When most people think of a healthy lifestyle, they think of eating fruits and vegetables, exercising daily, drinking water, and going to bed early.
But a healthy lifestyle is more than that. A healthy lifestyle provides you well being in all areas of your life, not just your physical body. That includes peace of mind and fun among other things…
So let’s start with he ones people are the most familiar with –
Eat 5-9 servings of vegetables and fruits daily
Drink enough water *
*To determine the right amount of water for you – take your weight and divide by 2. That is how many ounces of water you should drink per day.
Get 30 minutes of exercise a day – not work related.
Get enough sleep. Most people need 7-8 hours a night to function their best.
Reduce sugar, fat, alcohol, gluten, carbs, red meat.
Cut out smoking and processed foods.
OK, those are the basics. Its what everyone thinks of as a healthy lifestyle. But there’s more to it than that.
How healthy is where you spend your time?
One of the most important, yet most overlooked cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle is your environment.
Does it feel good when you walk in your door after a long day, or is your home another source of stress?
Does your home welcome you? Is it a place you love to spend time in? Or is there constant yelling, chaos and mess?
Can you relax?
Can you easily prepare a healthy dinner? Or do you have to clear away last night’s mess first?
Its it clean and inviting, or dingy and dismal?
All of these things play a part in your mental health.
Research has shown that your environment plays a big part in your and your family’s behavior. In a clean and comforting home there is less yelling and fewer behavior problems. Your kids do better in school, and you do better at work.
Why would that be true?
First, we all have a need for a sense of order. It makes us feel more secure. That builds our self confidence.
Second, we need a place that is our escape from the tensions of the world where we can relax and get our heads back on straight. We need someplace with no stress so we can rejuvenate and heal.
Now add to that a healthy meal, served at a table where everyone can reconnect as a family. So many people view meal preparation and clean up as a chore. It can be a time of comradery. The family becomes a team. Everyone working together, talking, laughing…everyone feels like they are an important member. Not to mention teaching your kids valuable life skills and family values. Would you agree that this is sorely lacking in our world today?
Research has shown that teenagers who have family dinners at home 3-5 days a week are less likely to do drugs or get pregnant.
And what about the people you associate with?
Do they motivate and inspire you? Or do they hold you down to a lower level?
Are they striving to improve, or are they striving to do as little as possible in life?
Do they make you want to be a better person?
While we can’t choose our family, we can choose to spend less time with negative people who always leave us feeling torn down and defeated.
All work and no play makes Jane a sick girl
We need recreation and fun in our lives. Its not just frivolous. We need it.
Find activities that you enjoy that you can do easily. I actually enjoy walking the dog when its nice out. I enjoy walking a trail we have nearby. I especially like taking walks with my daughter, but those days are few and far between now 🙁
You might enjoy reading or some sort of sport, or gardening, or knitting…
I heard that. You enjoy shopping. That’s probably not the best pastime! Many people use shopping as their recreation. Or TV. Or Facebook. Or video games. I would encourage you to find something that doesn’t involve a screen. And while shopping is active, and you think you’ll feel better when you buy yourself something, that rarely is the case. The things we buy trying to fill a void rarely make us as happy as we think it will.
Speaking of voids…
We also have spiritual needs. Some of the happiest people are the ones who are active in their religion. Attending services regularly make you feel like you’re part of that community. Its where many people build close friendships.
Many people fill their spiritual needs by reading their bible. Others through mediation. Others through prayer. Some through all of these.
You’ve probably had a little pulling of your heartstrings. A feeling you should be doing something. Pay attention to these nudges. Your spirit is trying to tell you something.
And most important is Love.
Love makes the world go round, right? But we’re not talking about romantic love. We’re talking about love for your family, yourself, your friends, your neighbors, and the world at large.
When you love yourself, you’re more likely to take care of yourself.
When you do things for your family out of love, rather than obligation, it makes doing the right thing the only thing.
Obligation will put out hotdogs and mac n’ cheese or fast food for dinner. Hey, they’re fed…Love will put out a healthy dinner.
And that can be love for yourself and your health. It can be love for your family and their wellbeing. It can be a love of good food. It can be a love of God and an appreciation for the good foods he gave us to eat.
Love can come in a lot of different forms. And it makes a huge different in how you choose to live your life. Try to find something to love about everything you do.
A healthy lifestyle encompasses body, mind, and spirit. Total wellbeing.
Take a little time to assess your life. What areas of your life are out of balance?
Need some help getting started? Take the Getting Started mini-course. You’ll see changes in as little as 2 weeks!