In a recent conversation with fellow health coaches, we were discussing the wide and varied definition of what it means to be healthy. It really does vary from person to person, and definitely from one stage of life to the next. Our own personal health and wellness needs are constantly evolving, and since there is no magic pill or singular path, it is a good idea to take a close look at how we want to feel on a day-to-day basis. I refer to this as “everyday healthy”…simple habits, rituals, steps that we take to actualize how it is that we want to feel.
I put together a list of my own “everyday healthy” habits, and although it probably seems ridiculously simple, I think that is why, for me at least, it is effective. I invite you to think about your own “everyday healthy” and how it looks for you. Please share in the comments! Here is mine:
1) Drink plenty of water. In college, I was a hardcore coffee drinker. Most days were started with a large cup before a morning class, several more cups of black coffee or coffeehouse lattes throughout the day, then a few more cups after work around midnight. When I think back on that now, it is no wonder that I was always getting sick! A doctor suggested I take a closer look at my nutrition and I thought, “I’m a vegetarian, I’m healthy!” (But I was a junk food vegetarian). Then he suggested that I drink more water. That was one suggestion I was open to taking, so I started having a glass of water between cups of coffee. I noticed that, the more water I was drinking, the less coffee I wanted, AND I was not getting the caffeine withdrawal headaches that I was used to on days that my coffee consumption was less. Fast forward to several years later when I had my first child and was breastfeeding, and no longer drinking coffee…I would fill up a gallon size container with water in the morning and easily finish it by early evening. By then I was carrying around water instead of coffee cups, and had learned the importance of staying properly hydrated. In the last few years I have started to add lemon to my water first thing in the morning (a habit acquired thanks to Hannah Marcotti), and this has a great detoxification effect. I think that drinking more water is a simple thing that everyone can do to make a significant improvement in their health as it will aid digestion, clear the skin, and help eliminate toxins.
2) Move! Movement/physical activity does not need to take place in a gym. I think oftentimes we get stuck in the mindset that if we are not working out at the gym, taking a studio class or doing laps around the track there is no other way to exercise. Movement practice can take place anywhere. Walking (or running, if you like to do that) is free. Hula hooping is another great core exercise that is also fun. Yoga does not need to take place in a class (although that has fabulous benefits!) as it is something to be lived. Running around the yard with the kids or the dog counts too! I believe that, for many people, strict conditions around exercise are restrictive and discouraging. Move in a way that feels good for YOU, and it does not need to be the same thing every day. In fact, it can be beneficial if we change it up depending on how we are feeling, the season, and for women, the point we are at in our cycle.
3)Eat breakfast. Preferably within one hour of waking, as this helps to stabilize blood sugar, which in turn helps to balance hormones and reduce stress. It does not need to be an elaborate breakfast, but of course if you are feeling that, go for it! It can be as simple as a handful of nuts and a smoothie. If you have time to make yourself a beautiful breakfast that you love and eat it slowly, savor and enjoy, as this is so great for your digestion and overall mood!
4) Try to make at least one person smile (and not by telling them to smile!) I like to try to look for the beauty in moments. Some days may be crappy and stressful, but there is always something I can find that reminds me that my joy is available to me. In turn, I try my best to spread that around. I admit that there are some days when I do not always get there, but it is an aspiration. Kind of like a secret mission, I like to think that I have the power to increase happiness in the world. In fact, I think we all do!
SO…now it’s your turn. Everyday healthy…go!