The below steps can be taken slowly and at your own pace and taking even a few of them can leave you feeling healthier almost immediately. It is when you are under the most pressure that you need your health the most. I have gone through sprints of intense focused action within my own career, and survived intense pressure due to heightened self-care.
While I am no doctor, I plan to share what works for me. You may adjust and tweak these methods to your liking and unique set of circumstances.
1. TAKE WATER BOTTLES EVERYWHERE YOU GO
While I understand that plastic bottles may not be ideal due to environmental impact and other reasons, buying water bottles may help you actually drink more water. Try to ensure that the bottles you purchase are BPA-free. You can purchase water bottles for your home and work fridge so you have no excuses to not drink adequate amounts of water that match your body’s daily requirements. Place water bottles in your car and bag to ensure that you always have some with you. Doing this will also keep you away from all the sugary beverages offered in convenience stores or coffee shops.
2. MORNING RITUALS
Instead of waking up and getting dressed and being in traffic, go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier so that you can make your morning about YOU. Self-first means literally putting yourself first, this is not selfish as you are not using anyone else to your end or to meet your needs, you are simply tending to your needs first which is what you are responsible for. Even just 5 minutes to yourself can make such a huge difference.
You can meditate, exercise, write or have breakfast at home to avoid the stress of coffee shop line ups in the morning. To expand on meditations being part of a morning ritual... my take on this concept is that it means to ‘lose all concepts of time’. Meditation has nothing to do with standing still or sitting in weird poses for prescribed amounts of times. I personally cannot stand still for too long, so I listen to guided meditations that are short, and my work outs are my meditation because I get lost in the music while working out and lose all concepts of time. Use alarms to help you switch back to reality after your meditation, of course.
I cannot stress the importance of morning rituals enough because you can love your job to pieces or your business and it may not feel like work, but that does not mean you do not need breaks. It is a myth, in my opinion, that loving your work means neglecting your health or being on the clock 24/7 and allowing clients or fans limitless access to you. A break is your ‘do nothing’ time which is sacred and essential to being a top performer and giving your clients optimal client service. Again, I do not care how much you love what you do, you are not a machine. Some people are plagued with ‘commitment to your job means never leaving on time and doing it 24/7" or plague with other such faulty thinking that leads people to burn out. This is not a healthy way of thinking. I separate my on the clock time and off the clock time, and yes, I love what I do. I found this approach to work for me and I hope that it can inspire you to create a blissful morning routine or ritual.
3. MINI VACATIONS!
Build vacations into your daily life so that you never reach a point where you want to ‘escape’ reality. I love vacations, but I prefer to take them as a treat or reward (with a purpose), not just because I am so fed up of my life that I just really need to escape. I want to show you that you can build a life that you do not need to escape from. Vacations once a week or month work wonders, this way you are pacing yourself regularly and sustaining energy and resilience to high pressure work or businesses. Two weeks per year is really not enough and it makes no sense to me to be working like a machine for the rest of the days a year. What works for me is that once a week, for half a day or a full day I do some of the following: sleep in; bake healthy muffins; light exercise; walk in nature; stay in bed to watch cooking shows; coconut oil pulling; hair masks; face masks; do my nails; Himalayan salt bath, really anything that qualifies as alone time in pure solitude, away from everyone and everything. Later on during that day off / sabbatical, I create space for my best friends and family, be it dinner or just staying in to chill and catch up, nothing extravagant or complicated. Value yourself and know what you need in order to thrive, is it more time with your family? More time alone & away from everyone and everything? Do you need to take a long weekend once a month to go to a different city? Figure out what you need and DO IT! You have the answers within you.
4. MEAL PREP!
Meal preparation is one hour per week devoted to preparing ingredients for your weekly meals or preparing your meals ahead of time. During my work days, I use a meal replacement protein shake called Pure Trim, it steers me away from processed junk food when super busy. You can use a protein supplement to have alongside a salad or something like that for lunch. In terms of breakfast, you can divide your fruits and veggies into containers so that when you are making your smoothie you are saving a few steps in the morning. For dinners, you can cook large batches and freeze your meals, this means you are in control of the ingredients and you can feel good about eating something pre-made because you made it yourself. If busy time for you is every single day of the year, then look into preparing meals ahead of time, that way you can save time and energy. .
5. OUTSOURCE ANNOYING ERRANDS & CHORES
Pick a few items that you do on a weekly basis and get rid of the ones you dislike. I have my groceries shopped for and delivered, I simply do not have the time and patience grocery shop. On the other hand, I actually don’t mind cleaning, so that chore I keep. If you dislike cleaning and could be using that time elsewhere, hire someone. If you can, get rid of the tasks you hate so that you can focus your time on things you love to do. EVERY MINUTE MATTERS!
6. GET A COACH AND BUILD YOUR AUTHENTIC TRIBE
People who love you unconditionally, or who are your trusted mentors, are needed. While such bonds develop over time, moments and trust, they are important. A tribe of supporters will built itself organically. You don't need many people, just a few who are true. These people want FOR you, not FROM you. These people do not make you feel used and like an object after each interaction. These people respect you fully; you can be yourself around them. A a tribe is very important in terms of feeling understood / supported at all times, this is good for your soul and health. Remember quality not quantity... just a few you can be certain of.
7. FORGET LOGIC!
Use your inner voice to make big life decisions, something can look so good on paper and still feel wrong, save yourself the trouble and let go of the need to explain your decisions to yourself or others, go with your gut. Your relationship with yourself is a huge step in being healthier.
For those of you who have read my book (The Art of Attitude available for purchase online at www.theartofattiude.com), or follow me on Twitter, I hint a lot at the fact that I have not always been this healthy but now that I know how OPTIMAL feels, I will never feel less-than-healthy again. If I am on my way to feeling burnt out, I will rid my life of anything that leads me to that direction. If any components of your live are crowding out time for health, it is my belief that something has to go, be streamlined, eliminated or re-worked and re-arranged. I am a very fast paced person, and most reading this likely are as well, but pace yourself because it is truly a marathon.
Slow and steady wins the race. You may build your business and career slower than you would like (which by the way is probably still truly fast) but at least you won’t die on the way there and will be alive to enjoy every minute of your success. You already know this.
Which steps are YOU taking today to improve your health?
Disclaimer: This article is based on my opinion only and does not constitute health or medical advice. Always remember to consult your doctor or other qualified medical professional before making lifestyle or health changes.