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The importance of establishing healthy habits in order to feel your best

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An illustrated person walking a dog

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    How do you feel about your routine?

    Do the days, weeks and months slip by without any sense of progress or accomplishment?

    Does it seem like every day is a struggle to get through? Does it sometimes feel like life is passing you by while all you can do is watch helplessly from the sidelines? If so, then maybe it’s time to take back control. You may be surprised at what happens when you make changes that will help balance your life. When we are struggling with everyday tasks of work, family and home responsibilities for too long without relief or respite in sight, emotional exhaustion sets in. We start feeling more tense than relaxed; more stressed than refreshed; more apathetic than enthusiastic; less enthusiastic than we used to be. We dream of a better way, but it seems almost impossible to achieve because we feel trapped by our circumstances.

    The importance of establishing healthy habits

    It is important to establish healthy habits both for our physical and emotional well-being. As the world becomes busier, it is also easy to neglect the balance in our lives. Creating a routine helps you make time for yourself and help bring balance back into your life.

    Work to identify what you want, as it motivates you and gives a sense of direction. For example, if you want to feel fit, focus on increasing your physical activity levels. Ask yourself: What was the last time that I walked up some stairs instead of taking an escalator? Did I go for a walk this morning or did I drive to work? Did I go for any exercise this week or did I just focus on my work?

    One way to create a routine that helps your physical and emotional health is by exercising. By becoming more active, you will feel better about yourself and have more energy. But don’t be fooled into thinking that exercise requires lots of preparation – getting into your gym gear, jumping on a bike, finding those hiking boots. No, you can create healthy physical movement right at your desk – as Amanda Gorman demonstrates in her WordFest Live session – Chair Yoga for Remote Workers.

    How to establish a routine

    One way to establish a routine would be to get into a rhythm with the things that you do every day. It can be helpful to set specific times for different tasks. The time you spend on your routine can vary from person to person but try not to spend too much time on it because that will take away from other aspects of your life as well.

    Also, make sure that you don’t skip meals or exercise in order to just have more time for the things you want to do.

    An illustrated person sitting in a lotus position meditating

    Be sure to pay attention to how you feel when you are doing the activities you categorized as healthy habits, such as eating a nutritious lunch, taking care of your mental wellbeing through meditation, and being active. These feelings should motivate you and give a sense of direction for the rest of your day.

    There are many theories on the time it takes to establish a routine or habit. Ultimately a routine is formed by undertaking a task repetitively and having a trigger for initiating it. A good example would be waking up in the morning, entering the bathroom and brushing your teeth. Many will undertake this task, without giving much thought to it. The trigger is waking up and entering your bathroom. When you do this, your brain tells you it’s time to brush your teeth. That’s why morning brushing is so successful at making a routine in our daily lives. Other teeth brushing triggers can be habits like lunch or before going to bed.

    The important thing when establishing a routine for yourself is to make it personal and remember that everyone differs from each other.

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    What is important in your life

    What’s important to me in my life are my family, friends, and pets. My family means a lot to me because they support me the way that I need to be supported and they give me the encouragement I need throughout my day. My friends, on the other hand, are always there when I need them and offer a variety of different perspectives. Lastly, my pets are a big part of my life as they give me unconditional love and make life more fun.

    Make a list of 5 things that are important to you.   Then look at the list and ask yourself how these things affect your life positively. At first, you might be surprised by what you come up with, but try not to dwell on it too much because this will help you realize the impact they have on your life and how it helps you to be at your best.

    What are some of the things that play a role in keeping you healthy?  Think about physical, mental and spiritual health or whatever is relevant to you. Then write down 5 things that contribute to each of these categories. If there isn’t anything specific that comes to mind at first, give yourself permission to take the time you need. This is a brainstorming exercise that will ultimately help you.

    Now that you have your list of things, give some thought to how they affect your health in either positive or negative ways and rank them from 1-5 (1 being the most important). This will ultimately help you get to the bottom of what is affecting your health and encourage you to put more focus on improving them.

    What are some activities that could bring you joy through physical activity? If you have a pet, can they play an active role in your routine? Speak with a family member or a friend and ask them to be an accountability partner with you? Could they join you for a walk? How about taking up regular chair yoga sessions with remote working colleagues?

    Should I exercise? However you can, try to do it! Exercise brings with it many benefits both physically and mentally.

    Two illustrated people sitting under a tree

    Ways to make time for yourself

    All this talk of establishing routines and exercise takes physical time in your day.

    In order to make time for yourself, you need to take away the time you spend on other activities. The first step in regaining time for yourself is to identify what tasks or activities are compensating for your lack of time.

    After identifying the activities, take a minute and ask yourself how important is this activity to your wellbeing?

    If it’s not that important, then find ways to stop doing it. Here’s an example: Maybe you are spending a lot of time worrying about something that’s out of your control and the result is that you’re miserable. Start by working to recognise and accept that it’s out of your control, release the feelings towards it. Then once you accept you lack the control needed to manipulate the situation, you can be free of the time and energy you spend on it.

    Caring for yourself doesn’t need to take a lot of time, but it does require intention! It’s all about being mindful and thoughtful about how you spend your time. This is the real key to establishing a routine for yourself that will connect you with your health and wellbeing.

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    Tips on ways to maintain balance in your life

    One of the most important things is to know what you want. It may sound cliché, but in order for something to be meaningful, you have to truly care about it and want it. This means that if you are spending time on a certain thing, then it should be something that is meaningful and important to you.

    Another way to maintain balance in your life is to simplify. Simplifying means limiting the unnecessary clutter in your life so that you have more free time. One way of simplifying your life is by not overcommitting yourself; instead of taking up 10 commitments at one time, take on 2 commitments for now. Keep in mind the focus on balance and choose wisely.

    Creating a routine is an essential part of taking time for yourself. If you want to learn more ways to take time for yourself, it’s highly recommended that you check out The Happiness Project where Gretchen Rubin takes us through her year-long happiness project. Her book elaborates on how she not only made time for herself but how she established routines to manage her wellbeing. She does a really good job at explaining the importance of creating routines that will ensure your wellbeing and ends with an action plan that can be applied to any routine.

    Balance in your life is a personal thing, it has to feel right for you. If you have trouble with managing your health or feeling out of balance, try taking a look at the activities in your life and determine if they are important to you. If not, stop! Make time for what is important to you and focus on things that will bring you joy.

    An illustrated person stretching on a stability ball

    In conclusion

    Establishing a routine is a great way to take care of yourself, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed or your health and wellbeing feel out of balance. With so many commitments on our plates these days, it’s easy for things to feel overwhelming if we’re not careful about how we spend time on what matters most. The key here is being mindful and thoughtful about how you spend your time each day – and knowing that establishing routines may be just what you need in order to bring some balance back into your life! If this sounds daunting or too difficult, don’t worry: let us know and one of our volunteers will help you through the process.

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