own personal journey.
SLEEP - We live in a whirlwind of technology and over stimulation. I have been sucked in by it all since the words "you've got mail" echoed through my AOL account years ago. I once was the night owl who stayed on the computer until 1AM. I found that I could accomplish more from 10PM-1AM than I could 9-5. Then came the ipads, iphones, Netflix, and Alexa.
Where are you on this scale of tech craze? My body clock went into chaos as my cortisol levels stayed elevated, thus came moodiness, fluctuating weight, anxiety, tiredness mid day, and just having brain-fog. It took alot of effort, but I now have a set routine and will not compromise on my Happy Eight.
Setting your bedroom is key. No television and no tech. The outside world is not allowed. Read a book, sip some tea and If you wish to meditate, do so 30 minutes before lights out. This is a ritual to thank yourself for journey you took that day.
WALK- yes, you read that correctly. Walking stimulates the senses, provides a pause, clears the brain, wakes up the body gently. The past two years with Covid and losing my mom, I have found a sense of grounding by walking. This is my movement practice, not my exercise. It allows me to breathe and think. The body/mind need to be nurtured more than I ever thought - especially during times of stress and chaos. This type of walking can be silent, can be with a podcast or audible book, can be purposeful to rid stress or to improve energy in the mid-day and the duration does not matter. It's whatever YOU need to feel that sense of grounding.
HYDRATE - This is an all star player in the top five. Our bodies require water to function properly. Sodas, sports drinks, coffee, tea, etc. do not count as hydration. Water is vital to the muscles, organs, brain and spinal cord. It also regulates the body temperature, maintains cellular function and removes waste from the body. So how do you get enough? Drink 8-12 ounces first thing in the morning (before your coffee, get a water bottle that can be refilled and carry it with you, drink a glass before meals and remember to hydrate during exercise. If you don't like the taste, add fresh fruit or a splash of juice. Lastly, be a water snob - I splurge on good bottled water (not good for environment, I know). With the adult body being 60% water, getting a minimum of 48 ounces a day should be a gold standard.
NOURISH- I know you aren't surprised by this one at all. But did you notice, I did not use the word DIET. I dislike that word on so many levels because It clearly defines deprivation and defeat. Nourishment is about healthy food fueling our bodies. Fruits, veggies, fish, meat, rice, potatoes, beans, dairy and fats (not the blooming onion kind). Finding the right combination of foods to fuel your body can be a puzzle. I am still amazed at how many people do not want to adjust their nourishment habits until there is a health scare. This should be another non-negotiable that follows an 80/20 rule. Through meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. there are a million ways to eat smart. What's the 20%? That is dining out, a special dessert, a slice of pizza or some of grandma's fried chicken. It's your little bit of wiggle room. Life is short after all.
So if you spend 3-5 days writing down your foods (including portions), this should give you a snapshot of when you eat, how much you eat and what you eat. Nourishment is a skill set that takes practice when you are new to it. So dig in, identify your strengths and weaknesses and start making a change to fuel up with goodness.
JOURNAL - Keeping a journal is not a new thing, remember keeping a diary? Well, at least I know I did as a teenager. I adopted this habit during a time when I was going through a rough patch in my life. My therapist, at the time, suggested it so that I could release my confusion, anger, resentment, etc. But I also found it was a tool that allowed me to speak about what was on my brain without judgement. No matter the thought.
Now journaling has evolved over the years as a means to write about gratitude, dreams, positive outlook, etc. Lets be honest - life is not all rainbows so the power of positivity does not exist in our brains regularly. It takes work to clear the smog and find the happy. But what I value about my journaling time is that it's for me. I can reflect on any emotion, event, thought, person or dream. This is a habit that provides personal growth for the mind. It is a release to write it all down, close the book and move on. Journals can also serve as a time capsule to see where you've been and where you are going.
I encourage you to start your journaling practice. It's not a female only thing either (ie. Matthew McConnaughey and Grrenlights). Thoughts can be 5-10 words or paragraphs, remember it is your space. Release, reflect, let go....no boundaries, no judgements.
So there you have my five top habits - sleep, walk, hydrate, nourish, journal. Start with one habit and add on as you go - this is a change not a competition. Are you ready?
If you would like some more information or guidance on my top five habits, please comment below or DM me at email@example.com.