When I was 24 I lost my maternal grandmother to breast cancer. She was an extremely strong woman who worked up until she got sick. She was always up and active and she cooked like her life depended on it. My grandma was bad! I learned so many life lessons from her and was fortunate enough to get to care for her in her final months of life. My great grandmother and paternal grandmother also passed away from health related issues. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if their health was slightly enhanced would they have been able to live out their final days longer, healthier and stronger. I think about some of my own personal unhealthy habits and I wonder how they will affect my body in the long run.
During the year I lived with my grandmother in Tennessee, I took complete control of my health. I only drank alcohol every few months, worked out twice a day, ate extremely healthy and began cutting meat and dairy out of my diet. I lost 20 pounds in three months healthily, my hair was its longest and strongest and my skin was glowing. Unfortunately, once I moved back to my regular life in Chicago my workouts dissipated and my diet went down the drain. Since then I’ve developed a routine that works for me to stay as healthy inside and out as possible. Here are five ways I stay healthy physically, mentally and emotionally.
1. Eat to live
Eating for me is more than just flavor. Eating is how I honor and take care of my body. Though sometimes I grab the burger instead of the berries, I try to be as healthy as possible with my eating choices. I know that dairy and meat can cause mucus in the body which can ultimately cause sickness and disease, so I avoid them. I feel best when I’ve juiced green vegetables and fruit, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and drink a ton of water. I also make amazing smoothies and have mastered plant based vegan tacos. When you choose to eat healthier you choose yourself. You choose a sound mind and body, you choose feeling lighter and energetic instead of heavy and lethargic. Eating healthier doesn’t mean substituting flavor it’s about finding and creating new recipes that you like while reintroducing your taste buds to foods that aren’t over saturated in sugar and salt.
2. Work it out
Being a freelancer, I work from home. I can very easily lay in bed or sit on the couch all day writing and just as easily start to feel my legs going to sleep or aching. It’s essential to my health that I get up and move. In order for me to stay in shape I have to exercise. I workout in the morning before I start writing to insure that no matter how hectic my day gets I have already gotten my workout in. I also get up every hour from writing and make sure I do some sort of exercise whether jumping jacks, squats, planks, anything really. I just make sure I am moving and stretching my body. If you sit for hours a day it’s imperative to your health that you exercise your body. Find a routine that works for you and your schedule and get your body moving.
3. Be Kind to yourself
I haven’t always practiced this. There have been times when I’ve did myself injustices by comparing myself to other people. I have put myself down and been negative and ugly to myself. Think about some negative self-talk you may have;
- I’m fat
- I can’t do it
- No one is going to love me like this
- She’s prettier than me
- I wish I had her hair/body
- I’m broke
Whatever it is that you have said to put yourself down or make yourself feel low, you have to stop. When you speak negative things your whole being internalizes it. You start to feel those things, you start to embody it. Instead, love yourself in the now, appreciate every roll, every split end, every broken nail. All of those things make up who you are right now, and though you may not be exactly where you want to be in this very moment, talking trash about yourself sure isn’t going to get you there. Start loving yourself in the now and begin practicing saying positive things about yourself in the mirror every single day until you start to believe them.
4. Treat yourself
A big part of wellness and self care for me is how I take care of myself. In esthetics school I learned about the importance of skincare and have been treating myself to weekly facials ever since. You can learn about some great skin care tips here. Not only do I give myself facials, I also do diy deep conditioning treatments on my hair atleast once a month if my hair isn’t in braids, transform my bathroom into a mini spa and do flower and oil baths as well as create cute pinterest worthy spreads of fresh cut fruit, water and tea for my breakfast. I don’t wait until I have the funds for an expensive spa trip. I don’t let my hair stay dry until I can get to the salon and I don’t wait for my husband to buy me flowers, I take care of me first. In order for me to be good for anyone else, I have to be good to myself first. I cater to myself as often as possible and don’t feel guilty for it. Treat yourself to an at home spa, a carefully curated fruit elixir, fresh flowers, a massage, a manicure/pedi. Whatever it is that feels good and is healthy for you, start spending more time doing it. We only have one body and when we treat it nicely the benefits are amazing.
I won’t lie, it’s not often that you’ll find me sitting legs crossed on a yoga mat breathing in and out as I allow my mind to drift. In fact I say I’m going to meditate often and don’t, not in the traditional sense anyway. Instead, I meditate in many different ways. Before I crack open my laptop or look at my phone in the morning I silently lay in bed. I look over at my husband to see if he’s already awake, I kiss him on the forehead then I pray. I thank God for everything I have been blessed with and the things I know he is working on. I silently say words of affirmation to myself then I get my day started. To me, meditation means simply being in the moment, not allowing anything or anyone else to get in your mind. When I talk to God I am meditating, when I talk to myself, I am meditating, when I am laying in bed, simply being still I am meditating. Before you boggle your mind down with the stress of the world, take a moment to simply be. The more you do this, the more you will be able to alleviate stress and clear your mind.
There are so many ways to practice wellness and self-care, start working on clearing your mind everyday, eating foods that nourish you, exercising, feeding your mind positivity and treating yourself more often and watch how much happier and healthier you become.
Love & light