In life, it can sometimes feel as though there is a laundry list of things that we need to worry about. From juggling work and relationships, to finding time to eat well and exercise, it can be hard to find enough time to do everything. Combine that with all the other tasks in life, like feeding the dog, finishing that big work presentation, taking kids to soccer practice, watering the plants, catching up on Netflix, etc., and it seems nearly impossible to save enough time for activities that could really enhance your sense of wellbeing.
As a certified health coach, I always encourage my clients to create a list of activities and goals that they consider a top priority in their lives. I ask them to consider what makes them happy and most productive. A lot of priorities I see are within the health and fitness field, such as a daily workout, becoming savvier in the kitchen, and taking time to pamper oneself with a hot bath or manicure. Unfortunately, although the items are ranked as a ten on a scale of one-to-ten, their lack of occurrence knocks them down towards a four or five. I ask them, "Do you want to start treating this as a ten, or should we readjust and lower its worth?" and luckily, this newfound motivation to keep it as a ten opens up their schedules.
Here are seven things worth making time for in life and some tips as to how best to incorporate them into a busy schedule.
1. Meaningful Social Experiences
Studies show that connecting with loved ones can enhance wellbeing. Being around other people and partaking in fun and exciting experiences can boost happiness and even physical health. Having a support system is so important, as they will always be there for you, long-term. "Instead of relying on tangible things to bring us joy and happiness (clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc), it can really help shift the perspective of what's really important in life," says registered dietician and body-empowerment coach, Christine Dyan, RDN, LDN, CHHC, to Bustle over email. Mark your calendar for brunch with your family, drinks with your pals and date nights with you partner, and resist the temptation to cancel.
2. Activities That Bring You Joy
Between work deadlines and family obligations, it can be challenging to make time for activities that help you relax, recharge, and feel your best self. However, how can you take care and be there for others, if you cannot do something good for yourself first? Make it a priority to schedule time for activities that make you smile. Whether it's a workout class, a movie, or a good book, set aside 30 minutes or more to engage wholeheartedly. "Reengaging with an old hobby that you've gotten too busy for" is a especially nice, as Dyan recommends, as it can illicit nostalgic sentiments.
3. Connecting With Nature
According to experts, nature can positively affect our level of happiness and help us feel more alive. By being outdoors, we are able to take in fresh, oxygenated blood to boost circulation, purify our bodies and energize us. Those who live in places that are high in natural landscape have been shown to have lower levels of depression, as well. Even if you're living in a polluted, packed city environment, take some time to go for a run through the park or set up an outdoors picnic. For a long weekend, plan a trip outside the city to go hiking. Dyan suggests, "keeping fresh flowers at your desk every week," as the natural beauty can make us happier and more productive at work.
4. Collecting Your Thoughts
There is something so special about putting your thoughts on paper. It's a great way to really understand what you're thinking and what your needs are."Seeing your thoughts on paper keeps you focused on your goals, makes overcoming challenges more attainable, and allows you to sift through why a fear may hold you back from achieving your utmost potential," says Liz Traines, CHC, a certified healthy lifestyle coach in an interview with Bustle over email. Even just five minutes a day will do wonders for longterm happiness.
5. Grocery Shopping
Stocking up on healthy ingredients, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, is so important to staying energized, balancing moods and keeping productivity high during the day. Traines recommends a balanced diet, filled with complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein. "I encourage my clients to find what feels best for their own body. What foods satisfy and energize most," Traines says.
Every body and craving is different, but by making time to pick the right eats to have on hand at home and to take to work will keep us healthy and happy. Also, make time for cooking. When you're the boss of what you're eating, you have ability to ensure that what you're ingesting is full of delicious and nutritious properties.
"Exercise provides mental clarity, decreased anxiety and stress, more restful sleep, and many other benefits that contribute to your overall well-being," advises Traines. By sticking with a regular regimen, you're better able to maintain the healthy habit and lower risk of disease for years to come. Vary your exercise to banish boredom and strengthen all parts of your body. "Barre, yoga, HIIT, cycling, dancing, Pilates, TRX are some great options," Traines suggests.
Getting between seven and nine hours of shut-eye each night can provide major health benefits, as sleep is critical for feeling your best self. "Sleep regulates, repairs and energizes the mind, body and soul," says Traines. Eat foods high in melatonin and relaxation properties before hitting the sheets, such as tart cherries and chamomile tea. Also, power down electronics at least thirty minutes before bedtime.
After hearing the benefits of these healthy habits, it's no wonder how necessary it is to make time in the day. With enough sleep, activity, pleasure and human connections, you're bound to live a life that's full of health, happiness and love.
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