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I’ve been reflecting on my health, just as every human being does at the beginning of the year, I suppose. And despite a cancer diagnosis last year, I feel like I’m doing all right.
I focus on eating more whole foods than processed foods; I try to break a sweat each day; I commit to getting the sleep I need to not be a crazy person. I’m generally a happy spirit who makes a point of spreading joy when I can.
And yet, I’m still not where I want to be.
I suspect this is simply the human condition—to always be a little dissatisfied. Just consider your car heater. Is it ever just right? Or are we always turning that baby up and down and opening windows and turning on seat heaters? We are programmed to keep tweaking ourselves, hopefully with the end result being that your life has improved.
But I’m the type of person who needs a little help staying on the path. So I’ve been stacking the deck in my favor every chance I get. Here’s how.
I have some really great friends who like to have health dates together. In our 20s we were all about hitting the bar scene and smoking cigarettes and staying out late. Now, we meet up at yoga studios on Saturday mornings, catch up while walking the neighborhood, and gift each other with gluten-free brownies and bizarre-sounding teas.
And you know what? Not only does spending time with these positive people feel great, but doing it while doing something good for the body feels even better. Sure beats a hangover.
Yep, I did. I’m not gonna lie, I was a little embarrassed about it, though I can’t put my finger on why. It ended up being a good time, even though I was plagued with a wandering mind the entire time. Here’s how it goes: you relax, you let your mind go through a little space odyssey, you meditate on doing positive things for yourself, you focus on what you want, and you commit to doing it.
And did I mention it’s relaxing? I mean, who doesn’t want that?
Literally. From our household cleaning supplies to our shower gels to our toothpaste, even my makeup. We ditched the chemicals and over a period of time just started phasing in natural ingredients I recognized from my grandma’s home.
And I think there’s something about focusing on health in your daily boring routine that ingrains more thoughtful choices into all other aspects of your life. It adds another sphere in which you are thinking about doing something good for yourself and others. Which, I admit, was not what I typically thought about while doing laundry and dishes prior to this adjustment!
I can be lazy if given the opportunity to do so, so I have to make it as easy as possible to fall into a workout. I sleep in my workout clothes and even set up an area in my bedroom just for exercising. Even so, there are days I hit the snooze button. And on those days, I know I have a ready bag packed with workout gears in the car, and a cheap gym membership calling my name at lunch break. I sign up for classes, with people who are counting on me to be there, and my lovely husband makes sure I can get there.
Meaning, he covers the kids for me, and I do it for him. It’s a partnership that benefits us both.
Through all these explorations, regardless the point of entry, I’ve noticed some common themes. Such as the importance of fully relaxing, and enjoying the feeling of a good full breath of air. And if your world is where your head is at, then be super choosy what you expose your head to. And through it all, figure it out: what do you want? Really, what is it you want in this world?
To feel awesome? To enjoy a healthy life? To have better relationships? To be a certain dress size? And is what you are doing—right now, right at this moment—getting you closer or further away from what you truly desire for yourself?
Just make sure you show up. Show up for yoga class, don’t miss your girlfriend date, be present to enjoy your child’s bedtime story, fully relax into your evening routine. Show up. Every piece of you. Go after what you want. Go.
Need healthy living inspiration? Check out these 10 quotes to help you keep your healthy living resolutions.
Erin Gadd is the director of public relations for the Parma City School District and writes the “Mommy Wars” column for the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram. You can connect with her on her blog at erinlgadd.wordpress.com.