Healthy habits seem to have become trendy. I'm not saying that this is a bad thing, I'm all about promoting wellness. But I do find that these habits can be a tad repetitive. There is only so many times I can be told to drink more water. We all know that this important, same with eating your fruits and veggies and taking regular exercise. These are all things I take seriously and have incorporated into my life. It got me thinking though, what other habits I do that are perhaps missing from these lists. We are all unique and need to shape our lives accordingly. But I know that I find lots of inspiration from the awesome resource that is the internet. So today, I thought I would share 5 key habits that I have nurtured so that they have become essential to me. Perhaps even some new ones to add to your list.
Love every part of you
We all have things we don't like about our appearance. They are always total nonsense, but that doesn't make them less damaging. But I've had enough of body negativity, both for myself and other people. I'm incredibly lucky to have the healthy body I have. It means I can do all my favourite things, hiking, yoga, dancing or even just wandering around my caravan. So I have decided to create habits to celebrate this. A big part of this is what I choose to wear. I feel that I deserve to feel confident and comfortable always. I've stopped wearing too-tight clothing that my body is reluctant to fit into and finally let go of all my ridiculously uncomfortable high heels. I wear clothes that make me look and feel my best. And I take the time to reinforce this feeling. If I sense the negative thoughts creeping in I stop what I'm doing instantly and list 5 things that I like about myself. Sometimes I do this in front of the mirror. It can feel a tad awkward at first. I definitely glance around a few times to make sure no ones watching. But it works. I feel better and I want to encourage everyone to take the time to celebrate their own unique beauty. And share the love, pay people thoughtful compliments. This is something else I have been making a conscious effort to do more of. Whether it being posting supportive comments on social media or even stopping strangers in the street to tell them that I like their hat, shoes etc, its all so important. You may brighten someone's day and, in turn, brighten yours. We could do with a little more kindness in this world...
Listen to your body
Its time to start listening to our bodies. This seems to be a skill that many people have lost in the modern world. We keep going even if our bodies are screaming for a break. We ignore our stomach's signals and forget to eat or eat so much that we actually ache. We ignore continual pains. We cover any skin flare ups without taking the time to consider what our body is trying to tell us.
I'm guilty of all of these things. I think what changed for me was the totally radical transformation I felt after I started eating a vegan diet. Suddenly, all my stomach problems disappeared (and I used to have uncomfortable cramps multiple times a week) and I no longer had to have a lie down in the middle of the afternoon from utter exhaustion. It changed my life and I realised that I have been avoiding my body's signals for years. Now, I take the time to regularly check in with my health. I often take a few moments in the morning to really listen to my body, and change my day accordingly where possible. I align my work with my energy levels so that I take advantage of more energetic mornings to tackle the challenging work projects. It is important to take time to understand your body's signals and not to judge yourself. The mind and body relationship needs nurturing.
A few moments in nature
Yes, I know that this is a common habit to suggest. But it is so important to me, I couldn't miss it off this list. I'm lucky that I get to spend a lot of time in nature. I'm often traipsing through highland forests for work and live in a caravan surrounded by fields. But I truly believe you don't need to take too much time, or live anywhere special, to enjoy nature. It surrounds all of us if we take the time to look. I like to enjoy a few moments of fresh air every morning. This may be sitting by a window or taking a slow circuit around my caravan. This time grounds me. It helps me think outside of my own life and puts my potential problems into perspective. I am just one of millions of creatures on this earth. My worries dissipate into the breeze and I start my day with a positivity that only nature can bring me. Well worth finding some time for these moments.
Read what inspires you
I was such a book worm growing up. I can't remember a time in my childhood when I didn't have a book on the go. I'd loose hours with my nose buried in a book, totally immersed in these stories. I somehow lost this bug as I got older. Going to university meant that I somehow fell out of this habit, with libraries now associated with assignments as opposed to new worlds to explore.
However, I've spent a lot of time sorting through my possessions in the last year or so and I have uncovered some of these stories again. I am a big fan of classics, with my all-time favourite book being Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte). I decided to read this again and then I was hooked. I've not just started reading novels again, I've been finding a lot of inspiration in non-fiction books. I've read about forming habits, setting goals and even tidying up (I highly recommend Mari Kondo's books). Of course, I've also spent a lot of time reading nature books. My favourite kind of story. After a while, I found that all this reading made my fingers twitch and my ideas race. I also wanted to write. And this is how I started this blog which I find so fulfilling. So, read. Read whatever inspires you. You never know what it may lead...
Express your own uniqueness with hobbies
I believe everyone needs a hobby. Yet I know so many people that don't have any. I was never one for many hobbies. Again, this is something I lost as I got older. I didn't see the value in the creative outlets I loved as a child. Finding the time for painting seemed silly, and even wasteful, in comparison to pursing a career. This is a very narrow minded view. Yes, my career is incredibly important to me, but this cannot be my entire life. Once I started making time for hobbies, it was like a cascade as I picked up more and more. I started with yoga. I found that I could make time to do this and started doing it every day. Now, I still do yoga. I also paint, walk, cook, sew, read, write and have just started learning some photography. I didn't know I had all this creativity inside me. Turns out I just had to find the key hobby and it came bursting out, filling my life with so much joy. I feel more rounded now as I have created such a rich life. I encourage all my friends to do the same and feel as excited as them as they show off their new creations. You don't have to pick anything daunting or too time-consuming. Hobbies can be literally anything. I genuinely consider tidying a hobby as I enjoy it so much. Just make sure its you and you'll be surprised how easily it slips into your life, like its always been there.
As I said at the beginning, we are all unique, but I hope this blog provides some inspiration on how new habits can transform the way you live. I'm excited to hear what you all come up with...