Lately, I’ve been reading more and more “self-help” books which are interesting because I never thought of myself as a “self-help” person. I’m putting together a list of some of my favorite books that have helped me build better habits, build routines, and believe in myself. I find myself navigating to self-improvement initiatives to multitask “downtime”. So when I’m on a walk with Theo, I’ll listen to my audiobook or when I’m driving I’ll listen to a motivational podcast. There are small things that you can do to put your mind at ease and feel in control of your life. Mental health is so important and I strongly believe that you can’t pour from an empty cup. In order to serve others, you have to make sure you are in a good place. I’m constantly working towards being the best “me” that I can be. I’ve found that these 10 things every day for a happier & healthier life.
It doesn’t have to be formalized prayer and I don’t believe that you need to go to a particular place to indulge. But take a few minutes to be thankful for your life, your body, your mind, and your surroundings for what they offer you. I’ve found that my 6-minute journal which I featured in my Amazon round-up has been instrumental for me.
Make Your Bed
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: making your bed is a surefire way to start your day off right. There is quite literally no excuse for not doing it. Think of making your bed as the first mindful act of the day. If you can tackle this, you’re starting your day off strong. Making your bed takes anywhere from 1-3 minutes depending on your number of throw pillows. So really, what’s the excuse not to? Countless studies have shown that a made bed leads to lower levels of stress and more mindfulness throughout the day. Double-win!
Oddly enough, cooking had become an outlet for me to be away from my phone, computer, and tv for at least an hour a night. I’m no master chef, but something about staring at a screen all day at work, then staring at it to watch a tv show with my husband, and then to blog just doesn’t work for me. Color in a coloring book, cook a meal or create something with your hands just to give your eyes a break.
I get it. We are all busy. I actively try to avoid getting upset or disappointed when I don’t hear from a family member or friend in a while. Instead of keeping track of who called who or who texted last — I just send a message to anyone when I think of them. No hard feelings, we are all busy. Make an effort to just send a quick note and ask someone you love how they are doing.
Take Time To Be Outdoors
Having Theo has definitely helped with this one. I try to take at least two 10 minute walks a day. Not only does it get my steps up, but there is seriously nothing like fresh air. Taking a stroll around your neighborhood or the block is a great way to break up your day, get fresh air, and force yourself to move. So much of our work requires us to be on our computer and our leisure is generally in front of a screen too. Step away from the screen, even if it’s just for a few short minutes. It’s a great time to catch up on audiobooks, podcasts, or call your friends and family to check in.
Related: The Trick To Getting Free Audiobooks
Write It Down
I’m a big fan of lists (remember this post), but it doesn’t have to be a formalized process if you aren’t a “list person”. The simple act of writing down things you need to remember takes the pressure off of your memory and allows you to refer back to a hard copy when necessary. I update my list before bed, in the morning when I wake up, and uhh… and multiple times throughout the day. If you aren’t a list enthusiast yet, try just before bed and see how that goes. (Note: I recommend the Microsoft To-Do app (formally Wunderlist) – it’s amazing)
Learn Something New
I’m a big fan of podcasts, and one, in particular, is called The Daily by the New York Times. It’s a 20-ish minute podcast that is released Monday-Friday and discusses current events. I’ve been hooked since the first episode that I listened to and as someone who is pretty knowledgeable about the world… I realized that I know nothing. I listen to The Daily on my commute to work and it’s made me feel more knowledgeable and leads to great conversations. Sahir listens too, so dinnertime discussions are so interesting!
Related: The Best Podcasts To Listen To After Serial
Drink More Water
I’ve talked about this one before too (see my favorite app to help with water intake in #5 here!) and it’s one I actively struggle with. Drinking your body weight (in oz) during the day is essential for your health in so many ways. Not only does it provide you with more supple skin, but better metabolism and more energy.
Duh. It’s so important to take care of your body. I know it’s hard to find the time, but I honestly think that if you find the motivation you can make the time. Remember this post about finding the motivation to workout? I’ve found that breaking your day up into chunks can help you find more time in the day. Working out before/after or even during work is possible. Find something that doesn’t feel like a chore. Back in the day, cardio consisted of a Jane Fonda workout video or a run. Now there are so many creative fitness options. I’ve taken a drumming cardio class, a surfing yoga class, and dance classes – whatever you have to do to get your heart rate up.
Related: Fitness Pros Dish On How To Get Excited About Working Out
As hard as it is, choose to be happy. Realize that the taxes you have to pay are because of the income that you earn. The annoyances of your kids or parents mean that you are lucky enough to have them in your life. Forgive others for their mistakes because it will likely eat up at your more than it will for them. Choose happiness and realize that more often than not – your “problems” are because you were blessed to have them. I often think of this quote, “If the people of the world threw their problems into a circle, you would be begging to get yours back.”
Ultimately you know that life doesn’t stay the same. The one constant that we can count on changes. You won’t be happy every single day. There will be days where you feel sad, lonely, unmotivated, lazy, and even have a WTHAIDWML (what the hell am I doing with my life) day. These feelings are completely normal. Aim for the 80/20 rule. You want to strive to find a balance where you feel in control, happy, and accomplished 80% of the time.