Staying healthy is an active choice we have to make every single day. It’s in the decision to get McDonalds for lunch or do our nightly cleansing and moisturizing; it’s taking a step away from our email after working hours or carving out the time for a solitary cup of tea in the morning sunshine. Prioritizing your health in all capacities—mind, body, and soul–is as important as making sure you pay your bills, do your laundry, and put gas in the car, because if you let yourself run down, none of those other things will get done either.
Therefore, for this Twenty-Something Tuesday, we’re bringing you examples of all the little and oh-so diverse ways we all stay healthy.
Getting Away From it All: Admittedly, we am terrible at keeping the “transport” healthy and tend to prioritize keeping our sanity. We’ve learned that we reach critical mass after a while from our jobs, LD, and all the pressures around me until I just need to escape. We book a trip and get the hell out of Dodge, put the auto-responder on the email saying “We will be entirely unavailable” and disappear long and far enough that we can forget about all my troubles. We exhaust ourselves physically hiking up and down cliffs, engage ourselves creatively taking all the photos we don’t get to take at home, and let our souls soothe themselvesin the beautiful surroundings. We come back exceedingly tired and physically aching, but a mental reset button has been pushed.
Water, Water, Everywhere: Sylvia Plath once said: “There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.” We think she was on to something. Sometimes, after a stressful day, there’s nothing better than just soaking in the tub with a few candles and your favorite CD playing on the stereo (or your iPod). It seems like such a simple solution but it helps slow down your thoughts and provides a chance for quiet reflection and meditation.
Set a Bedtime: And stick to it. Seriously. Turn off Netflix, leave the bar early, stop answering emails, close Pinterest, and go to bed at the same time every night. Having a regular bedtime routine helps you sleep better and feel more refreshed and energized when you wake up in the morning. A good night’s rest helps boost your metabolism, keeps your immune system in check and lowers stress levels.
Sitting in the Pews on Sunday: Faith keeps many of us healthy. We find internal peace, energy and direction in attending church every week, joining groups focused on faith and spending time developing my own faith each week. Taking time to grow in faith reminds me of the person we want to be, the life we want to lead and of the passion in our hearts. We are a work in progress and far from the person we strive to be, but taking time to develop that relationship fuels many of our lives.
Breakfast in Bed: Life is so very chaotic and as we get older, the weekends seem just as crazy as the week. The way we press the pause button involves pancakes, coffee and a down comforter. We love having my breakfast in bed on a Saturday or Sunday, not jumping out of bed, eating on the go or rushing out to run errands. We like to play Motown tunes, turn on the griddle and then snuggle up in bed for an extra hour of laziness.
Shopping at the Farmer’s Market: Besides the obvious health benefits of buying local produce, has anyone ever left the farmer’s market unhappy? Anyone? Ever? No, we are almost positive it is actually impossible to leave all that freshness with a scowl. Buying local fruits, veggies and meats from the farmer’s market is one of my favorite things to do. We love to try different foods, grab a jar of local honey and stop by the creamery for a scoop of butter pecan ice cream before leaving. It is good for the body and soul.
Walking: Not everybody likes to exercise, but that doesn’t mean we should disregard all forms of being active. Get outside, even if it’s only for 20 minutes a day. Make it mindful. We never bring our iPods or phones, unless it’s at night. If you want to get your heart rate going, find some hills to incorporate on your route. We like to make sure we’ll enjoy what we’re looking at when we’re walking. Sometimes that’s in the city, sometimes it’s in a quieter neighborhood, and sometimes it’s in the arboretum. We always feel better and more awake after walking, which helps a lot when it comes to school. And there’s never an excuse to not go for one. All you have to do is step out your door and go.
Invest in Good Produce: As college students, we have a pretty lean grocery budget, and we spend most of it on fresh fruits and vegetables. Cooking provides me with a creative outlet that forces me to put aside my books and Word documents and do something tactile that demands my full attention. By buying whatever produce is in season or on sale, we’re forced to try new recipes, expand our knowledge of the chemistry behind food, and eat a wide variety of foods. We really believe that food supports health best when it’s engaging your mind as well as your taste buds. Plus, eating produce that’s in season locally supports a healthy environment.
Count Your Blessings Before Bed: We’re not all the most religious people on this planet, but as noted in “Sitting in the Pews on Sunday,” there is something about having a faith bigger than ourselves that can feel like such a relief. So to end every day, whether is be stressful or not, we say our own little prayer by counting my blessings. Any stress or anything at all that has bothered me that day is instantly weightless after we doze off to the things we’re thankful for.
Unplug: Remove all electronics (aside from the TV… sometimes you just need to cuddle up and watch those late night shows) from the bedroom. Get a real alarm clock so you aren’t worried about answering the midnight calls, texts or emails. It’s rejuvenating to have a place that really is just for sleep, relaxing and getting yourself ready for the next day.
Set Limits: Make it known to everyone in your life, even your employer, that you don’t answer calls or emails after a certain time of night. Or if you have a therapy appointment, yoga class or reading session once a week—be sure all friends and family are aware that you don’t reschedule or interrupt it unless something drastic happens. Be forthright about your limitations at work, school or in your relationships, and stand strong when those limits are tested. You have to put yourself first, above all, and by setting limits in various (even small) ways, you are telling your mind, body and soul that YOU are the most important.
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