Make a date with yourself: 3 tips to a healthier you
Do you have a healthy relationship with yourself? We value maintaining our bonds with others far more than nurturing our own health and well-being. This became apparent to me after a long work day a few years back. I was driving home – one hand being used to ravenously stuff a Styrofoam packaged dinner down my throat, the other to give unladylike gestures to passing drivers. I lazily parked my car half on the curb and was so consumed by the stresses of my day that it wasn’t until the next morning that I realized I forgot to close the garage door behind me.
I spent the majority of my day promoting living a healthy life through exercise and eating well, meanwhile my entire day was the complete antithesis of that. Sound familiar? If you have been coasting through life on bald tires, with the engine light on, it is time to put yourself in the driver’s seat and take control of your self-worth and esteem. How though? It’s easier than you think. Check out these three simple adjustments that will promote a healthier, saner you:
You guessed it. Set aside one hour each day to focus on your physical health. You live in your body, and you have the choice to reside in a mansion, or a dilapidated shack with an overgrown lawn and garden gnomes you refer to as “family.”
Everyone has one hour to dedicate toward their health. Find a time that has no distractions or obligations, and write down in your agenda book that you have a date with yourself. It’s time to give you the same priority allotted to a friend, family member or boss. Exercise tends to be a chore; therefore most people pass on adding another “to-do” item to their already extensive list. Trick your brain out of boredom by promoting exercises that don’t seem like exercise at all.
Walk your dog for an hour – he will love you for it, and canines make for great partners in that they listen and don’t respond. Or sign up for recreational sports – they are called recreational for a reason. Not to mention, throwing a dodge ball at someone’s head makes for a great stress reliever. Playing ball with your child is also a great opportunity to bond and exercise.
Whether you want to get all sexy about it by turning down the lights, firing up a few scented candles and letting loose to the latest Enya CD, or you want to simply sit in a quiet room, meditation is one of the best ways to promote mental health. Feeling good is only achieved when there is a balance between mental and physical health.
My favorite exercise for achieving mental calmness is venturing out for a long walk before or after work. Take the time to practice your breathing technique. For every few steps inhale, and have an equal amount of steps on held breath and on the exhale. Visualize something peaceful, whether it is sitting on a hammock by the lake, or watching the ocean tide roll in and out from the shore line. Focus your attention on being in the moment, and don’t be frustrated if your brain begins to wander. Simply refocus and begin again.
Just as the mind and body work together to achieve a balanced state, so does nutrition and the body. Exercise alone will not achieve a healthy physique if you are littering your body with junk, alcohol or over-indulging/skipping meals. When you are feeling stressed, it is easy to turn to food for comfort. Unfortunately, it only tastes good momentarily, and takes much longer to burn off.
Eating our emotions becomes a vicious cycle. As a certain larger-than-life villain from Austin Powers stated so perfectly, “I eat because I am unhappy, and I am unhappy because I eat.” Break this sick cycle. Stock your refrigerator with healthy options that will fill and satisfy. Your plate should be filled with many colors, like a rainbow – not a Skittle’s bag.
Today, grant yourself the time, adoration and positive energy you so freely give to others.