What does creating healthy habits & feeling healthy mean to you?
To me, it means feeling energetic, pain-free, and having mental clarity.
I’ve thought about the healthy habits I practice consistently to help me to feel my best. I’d like to share them to see if they help you, too. It’s simplistic, but feeling good feels good! And when we feel this way it’s nice to know how to repeat it.
Identifying these healthy habits forced me to listen to my body and pay attention to everything I was doing.
Of course, I still have days where I don’t feel like superwoman – it would be weird if I didn’t. Life happens; not every day can be a winner. But, I definitely feel better, and more capable of handling stress, when I practice these healthy habits.
1) Eating foods that make my body feel good (ie, a TON of vegetables) and avoiding foods that make me feel sick, depressed, or yucky in any way.
I’ve suffered from IBS my entire life, so I’ve dealt with my share of stomach woes. My system can’t handle deep fried foods, processed foods, overly creamy, or sugary foods. I used to eat these foods occasionally because they’re perceived as “fun” foods, and I didn’t want to miss out.
Somewhere along the way, however, I realized that it wasn’t fun, or healthy, to feel gross after eating.
I learned to pay attention to which foods make me feel strong and energetic, and which foods do the opposite.
Foods that make me feel good are:
- whole, unprocessed foods.
- at least 5 servings of vegetables a day, with lots of dark, leafy greens.
- a really wide variety of vegetables.
A wide variety of veggies means I give my body lots of different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This keeps my immune system strong; I like knowing that I’m doing this for myself. Also, side bonus – eating brightly coloured veggies and fruits, especially in the winter, really lifts my mood.
Listening to your body and discovering which foods make YOU feel great is not something that just happens overnight.
Some foods may distress you emotionally, and some foods may cause digestive issues.
If you can start to pay attention to the way you feel after eating certain foods, you may find that you can start to feel better just by switching up what you’re putting into your body.
2) Taking Daily Probiotic Supplements & Eating Probiotic Foods
There’s a lot of chatter nowadays about having a healthy gut and I am all in! Research supports the idea that healthy gut flora is linked to a healthy overall immune system.
You know that IBS I just talked about? Probiotics have played a huge role in my digestive healing. Not sure what probiotics are? They are live microorganisms, aka, “good” bacteria. These helpful bacteria can help reduce the amount of “bad” bacteria in our digestive system, thus creating a healthy, balanced digestive system and possibly a healthier immune system.
I get my probiotics two ways:
- taking a daily probiotic supplement pill of live, active strains of different bacteria
- eating as many probiotic-rich foods as I can
Which foods are these, you ask? Fermented foods!
My personal faves are:
- kefir (unsweetened)
- plain Icelandic yogurt
I notice a dip in my energy levels if I get slack on getting my probiotics. Also. Ladies, probiotics can also help increase the levels of the good bacteria down there, so it can help prevent yeast infections and increase vaginal health. Win!
3) Engaging in Daily Mindful Movement that I enjoy
The key word here is ENJOY! I do not enjoy running, and therefore I don’t do it.
Find some daily movement that YOU enjoy. The high you get at the end of a workout is a real thing! Sometimes you might not feel like moving. Once you start, usually endorphins take over. By the end of the workout you usually feel a million times better than when you started.
I emphasize mindful movement because focusing on the workout allows me to connect with my body. In doing that I let go of any external stresses that are nagging at me.
For the duration of my workout, those anxieties and problems disappear! Poof!
Plus, connecting our mind to our muscles makes exercise more effective. Ten high quality reps of an exercise, with a focus on engaging the muscles, is more effective than 100 mindless repetitions!
Pilates is my favourite way to move mindfully. The focus on breath helps me center my mind and body. The slower, controlled nature of the movements gives me time and space to zone in on the muscles I want to activate.
Check out these workouts if you’d like to try a couple of my free classes!
4) Drinking Water as my go-to drink and reducing the amount of alcohol in my life
I know you know all about the benefits of drinking water.
Water really is the best way to hydrate your body.
I feel best when I have a constant glass of water on the go throughout the day. Yes, it will make you pee a lot, but that’s the point. Toxins and waste need a way out of your body!
This one might be controversial, but I’m going for it. It might not be a popular thing to say, but I feel SO much better now that I don’t drink alcohol.
Alcohol is a natural depressant, and is processed by the body as a sugar. Neither leads to lasting happiness.
I have never been a huge drinker, but even small amounts don’t make me feel great. I actually wish I had let go of alcohol in my 20s; I’m sure I could have saved myself a lot of headaches, stomach issues, and embarrassing moments!
There is also a link between drinking alcohol and getting breast cancer, which is a pretty big deterrent for me.
Bottom line: I really feel my best, my healthiest, and my most vibrant when I’m not drinking alcohol. I wake up feeling clear, my stomach is happy, and I have SO MUCH MORE energy!
A great source of info and support for reducing the amount of alcohol in your life is Wendy McCallum – I love her supportive and non-judgmental approach. I’ve gained a lot of confidence in my choice to reduce alcohol in my life from her!
5) Creating a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
I am a natural night owl, so this was actually one of the hardest healthy habits for me!
Also, as a mom, those hours after I put my kids to bed and get some much-needed time for myself are precious. Sometimes I want to stretch them out for as long as I can! I used to do that, at the expense of sleep. Of course, the aforementioned children would wake me up the next morning and I would feel groggy and cranky.
It’s not sustainable to wake up feeling exhausted, and it’s not fun.
So, I started creating a bedtime routine that gets me in my PJs at least an hour before I intend to go to sleep. The ideal night also includes a warm bath with epsom salt, lavender oil, and a good book!
What’s actually been helping me wind down before sleep is journaling.
I have never been a journal person, and I’ve surprised myself with how much I enjoy it. My current favourite is Doodle Lovely’s Creative Mind, Happy Soul journal. The gratitude prompts, the fun little doodles, and the quiet time for self-reflection helps relax my mind. I complete a few pages in my journal, dab a little lavender oil behind my ear, and I’m ready for a restful night, and a much calmer morning!