Three steps to take for creating a life of wellness
So you want to be healthfull, but you're not sure how to make it happen or where to begin?
There are three major steps one must take in order to become their most healthfull selves, and guess what, they aren't diet, exercise and weighing yourself!
Whole body wellness comes from feeling good inside and out and extends beyond just physique changes (although that is important and inspiring too!)
These steps are not simple and they require an investment of time, but if you break down the insurmountable task of becoming more healthfull (physically and mentally!) into these three steps, then you have some structure for enacting change.
Step 1: Determine your values.
Your values are your measuring stick when it comes to deciding what to include in your life.
They determine how you spend your time.
Our values also effect what we feel guilty about not accomplishing.
For example, if you value eating a nourishing diet that makes you feel strong and healthfull, then when you don't eat in that manner, you feel bad physically but also guilt, because you're not doing something that deep down inside is actually important to you.
We all innately know what is most important to us, but sometimes taking that list and making sure that we are honoring it with our daily lives doesn't happen.
I'm going to walk you through a little exercise to help you to brainstorm about what is most important and create a plan for making your days look a little bit more like you!
Think about your ideal typical day from the moment wake up until you go to sleep.
What does it look like?
What things would you do or not do during that day?
Examples could be some of the following:
spend time with friends or family
eat good food
have more or fewer scheduled activities
spend less time preparing or shopping for food
have more quality time with kids
have breaks from kids
walk the dog
clean the house
not clean the house
meet a friend
have a sit down meal
spend more time with spouse or partner
morning quiet time
more restful sleep
Don't get bogged down in the details just yet, try to keep your list simple and broad.
For example if you want to be more active, don't specify how exactly how or for how how long, just think about at the end of the day, what sorts of things do you want to have experienced or accomplished?
Step 2. Action steps.
Pick 3 items from your values list and write them on a piece of paper with space in between each item and then under each category write three actions that you can take to make these items happen.
- Spend more time with spouse or partner
- Action step-invite spouse/partner to spend an allotted time with you
- Action step- sort out logistics to make the time happen
- if it's morning coffee, maybe get up earlier to make this happen, if it's an evening date and you kids, line up a sitter or pre-make dinner/purchase it so that the kids are fed in bed early; the logistics depends on your specific life, you know some things that you can do to make it happen!
- Action step- cancel plans or refuse an invitation to do something else.
- Sometimes it's not that we don't have time to spend with someone we love, but it's that we are busy doing other things that aren't as important. If spending time with someone is important to you, then you might have to say no to other activities in order to make it happen!
- Have more quality time with kids
- Action step- plan an outing to a park or a nature path, even a walk around the neighborhood-somewhere quiet where you don't be distracted by lots of other people, but away from your many responsibilities at home
- Action step- turn the television or Netflix off and select a book that everyone will enjoy listening to
- Action step- again, you might have to refuse an invitation, cancel plans, or unenroll in a sport or activity if you or the entire family is sacrificing good quality time for other activities that ultimately are not in line with your values
- Get more restful sleep
- Action step- get to bed earlier
- Action step-turn off electronics 1 hours before bed
- Action step- exercise or be more active during the day, morning walks are particularly helpful for promoting restfulness the following night.
Once you've identified the 3 items that you want to work on immediately, begin to research how best to make them happen and create 3 action steps for each item.
Step 3. Boundaries
You might have noticed that the action steps above for making your life a better reflection of your values included some pro-activity AND the setting of boundaries.
- cancel plans or refuse an invitation to do something else.
- turn off electronics 1 hours before bed
- again, you might have to refuse an invitation, cancel plans, or un-enroll in a sport or activity if you or the entire family is sacrificing good quality time for other activities that ultimately are not in line with your values
Boundaries protect our time and energy.
They can be flexible and they can vary depending on the day, but we need to honest with ourselves about our limitations and the limited amount of time there is for life.
Ultimately it is our responsibility to prioritize doing the things are the most important for our lives and to set boundaries with time, relationships, technology, etc..
I set boundaries with myself, my time and with others (including electronics) all day long everyday.
If I didn't, then I would never have time to exercise, time with children, time to read my Bible and praying, time to work, or energy for my husband or closest friends and family.
My boundaries shift from day to day as well. Some days I say no to the laundry in order to workout, spend time with the kids, chill with my husband after our long days of work....
And other days I set boundaries with my kids and require them to play alone or read a book while I clean and fold laundry, because I can only function for so long in the chaos...
Our time and energy are finite resources, there are exceptions to this of course, but many people are racing through their days spending time and energy on things that ultimately are not consistent with their personal values or life goals.
This does not promote a feeling of whole body wellness.
Instead it creates tension, stress, bad habits and actions that we use to distract or console ourselves which are neither helpful nor healthfull!
One of the other benefits of this exercise is that sometimes we feel guilty that our lives don't look like others.
Maybe you see that neighbor that wakes up every day and runs 6 miles before you've even had your coffee and it makes you feel guilty and lazy.
Then through thinking about your values and your days you realize that restful sleep, time with your family, quiet time in the morning, or a calmly drinking your coffee in peace are all more important to you than running every morning.
In fact, maybe you realize that running or long periods of exercise every morning isn't important to you at all!
Then you can say to yourself, "well that works for her, but that's currently just not one of my values."
Now you have the freedom to focus on your own list, make those things happen, sit back drink your coffee and think about your impending day!