You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.
John C. Maxwell
This is the time when many of us are committing (and re-committing) to caring for our emotional wellness this year.
If you start looking for ways to do this, you’ll likely up with a lot of ideas.
Too many ideas.
Beware of health-information overload! (The goal is emotional wellness, not burnout.)
So, if you’re looking for a nice, short list of some straightforward, evidence-based habits that pack a real emotional wellness punch…
Look no further.
We’ve done the research for you.
Today we’re highlighting 5 powerful emotional wellness habits you can start adopting TODAY:
1. Be consistent.
It’s hard to make anything a daily habit without first taking a look at how your days are structured.
Consider your day-to-day routines and ask yourself:
How consistent is my schedule?
It’s not about becoming regimented or scheduling your day to the minute.
It’s simply a matter of making sure the essentials– sleep, water, food, etc.– have a designated place in your day.
This is the structure you’ll build your other emotional wellness habits into.
- Maintain (reasonably) consistent morning and evening routines. Wake at about the same time each day. Start powering down your devices (TV included) about an hour before bed. Go to sleep early enough to ensure a good night’s sleep.
- Plan meals and snack ahead of time. You don’t have to be a “meal planner” to reap the benefits of thinking ahead and stocking your kitchen with quality foods for the week.
- Take all your medications and/or supplements.
- Reward progress. If you struggle to remain consistent, create incentives for yourself for the first full week, month, etc. of compliance with your medication routine.
2. Give thanks.
Gratitude is so well-established at this point as a powerful emotional wellness habit that we can’t stop talking about it!
You can read more here.
But, seriously. If you’re not already practicing gratitude… start today!
- Keep a gratitude journal and pen by your bed. (You can buy one or just use a notebook you have on hand.) Each morning before you start the day, write down 3 things you’re thankful for. Each night, before bed, write down 3 things you’re grateful for that happened during the day. (Have a partner or roommate? Bonus points if you share your answers with them.)
Does the word “meditation” conjure up images of a yogi sitting silently on a hilltop?
If so… relax. It doesn’t have to be that serious.
The key benefit of meditation is it’s ability to help us become more mindful of what’s happening within and around us.
You can learn the basics here.
- Set a timer for 2 minutes and sit quietly with your eyes closed. Focus on your breathing and noticing any sensations in your body. If a thought comes up, don’t try to force it away or give it too much of your attention. Simply take note of it and then bring your focus back to your breath.
- Download a meditation app (e.g., Headspace, Calm) and commit to using it for 5 days in a row.
4. Listen to your body.
Life is busy.
It’s easy to get so absorbed in all we have to do that we forget to tune into the very body that allows us to do it all!
- Hydrate and nourish your body with plenty of water and a variety of wholesome, satisfying, tasty foods.
- Move your body each day in whatever way feels good to you. (Don’t be afraid to experiment with new classes or activities. Don’t like something? No big deal. Just move on to something else!)
- Rest when you’re tired. Your health care provider(s) can help you determine the amount of sleep you need, and develop habits to help you improve your sleep hygiene.
5. Open up.
Maybe you’re naturally introverted, and sharing yourself doesn’t come easily to you.
Or maybe you’re the go-to “fixer” in your social circle, and no one thinks to ask how you’re doing.
Whatever the challenge might be, don’t let it be a barrier to your seeking support.
We all need it. And it’s right there when you’re ready for it.
- Instead of defaulting to “Fine, thanks!,” try sharing honestly when someone you trust asks how you’re doing.
- Accept support from friends and family who care about you.
- Consider consulting with a therapist for professional support.
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Could you use some help putting these emotional wellness habits into practice?