Updated: Aug 8, 2019
We often think "healthier" to be a physical state. But this week I challenge you to examine "healthier" from a different lens. Consider healthier to mean healthier habits, healthier boundaries, healthier connections and healthier mindsets. Ignore the tummy, that ache in your back or that itchy postnasal drip...(not forever- just for the sake of this challenge). Try these 10 things to live a healthier life.
1. Say no- Say it nicely, but say it. It is okay to say it, mean it and and not give an explanation for it. If my coworker asked me to go out for drinks after work, but i'm tired and would rather be home in bed. I've learned to say "no thank you" rather than force a yes or come up with an elaborate reason as to why I cannot. Or my boss would ask often, "Would you be willing to stay after and work on ... with... he/she missed her deadline and could use the help."- my reply "not today". Simple straight to the point no frills. While I would love to help and the fact that my boss asked me shows they rely on me-sometimes I don't want to be relied on. Sometimes 'I" come first. The inability to give transparent no's caused excess anxiety in my daily life. This week say no to something you wouldn't typically have the courage to. It's empowering.
2. Say thank you (and mean it)- Thanks. Thank ya. Thnx. and all the other ways to show gratitude, nothing quite feels as good as. Thank you (name). Similar to the words "I love you" its powerful. Luv ya, Lots of love, I heart you do not spark the same feeling of joy as "I love you" does. Be mindful in showing gratitude. Tell someone thank you and what you're thanking them for. It will change their day and you will feel appreciative of the moment of joy you noticed for the both of you. Try ending an email with "thank you so much for your quick reply" instead of thanks. Or ending a call with a telemarketer with "thank you for showing such passion for your company, however I will not be needing these services at this time. I will keep your information on hand incase I change my mind."
3. Say you're welcome (and mean it)-This one changed my life. I no longer say you're welcome if its not genuine. I felt like I was holding a grudge when I said it. Hear me out. Have you ever done something you didn't want to do? Then had to say you're welcome afterwards? Talk about double ouch. Try this, instead of saying a fake you're welcome. Offer a solution to what ever it was you helped with. For example if you despise sitting in traffic but was asked to pick up a friend from the airport. I get it you probably feel bad saying no, so go get your friend and when they say thank you, say "for you, of course...next time lets get you in an uber traffic over here is always rough for me". They don't feel like a burden and you don't feel like a jerk, all while you are being true to yourself. This exercise makes saying a true your welcome even sweeter. I reserve my authentic you're welcomes for people and tasks that are truly welcome.
4. Take the Deepest breath-Once a day try to take the deepest breath you've every taken. Its grounding and forces you to take a mindful second.
5. Ask for clarification- A lot of miscommunication and conflict stems from the inability to ask for clarification. If someone says something that triggers you try asking for clarification. "What do you mean by ....?" " Can you elaborate? I'm confused" They may not mean what you think. Doing it this way saves lots of back and forth, overanalyzing and hurt feelings.
6. Reflect on the last time you cried- What made you cry? How did you feel? Do you feel the same today? If yes. What do you need to feel different? If no acknowledge your healing. You're healthier and you didn't even realize it. The hurt may always be there but its a different type of hurt. Celebrate the change.
7. Laugh out loud (really...not LOL)- I find it exhausting to type "lol" or " lmao" after things that I really didn't laugh about. I may have smiled, but I did not really laugh. Those rare moments of pure laughter are few and far in between. Try to seek out those moments as often as possible, they spark joy. Whether you watch funny kitten videos on youtube, binge Working moms on Netflix, or laugh at yourself for tripping on your skirt as you walk into work try to notice those moments of laughter. Pause and appreciate the brief joy you experienced.
8. Hold a smile for 1 minute- (Yes put on a timer and smile) Trust me. You could even do it in the shower where no one can see you. After the third or fourth time you won't feel weird. You will begin to glow.
9. Give your self a compliment (or as I like to say Big Up Yourself)- Too often we seek approval or acknowledgement from others. Every day pat your self on the back for something you know was difficult for you to accomplish. I my elf find it hard to wake up early for work, when I do I whisper to my self "yes girl!" and turn on my favorite morning song to celebrate. Or on tough days when I just "can't" and my patience is thin- I may notice I took a deep breath before responding to someone to avoid projecting my personal feelings on them. So to "big up myself" I may treat my self to ice cream later and say to myself great self-control, that could have went south really quickly.
10. Organize (get it together)- Pick a project and get through it little by little. It is so very easy to become overwhelmed by daily work tasks, passion projects and home commitments. Try to reel it in and regain control by picking something to work on. This week you may want to focus on cleaning out your contact list in your phone and deleting old messages. While scrolling through your messages may seem like a normal task and hoarding them for memories is common. Holding onto these things can be a major source of hidden anxiety. Once that task is complete move on, perhaps clean out the fridge or try on your jeans and get rid of the ones you hope to fit again.
Try these things throughout the week and notice if you become more mindful of your wellbeing as well as others. Then come on back here and share your experience!