Before you read this, understand that I am not a professional of any of these things in any way. A huge interest of mine is personal health and well-being, so these are just my favorite tips and tricks for living a better, happier, more fulfilled life. I read about and study this kind of thing a lot, but am in no way an expert. I’m just passionate, and I’m constantly learning new things and new ways of taking care of this thing called human existence. From what I’ve personally discovered and read, this is a pretty comprehensive list of good steps to take when trying to live a little bit better. I hope some of it can be helpful to you!
First, the foundation and most basic, helpful thing (for me at least) is sleep. If I don’t get enough sleep, I’m too tired to care about taking care of myself, it makes my stomach hurt, and it stifles me mentally and emotionally. So, I like to make sleep my first priority. My body naturally sleeps in cycles of nine hours, but I try to at least get seven.
The next, still basic and important: water and nutrition. Water makes everything in your body function and work properly. There are a lot of ideas out there about how much water you should drink, but basically, just drink water when you feel thirsty and you should be good to go. If I don’t drink water, I will literally start to yawn and fall asleep until I realize that I just need water, and when I drink it, I feel significantly more awake and energetic. It is next on my list after sleep, and yes, it’s worth it even if it makes you pee constantly. Peeing is good for you. Don’t hold it, just honor your body and go to the bathroom 3,000 times a day. It’s okay, I promise. Nutrition is right after water. Eating healthy foods in small portions makes me feel good and like I’m able to move. Eating crappy foods or large portions makes me feel like I can’t do anything ever again. Food is fuel. But I know sometimes it’s hard to remember that. I think ultimately, the key is balance. Don’t completely cut yourself off from something if it means that you’re going to swing to the other side and binge a ton later on. Find moderation, but prioritize being healthy and taking care of your body.
The next step to taking care of your body is actually moving it. This doesn’t have to be anything crazy, but finding at least a little bit of time every day to move or exercise is really important and it actually affects how the rest of us feels too. I am not a huge fan of gyms or regimented workouts. I like to have fun and feel good about moving my body, so my favorite thing right now is going to a yoga studio. This doesn’t feel like a chore to me. It’s a cozy atmosphere with kind people, good music, and lots of plants and windows, and I always leave feeling better. That doesn’t mean I always initially want to go, because self-sabotage is a real thing and I struggle with motivation, but it is at least an idea of exercise that I can support more than more traditional workouts at the gym or at home, and that makes me go more often and enjoy it. I would suggest finding something you actually like or are curious about rather than sticking to what you think you have to do and hate every time you do it. Things like stretching and going for walks can make a huge difference.
The next step is healing your mind. I firmly believe mind, body, and soul are intricately woven together and to take care of one means you need to take care of all of them. When your mind is in the right place, you’re more willing to take care of your body. When your body feels good and fueled, it’s easier to have clearer thoughts and you have more energy to dedicate to caring for your soul. So how do we heal the mind? There are tons of theories and ways to do this, and ultimately I’d say do what works best for you. Essentially, we have to heal from all our past trauma and issues in order to be fully here and fully free in the present. If you spend your life trying to avoid being uncomfortable or hurt, you let whatever you’re avoiding shape your life. But, if you get to the root of those issues and heal, then you can be truly happy and your life can be shaped by the things you love and are passionate about. Some ways to do this are seeing a therapist, reading relevant books, meditating, doing yoga, and journaling. I personally enjoyed the documentary on Netflix called, “Heal.”
With that, remember that taking care of your mind means being aware and intentional with what you put into it. What you watch, read, and listen to are having a direct effect on your mental state whether you realize it or not. I always feel better and more motivated/inspired when I’m reading, watching, and listening to things that lift me up and help me learn than when I’m just mindlessly watching bad shows on Netflix. That’s not to say you shouldn’t ever watch crappy shows or let your mind relax, but just be mindful of how much of these things you’re consuming and of the effects they have on you. Maybe give yourself a limit of how much time you’re willing to use on these kinds of things (including stuff like mindlessly scrolling through social media) and maybe start out by making sure you watch or listen to at least one uplifting, positive, inspirational, or informative thing a day. This just helps us keep our minds and attention spans in check.
Finally, with our trio, we can’t neglect the soul. Once you’ve taken care of your most basic needs, you can begin to focus on the parts of you that are aching for fulfillment. Again, I think one of the basic ways to fuel your soul is by the media you consume. If I’m listening to wellness podcasts or reading books about elevating the soul, I’m naturally going to feel more inspired and more motivated to do things that are good for my heart and well-being, partially just because I’m going to understand it more. But there are so many things you can do to fill this very deep and very important part of yourself. Obviously if you’re religious, you can spend time doing spiritual practices that relate to that religion or spiritual practice that don’t focus on a religion but just spirituality in itself. You can also practice meditation. Being creative is another way to feed and fulfill the soul. That’s part of why I write this blog. I think it’s really important to get to know your deepest desires and goals so that you can live a life of fulfilling that purpose. Being creative, asking yourself honest questions, and things like meditating are good ways to discover what your soul is really craving.
Another way to inspire the soul is to find causes that you care about and spend time giving to them. This can mean you go and volunteer somewhere, or it can mean you make a lifestyle choice like going low or zero waste because you care about the environment, or going vegan because you care about animals. Aligning with our deepest beliefs and living in a way that supports them can not only make us feel more fulfilled and satisfied, but it can also help us contribute to a better world. By spending a portion of our time being disciplined and working toward important things that matter to us, it creates more positive energy in our brains and assures us that we’re making a difference on a level outside of ourselves, while also actually making a difference in the world.
Basically, it all comes down to creating the space and energy to be open and honest with yourself. Then, asking yourself questions about what it is that truly matters to you and what you want your life to look like. From there, you just have to do it and set yourself up for success by using your time wisely. We only have so much of it, so instead of living bogged down and unhealthy, let’s use it to live our very best lives.
Remember, you can do anything, and I believe in you.
2 replies on “Baby Steps to Healing and Happiness”
Well written and lots of wonderful ideas! Thank you!