6 Basic things everyone needs to live happy and healthy, learned from my own personal journey to wholesome living.
Today I wanted to address a question I get often: “What can I do to be more healthy?” Whether it be on this here blog or at my day job as a Nurse Practitioner, I encounter many people who sincerely want to know what steps they can take towards a healthier direction.
I sincerely wish there was a perfect answer for this, but I firmly believe that there is not one version of “HEALTHY” that is perfect for every person.
Which, if you'll allow me a small soap box for a moment, is why I get very upset with how critical people can turn in regards to what's healthy and what's not. Each and every one of us and our families are different and part of our individual life journeys are to discover what works for each of us. Okay, soap box moment done – sooooo not comfortable on that box, by the way!
So for anyone out there wondering “How can I be healthier?“, here's the thoughts from a Family Nurse Preactioner/Mommy/Cooking Fanatic/Average Day Girl – ME!
Here's my list of 6 basic things everyone needs (in some shape or form) to live happy and healthy. Let's dive in!
You've Got to Move it, Move it
Our bodies need and want movement! The type of exercise will be different for everyone. If you're fit, active, and don't have any injuries, go hard and intense with your exercise! Embrace the sweat and that awesome – fall-on-our-face-exhausted feeling you get after a tough work out. If you have limitations or health problems, consult with doctors and physical therapists to discover what you can do that will help, instead of harm, your situation. But move you must! You're mind, body, and soul will benefit tremendously!
I can't stress this one enough! I know it's not always easy, and I'm not 100% there yet either. I suspect its a life long journey (I'll check back with you when I'm 80). But it's become very apparent to me through the years that the patients I see that struggle the most, tend to be the most self degrading. Whether it be in matters of weight, depression, anxiety, etc, self degradation simply doesn't allow for one to overcome the challenges. I look at how well my kids respond and succeed when I give them all my love and support as opposed to scolding and criticism. Of course it would be the same with ourselves! I took an online course a few years ago called Go Sugar Free, and in one particular interview of the most joyous women I've ever listened to, she made the statement (I paraphrase), “Your body is your best friend. It's with you through the hard times and good times, treat it well.” So love your best friend, always keeping in mind that your ability to grow and achieve is best in an environment of love and acceptance.
Find your Calm
I got a hard and fast lesson on this one with the birth of my twins. There was no calm to be found in my life and I crumbled many, many times. Out of desperation I found mediation and I've never looked back. If you're like I was years ago, you've already said, “No thank you, that's weird” to my suggestion, but hear me out! Your life is very likely never going to be consistently calm. The WORLD is not calm. And having 2 two year old boys making daily attempts to flush objects down the toilet, IS NOT CALM! So you have to find calm somewhere else. Might I suggest finding your calm inside your own mind. When you can find peace inside, the crazy outside is easier to handle. It's not easy at all. I practiced meditation for nearly a year and the majority of the time felt like I was hyperventilating my way through it. The mind has to be trained just as a body does and mediation (in some shape or form) is a great way to do it. I tried several courses and books and have found that I completely adore the Headspace app. I highly suggest you check it out. If it's not your thing, email me and I can tell you what else I've found on my mediation journey.
Discover your Passion
Everyone needs something that they're passionate about. Something that you can look forward to. Something that drives you, motivates you, and just makes you excited about life! While some seem to find that passion quite easily, for others it's a much harder process, but oh so worth it once it's found. Try new things, learn new things, taste new things. Find what ignites that fire inside of you and then learn more. It's exhilarating the doors and windows that open in life when you find something to be passionate about. It can take a bit of courage to find it, but when you do, you'll forever be grateful for the events that got you there.
Would you think I'm crazy if I told you I think this could be the number 1 most important thing? If I look back on a day that I exercised, mediated, ate right, and made amazing progress on my to-do list, I still feel a bit down and empty if I didn't make time to read a book with my son, paint fingernails with my girl, listen to my sons bus ride drama story, or had meaningful conversation and affection with my husband. Decide who the most important relationships are in your life, and make sure they get nourished each and everyday. If you do, at the end of the day you will always feel that you had success, no matter how many things are still on that to-do list.
Sleep! While I could probably have just wrapped up this entire thing with that one word, it's the one I struggle with the most. I think we all know that when we don't get enough sleep, the task of living life is just plain difficult. I hesitate to try to lecture at all on this one, because I'm so so guilty of going to bed too late and waking up too early. I crave those quiet hours and it comes at a price. Proper amounts of sleep will make you more patient, loving, motivated, kind, and successful. There's sadly no way around it. No amounts of Crio Bru will account for a lack of sleep, I am a solid witness of that! So schedule it in, shut things down, and GET TO BED!
Coming from a person with a passion for food, you knew this had to make it on my list! I get nervous to use the word “healthy” when it comes to my recipes. To me they ARE healthy and in balance and give my family the sustaining kind of fuel they need. So I've decided to use the word Wholesome which I define as food that nourishes. When people ask me what they need to do to be healthier, this is where I tell them to start: Switch to whole grains, eat less sugar, eat more fruits and veggies, have protein with each meal, drink WATER, and cook your own meals more often. My husband will be the first to tell you that he did not like when I cold turkey incorporated these things into our lives (admittedly, I wasn't the best cook back then and plain, raw broccoli on undercooked brown rice just isn't that satisfying), but he is my number one support now and tells everyone who will listen how delicious wholesome food is. This coming from a previous gas station, energy drink kind of guy, he now says he craves good, “Marci” food (and apologizes for every eye roll he gave me when dinner didn't center around a giant piece of meat). The more you eat nourishing food, the more you will love it and crave it. I'm a total believer on that point.
There you have it! “How to be Healthy 101” by Marci Buttars FNP, Food Blogger, Exhausted Mama.
I hope that gives you some direction and courage to continue your search of what “Healthy” means to you.
Thanks you so much for being here today! I love to nourish your bellies, thank you for a moment to perhaps feed your souls!
Visit Cami's blog to read about her journey to a more chemically clean lifestyle where she shares her story and resources that have helped her.
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