As we enter into the season of new beginnings, is now the best time to begin to get rid of the things that prevent us from being as healthy and happy and dare I add, as inspired, as we should be? How can we create space for those things we actually want to have more of in life?
Use the momentum created by The Colour Run…and run with it. Here are a few tips to setting up and maintaining a healthier and happier lifestyle.
1. Taking time to be still
I’m not talking the typical few minutes before the clock strikes twelve on new years eve – setting a few new years resolutions and forgetting them by the time you wake up, tired and a little hung over on the 1st of January. I’m referring to cultivating an attitude and creating space for regular moments of stillness.
Taking time out creates the natural pause you need to sometimes see that the things you are keeping busy with are not the things that make you feel happy and fulfilled.
You don’t need to think about what you need to become still about or achieve in that time. Become completely free from thoughts, noise and tension. A place where you have nothing to think about and nothing to do. You will be amazed at how healing that can be – and how taking a pause – not just running over from one thought, action, plan, movement into the next – slows you down and gives you perspective.
Becoming still in your body, noticing tension and just how your body is feeling at any given point in time, gives you an opportunity to take stock and notice how much pressure your body is under. You have an opportunity to step in and give your body a well-deserved break. If you never stop you will never notice. Until your body has to MAKE you stop, which will often mean much more serious messages of ill health existing in your body. Yoga and meditation is a great way to quiet yourself, your body and your mind down. It also creates a beautiful space for becoming more tuned in to your body and how your body is doing. Being tuned in to your body allows you to feel tension as it arises and gives you the opportunity to dissolve it before it sits and festers in your body – resulting in disease. Yoga might not be what you are looking for – but whatever you do – create space to become still.
2. Taking stock
With stillness a new perspective will come and you will be in a better place to take stock of where you’re really at with your health and happiness. Set time aside to think about, or even better yet , write down the things that make you feel really happy. Think about those moments when you feel relaxed, content, overjoyed and even invincible. Recognise how much time you spend in those moments.
Then think of just one way in which you can cut down on time spent with the mundane and create more space doing what you love. What can you spend less time on or even cut out completely? Can you delegate, engage the family to help – so you feel less bogged down freed up to do what inspires you?
Can’t think of happy moments? What would those happy moments look like if they did exist? Who would you be with and what would you be doing? How would you be feeling in those moments? How can you invite and create that in your life right now?
Also take stock of your body and your health. How is your body feeling? Have you had niggling concerns about your weight, your diet, your energy levels, potential food intolerances or allergies? Are there things that have required medical attention that you just haven’t gotten round to. Or is it as simple as you just needing to be a bit more proactive in taking a small step towards healthier living. Can you introduce even one day of healthy eating a week – or even better yet, three, or four or more? Similarly in regards to getting some exercise. Is there one activity in which you could get involved – albeit on a social level – such as rounding up the family one day on a weekend for a long walk on one of the beautiful beaches in PE or engaging in family tennis tournaments? There is something that you can enjoy AND that can get your body active and moving. You don’t have to train like a demon and run the Comrades next year. Do an activity that you enjoy and just be happy to start where you are at right now. Enjoy your exercise and healthy lifestyle, and you’re more likely to make it a lifestyle change rather than a fad or stage unlikely to last more than a few days or weeks..
The biggest barrier to doing more of what we love and living a healthy lifestyle is time or a lack thereof. We use that excuse ad infinitum. It’s a very real issue in modern days and hence the need for regular and persistent de-cluttering exercises. Clutter occupies your space and your mind and prevents you form inviting and receiving the things you want in life. A cluttered life robs you of your time and saps you of your energy.
De-clutter your physical environment, your digital world, and your emotional home. It’s not called a ‘spring clean’ for nothing. Set up a family day to clear out all the clutter out of your home. Pack up what you don’t need and prepare to recycle, donate, sell or store. Create space so there is physical room for the new things you want to invite into your life.
So much of our time is taken up in our digital world– time on social networking sites, emails, and many files being created, stored, processed and filed. Clear out here as well. Back up your computer so you can clear your desktop of distracting thumbnails and shortcuts to documents on your hard drive. Get ting your hard drive clean and clear will also speed your system up dramatically (say hello to extra time for yourself and what you love). Set time aside for social networking, emails and working and avoid flitting from one to the next without really getting anything done properly. Have digital free time in your home and around your family.
Clean up your emotional home as well. Are there conversations that need to be had for the air to be cleared and for you to feel free from a difficult situation? Do you need to forgive, let go, speak your mind in order to become more open to invite in what it is you want more of emotionally? Just like your body deserves a break from tension, so too does your mind and heart. Clear the air. Let it go. Set yourself free.
Once you have established some healthy routine that suits you and your family – however small the changes are – be protective of that space. Don’t allow work, life, the mundane, the clutter or an absent mind to take it away from you again. Stay alert, stay present. Know what it is that you want to achieve and why it is that you’re doing it. Acknowledge the rewards and reinforce the behaviour in every way possible.
All your work, your interests, the important things that keep you busy during the day will mean nothing if you didn’t have your health and you weren’t happy. So hold your health and happiness as sacred in your life – your very first priority. What else really matters more than that?