Over the years Ive tried to incorporate healthy habits into my daily living. This has really helped me be at my best but it hasn't been easy and it hasn't happened quickly.
I think that by working on one change at a time until it becomes second nature ( which can vary hugely from person to person or even habit to habit) is the greatest transitional advice I could give. Too much in one go or expecting changes too quickly result in overwhelm and giving up.
Here I share my top habits that have helped me become more mindful and intentional in the way I live.
Wake up early
Getting up early in the morning is something I feel I need in order to have a more productive day. If I lie in after 7am I find it more of a struggle to get going. I generally get out of bed at 6am, week days and weekends alike. By sticking to the same time 7 days a week allows your body clock to get into that rhythm and act as a built in alarm clock.
2. Enough sleep
Obviously getting up early means it's not a great idea to go to bed late at night. I go to bed around 9pm which means I get at least 8 hours sleep. If I haven't slept enough, to me the world feels different. A guage to whether I've slept well is dependent on my worry scale! If I start worrying about things that I don't normally get concerned about, then I know I'm not in the right frame of mind. If I start getting concerned about if my roof tiles will blow off in the medium wind ( obviiusly when it's not a concern in the norm) or get fixated on the people I loves' safety and welfare, I know I should not make important decisions as I'm not being myself.
3 Make bedtime a haven
Setting the scene for a good night sleep is imperative to winding down and being calm enough to sleep well. This is much more challenging when you've had a bad day/ worried/ stressed etc but if that's the case then this step is even more important. I try to put my phone away an hour before bed ( not easy, I know, but gets easier once you break the habit) and leave my phone out of the bedroom . I read at least 2 pages of a current book unless I'm so tired my eyes are closing. I always make my bed on a morning, shaking out the night sleep and smoothing out the crinkles. This makes the bed fresh and if not newly laundered then at least straightened and aired. I open a window on waking ( no matter the weather) to air the bedroom so it smells fresh at night and I might put on my essential oil atomiser with essential oils used for relaxing. Lavender is always a good choice, remembering that only a few drops needed as more can counteract the effect and keep you awake. If, like some, you hate lavender, other choices include Chamomile, ylang-ylang and patchouli. Ambient lighting and some meditation can also let your brain know its time for sleep.
4. Drink tons of water
At least 3 litres of water daily is the way forward, I promise you.
Not only does water drinking help clear your skin, eyes and body, it helps you lose weight and gets your body moving on a morning. Once I'm up and out of bed I Drink 500ml of water before I have a coffee or do anything else after brushing my teeth. I try not to let coffee kick start my body so I wait a while before a morning cup. I sip another 500mls before I leave the house if I'm at work and drink the rest throughout the day. If I don't manage to drink my daily quoter, I feel that my body becomes sluggish and my brain more foggy. I can definitely feel the difference when I don't drink at least 2 litres a day.
Not a thing that only Buddhist Monks do or hippy, New agers. Meditation is hard to keep consistent but when you do you realise the massive benefits Consistent meditation brings a sense of purpose to your life. It teaches your brain to remain calmer in your everyday life. The action of meditating gets so ingrained in you that you find yourself meditating while waiting for a bus, in a shopping queue, travelling as a passenger in a car. An easy way to get into meditating is to listen to guided meditations. Insight timer is a wonderful app for this, a free app with tons of meditations for different reasons.
6. Balance work and play
Work, rest and play are definitely key to a happier you. I've never felt the need to work all hours for someone else. Should I be working for myself then of course, you must put in the hours and even working more than not would be a pleasure to some but even then you need to know how much play/rest you need in order to feel a balance and not burnout.
7. Don't own more than you need.
Minimising your possessions really help you to live a better life. I as much as the next person love having things in my home that make me cosy and safe but having too much of anything is detrimental to your emotional and spiritual life. Things that make your home comfortable and even a few extra pieces for decor are fine but when we clutter our homes with things we haven't used or worn or displayed for months or years, we run the risk of being emotionally stagnant. Not only do our homes become fogged with energy that have no way of release, so do our beings. Free the space, release the energy. Feng shui is a very real thing!
8. Get some exercise
Moving my body in some shape or form is essential to a better night's sleep. I know when I haven't done enough because, although I have little trouble in dropping off to sleep, I wake up more through the night and feel wide awake. If I've had enough exercise I can sleep more soundly through the night. Each person will be different in their requirements but I need to have got my 11,000 steps and either a short run, walk or 30 mins yoga each day.
9. Conscious of my surroundings.
For many years I have embraced a way of living consciously, in that I am aware of my presence on this planet. I believe that what we do in our every day lives has a huge impact on, not only our immediate surroundings but it resonates and ripples through the Universe. I'm certainly not perfect by any means. There is so so much I could do better and sometimes I even get so overwhelmed with it all that I feel I don't care. But I do care and once I realised a small change means a lot, I was able to change one thing at a time. Less waste of food, less waste of energy, more thought into the food I consume, the clothes I buy and the industry that I buy from.
As we evolve in our lives, different needs will be required to optimise our potential. Small changes make big differences. Never think that it makes no difference what you do.
The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones - Confusius