A daily must-do list of essential habits for your wellbeing
Over the years, I’ve accumulated many little habits that have served me spiritually, mentally & physically. When I was in my 20s and 30s, I assumed that massive changes resulted in an extensive effort, but as I have aged well, those little things make a difference in my life. I don’t know how I got through the day without these fundamental habits, and I laugh at colleagues who roll out of bed at 8:55 am to start the working day. My routine consists of waking super early to carefully prepare my mind, body, and spirit to get the most out of my day. When you are young, these things don’t matter — but as you mature, a little oiling up makes a huge difference to your results. I tested these habits as mum started to deteriorate from her cancer. Mother’s Day just passed now, and I can’t help but think of how she was this time last year and how I wish she were here in better health. It’s not easy to see your favourite person in the world transition from what we call ‘life’ and move carefully and slowly towards another dimension we aren’t familiar with. I often used my rituals to get through the day and face the never-ending severe heartbreak of looking after a dying loved one. My hat goes off to anyone reading this that has gone through the same thing. You never get over it. Since her death in late August 2021, I have never bypassed any of my ritual habits. On the contrary, they set the pace I want to lead my life. I’m ready to handle anything unpleasant which may come my way. I hope these inspire you, too — no matter what state you happen to be in this time.
Habit one: I must exercise daily
Whether I am or what I’m doing that day, I exercise nice and early every morning. Perhaps there isn’t a gym around — but that doesn’t phase me because I have my legs, and I can get walking! My preference is and will always be to the gym, lifting weights according to the particular program I have in mind. But that doesn’t always happen — and we may have to become a little bit flexible in our approach to fitness. That might mean getting up a little early or staying up later in the evening. Whatever it takes, exercise is an essential component that provides both physical and mental health benefits. Maybe you enjoy running, cycling or cross fit. Whatever activity makes your heart sing, go ahead and do it regularly. It can be intense or relaxing. Switch between the two so you don’t get too burnt out. Sometimes our bodies need a little more relaxed exercise mode — and that’s ok. Let your energy guide you.
Habit two; I must eat antioxidant-rich foods
I’m glad I now start my day with an antioxidant-rich smoothie containing berries, spinach, broccoli, coconut flesh, and protein powder. Antioxidants also help rid the body of free radicals and decrease inflammation. You cannot go wrong by including as many antioxidants in your diet. Think of your food as an investment towards better health. That will help you justify the expense that comes with eating this way.
Habit three; I must fill my plate with lots of veggies
Veggies are my life. I gave up animal protein as one of my new year’s resolutions for 2022. I promised myself that if my health started to deteriorate, I would begin to eat some form of animal protein again — but I’m happy to report that it has not! As I’m chronically anaemic, my doctor recently gave me the all-clear from blood results to keep doing what I’m doing. You don’t have to be a vegan, but you should include an abundance of veggies on your plate during every meal. Make veggies the most prominent feature — and eat that first before anything else. When I was bodybuilding, my trainer encouraged me to eat the protein source first — then everything else afterwards. My health was never as good then as it is now — any wonder! Through my experimentation, I can safely say that getting rid of animal protein and increasing my veggies has been more beneficial to me! Try eating more veggies for a month and notice the difference.
Habit four; I must fast every day
For the last three years, I have intermittently fasted daily. The only time I veer off is when I have an event — and I usually feel terrible. I don’t feel right if I don’t fast. I’m a lot more sluggish, intolerant and irritated! Perhaps my body is behind in clearing all that mess that naturally accumulates. I feel reborn again every single day when I fast. There is much research indicating that you don’t need to fast daily. But I like to do this and feel better about it. Perhaps try a couple of days a week, then slowly increase the time you don’t eat. But, of course, everyone responds differently, and we all have different goals. So, decide what’s best for you. Try a few alternatives and see which works best for your body and lifestyle.
Habit five; I must take a walk twice a day
I walk to my coffee shop every morning, and then, heading into the office, I walk to my local train station. I lock my computer during lunch and go for a walk — no how busy I am. Nothing interferes with my walking goals — because it’s a mental and emotional break. I cannot perform well without a mental break — especially when staring at the screen for hours. Overwhelming is an emotional state I feel during the best and worst of times, and the feeling gets me into a panic -which blocks my creativity and drive. That’s easily flushed away with a nice walk, where I can see some green and breath in the fresh air instead of stale air conditioning. Perhaps this is fussy, but I will not sacrifice my walk for clients, colleagues or anyone else. Put your mental and emotional needs first — then everything else can wait. All it takes is about 20 minutes. We all have 20 minutes to clear our minds and refresh. You can find that time if you want to.
Habit six; I must evaluate my progress via a mind dump
Another one of my 2022 resolutions was to assess my progress constantly. Part of my goal was to start building a side hustle business, transition eventually & leave the 9–5 behind. Because I work full time & study, it’s hard to find the time to experiment and try a lot of new ventures. But, I still like to note down my progression, what’s frustrated me and what’s taking up my mental power. I call it a mind dump —, and it helps me get it out of my head and onto paper. Yes! I’m a digital person, but I like to write it down. Writing it down helps me keep a logbook of this and something to refer to at the end of the year. Maybe you are like me, who files digital diaries away and never looks at them. But when something is on your bookshelf — you are more inclined to pick it up and fumble through it. So, allow yourself a brain dump every single night, clear the space for better sleep, and a means to start fresh the next day with another plan of action. I think this has been a significant factor in my success thus far.
Key take away
These are key to my progression and help me clear any mess, so I’m constantly focused on where I intend to go. My progress is slow now; so many things are happening, but I watch the small wins that tell me the truth. Am I doing the right thing, and do I need to change? How can you allow new ideas to come in without constantly sweeping your body and mind?
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