Yo! Wattup, homies?
… too much? I know. I try to be cool, but… I’m just kind of lame.
Anyway, I’m coming back at you this Wellness Wednesday with some basic wellness tips that you probably overlook in your everyday life.
Like, seriously… this is basic ish.
If you remember my post about the definition of wellness (you can read that here), we said that wellness covers ALL of the following areas:
The goal is to find balance in life by achieving enough of each.
Unfortunately, we tend to neglect ourselves pretty badly in nearly every area except the financial…
We’re not doing to well, are we?
Well, I’m hoping to change that with this list. So if you like it, PLEASE share with your friends and family. Think of it like a checklist: if you can check off at least 3, you’re on the right track!
Without further ado, let’s get into it.
6 Basic Wellness Tips that You Probably Don’t Practice… But You SHOULD
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#1: Set Up a Food Plan that Works For You
I practice a vegan diet & cruelty-free lifestyle… that’s what works best for me. I feel better because I don’t eat cheese or meat anymore- 2 things that could be really heavy on my digestion.
It also makes me feel better about my carbon footprint and environmental impact. So it helps my peace of mind, too.
In essence, the key to a healthy life is to follow the basics and find out what works for you. Rule of thumb, we all have a pretty good idea about which foods are good and which ones are bad. The good stuff will have a good amount of our nutritional needs- vitamins, minerals, macronutrients, and a justifiable amount of calories– while the bad stuff will have fewer nutrients with more calories.
Just because it’s low in calories doesn’t make it good for you. So minimize your daily intake of cookies and candy and up your intake of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes.
That’s part one.
The second part is to make sure that what you’re doing is unique to you. We all need the same basic nutrients, but how you get them is unique to your needs and preferences.
For instance, the average person gets most of their protein from meat. As a vegan, I get it from whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Now, I’m gonna level with ya- I don’t like beans that much. Like, you won’t catch me eating them unless they’re in something, like a Chipotle Burrito (yay for vegan fast food). So I have to make up for that loss of a major protein source by eating more tofu and mock meats. GREAT sources of plant-based protein, by the way.
I WOULD suggest that people reduce the amount of meat & dairy products you eat, regardless of whether you’ll EVER go full-blown vegan or vegetarian. As a society, we eat too much of those products. It’s not necessary for our health, and the current situation isn’t really sustainable for our environment.
So I think we’d ALL benefit from being more “reducetarian”. But what you do from there? It’s all you, boo.
#2: Do at least 30 Minutes of Light to Moderate Exercise Per Day
I covered this in my weight loss myths blog post, too. Please, hear me when I say…
YOU DO NOT NEED TO KILL YOURSELF IN THE GYM TO BE HEALTHY. Challenging yourself = Good.
Hurting yourself = Bad.
It’s OK to take a 20-30 minute walk and call it a day. That’s good enough.
You can even break this up throughout your day: 10 minute walk before you start your day, 10 minute walk during your lunch break, and 10 more minutes of exercise before you settle in for the night.
My favorite way to do this is to do 10-15 minutes of Yoga with Ali Kamenova– directly on her website now :). They’re organized by workout type, so you can always find something that fits your specific needs. There are free workouts/classes to try and if you like them, PLEASE support her by signing up for her membership program! She’s a new mom and an INCREDIBLE teacher and totally deserves it ;).
Now, I gotta take a moment to shout out my favorite yoga brand, Gaiam. The yoga mat I use at the moment is, hands down, the best mat I’ve ever owned! Most of the other ones I’ve used either fall apart or are really hard to clean, but this one is SO durable and easy to wipe down. Highly recommend.
I’ve never used one personally, but Ali recommends a cork yoga mat – it’s non-slip and keeps the bacteria growth to a minimum. I provided a link IF you think you might be interested. If not, stick with the regular mat ;).
#3: Make Sure You’re Getting 7.5-8 hours of Sleep EACH NIGHT
Sleep is an underrated thing. We’re so concerned with getting stuff done and powering through that we forget to recharge our batteries at the end of the day.
STAHP DOING THIS. It’s not good for you. When you don’t sleep, your body can’t recover from any damage it’s taken during the day. You gain weight, you’re mentally fried, injuries don’t heal…
Sleep is more important than we give it credit for.
The average adult needs between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night (I think the sweet spot is 7.5).
So even if you still have shit to do, stop ALL work related activities at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before you need to be asleep. And make sure that the time you settle into bed is 30 minutes before the time that would allow you 7 solid hours of sleep.
So if you need to wake up at 8 a.m., try to be in bed at no later than 12 a.m. so you can fall asleep by 12:30. That means you need to nix all work related activities (and electronics) by 11 p.m.
This is the best way to help your brain relax so you can get your full night’s worth of sleep.
#4: Drink AT LEAST 65 Oz of Water
The human body is made up of 60-65% water… wanna know where a bunch of that water is needed? The brain, heart (each about 73% water), and lungs (a whopping 83% water).
It’s no wonder that you can only survive for about 3 days without water… it’s more important than FOOD.
So don’t slack on this… make sure you’re getting your daily intake of water. On average, you should be getting between 64 and 70 oz a day.
If you’re anything like me and you can’t be trusted to drink 8-9 8 oz glasses everyday, get yourself a big-ass water bottle and carry it around with you.
I have a blue stainless steel water bottle that is my personal favorite. Keeps my water fresh for HOURS at a time, so I have all day to drink it even if I forget for a while. When I’ve finished all the water, I fill it back up right away.
Unfortunately, I can’t remember exactly where I got mine, but it’s a pretty generic stainless steel bottle. They even sell them in different colors here on Amazon.
#5: Meditate, Reflect, and Become Acquainted with Yourself
This step is equally as important as every other step on this list. Don’t skip it.
I’m not going to tell you that you have to believe in a God (or gods) to do this. But you do have to take the time to slow down and get to know your “spiritual” self.
What do I mean by this? Well, getting acquainted with those thoughts and emotions that you often have to ignore because they’re ‘inconvenient’. Sit yo’ ass down and get to know them. Because that’s your only shot at A, solving your internal problems, and/or B, creating a different relationship with them.
Learning to find balance and peace isn’t about religion. It’s about accessing your best self the majority of the time. And the only way you have any hope of doing that is to get to know your whole self.
Some days are going to be awful… that’s just a fact. So you can snowball into oblivion trying to force those emotions out of you, or you can acknowledge their existence and move through the day with them.
Headspace has been my best friend when it comes to this. Since my brain tends to be all over the place (thanks, Anxiety), I find I do best with short guided meditations. Headspace is the best app for this. And trust me, I’ve tried 2 or 3.
The meditations are grouped into packs that each last about 30 days. They’re customizable- you pick the duration and the app adjusts. There are 3 beginner packs that help break meditation down to a super simple technique.
Seriously, if you can breathe with your eyes closed and listen to music, you can meditate. All you need is this app (which is free to download. You only have to pay if you like it and want to subscribe for more packs).
#6: It’s OK To Avoid Toxic People & Environments… They’re Not Good Fo’ Yo’ Soul
There’s a reason why we tend to get anxious or angry when someone else is giving off harsh vibes. It’s probably part of our survival instincts- the fight or flight response that tells us something could go wrong.
When someone else gets aggressive, your brain’s natural response is to raise your hackles and start pumping that adrenaline. Don’t feel bad about this; it’s meant to happen.
But if you’re around people whose behavior triggers this reaction in you on a regular basis… it might not be you. Like, sure, we should all be held accountable for our own emotions. But if it seems like certain negative feelings only happen around certain people in your life, it may be time to let that…
Get it? Mango, man-go…
Anyway, distancing yourself is best for BOTH of you. If you are in a situation that seems to be spiraling out of control, the best thing you can do is remove yourself. Staying and trying not to react may do more harm than good. For one, stress is only meant to tell you when danger is near. Being unnecessarily stressed takes a toll on you. For two, you ain’t gonna be successful every time.
When you choose to stay in a situation that’s toxic, you’re taking a gamble… not just with your own wellbeing, but the wellbeing of everyone involved. Sometimes, you’re gonna snap. And that makes things even worse.
So just get out. It’s better for everyone.
Note: This includes work environments. I realize not everyone is in a financial position to just quit because their boss might be an a-hole. In that case, actively look for a new job until you find something better suited to you and your needs. Remember, even if you work for someone else, you work for yourself. If the job isn’t fulfilling more than just the need to earn money, don’t stay there longer than you have to).
Stop waiting for health and happiness to happen “someday”… make them come to you.
I was watching an interview with Gary Vaynerchuk (GaryVee on Youtube) where he talked about Youtubers who worked their asses off to make money and gain traction… only to chuck it all for a chance at Hollywood. And I quote:
Vaynerchuk: “This is the world. You don’t ‘graduate’ to Hollywood… It’s [social media] where the world’s going. This is where people are gonna consume. Too many people have become big on Youtube and want to go to Hollywood without realizing they’re Hollywood and Hollywood needs to come to them.”
In this quote, think of health and happiness as Hollywood. You don’t need to go to them… you need to make them come to you.
Ladies and gentlemen… THIS IS IT. This moment, where you are now, what you’re doing NOW is what you need to focus on. That’s how you’re going to achieve.
So don’t wait ‘until tomorrow’ to get started… don’t look for a sign that ‘you’ve gotten there’… you’re already there. Start living NOW.
With that being said, don’t wait to start applying these wellness tips… start right now. Go make up for the water you haven’t drank today, try one of Ali’s classes, sign up for Headspace and do a meditation.
If you’re always waiting to ‘graduate’, you’ll never get there. All you have to do to get there is start.
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