The thing about mindfulness.
The thing about mindfulness is that it's a slippery slope...in the best way. When you start the process of being mindful of your wellness in one area, it starts to leak into other areas too.
It's safe to say we all have a few ways we want to get our life in order, but it can feel overwhelming to start. Comparison from social media can be our worst enemy. With everyone putting their best face forward, it's easy to mindlessly scroll, telling ourselves "my life could never look like that" or "they're so put together, I'm too much of a mess".
In the last six months, I've had a realization. Overall, we get to decide what we want our life to look like. Of course, there are outside factors and privileges that play a part, but when it comes to little habits that make up our life, we have more control than we sometimes think. I was once again reminded of that recently, when my husband and I cooked our first Thanksgiving meal together, starting our own family holiday traditions. I put out the table settings and laid out the food, so proud of the spread we'd created and realized, "Wow, we get to make our life the way we want it to be."
Before we get into it, I want to give you a challenge for when you fall into comparison. Instead of saying "that could never be me" or "I wish my life looked like that", start saying "wow, I think I could do that". I also want to challenge you to slow down (I'm talking to myself here!). We LOVE instant gratification and constant entertainment. Something in me changed recently, shifting my focus to trying to slow down more and prioritize things that center my emotions and calm my anxiety.
In all this, I've been pinpointing different habits in my life that I want to adjust to be healthy, alert, and balanced. Some of these are things I feel like I've been nailing lately, and others are areas I still need to do quite a bit of work on. But I wanted to share them all to hopefully inspire others to take charge of their life, one little habit at a time.
First, I am truly OBSESSED with my skincare routine.
I know it's a bit cliche and basic (remember that basic isn't always bad!), but truthfully it's been so centering for me. It's exciting knowing that I'm putting good things on my skin that are nourishing them and knowing that taking care of my skin now at twenty-four will show in how my skin looks in twenty years. Something about it has soothed me. Like I said before, we LOVE dopamine rushes and instant gratification, and something as simple as a skincare routine doesn't always offer that. Of course, I love the glow of my skin after all my oils and creams are on it, but there's a peace and centering in knowing that I'm loving myself and the body I have for the long term.
Second, and something I honestly am far from mastering, is getting more sleep.
I am a night owl. I always have been. Even though I'll fall asleep instantly if you throw a movie on, I find myself staying up WAY too late. Sometimes I'm working, reading, scrolling, talking with my husband or friends, or knitting even, but some clock in my head tells me to stay awake way past when I should. I think it stems from having so many things I want to do, but I've noticed how much my productivity actually decreases on six hours of sleep which is sadly where I find myself sometimes.
Like I said, this one is still very much a work in progress for me, but something I've found that's helped is actually my skincare routine. I set an alarm every day to complete my skincare routine at the same time. I'm 90% more likely to go to bed at a reasonable time if my makeup is off, my skin is clean and glowing, and I'm in the nighttime routine mode. This is a little thing that's helped me wind down. Maybe check back in with me in a couple of months because I'm determined to master this one.
Third, switching alcohol out for tea.
I got married in September and we had a TON of extra alcohol. Similar to how I am with sugar, it's tough to not have a glass or two of wine every night when we have cases on our bar cart. I found myself having at least two drinks a night and I noticed a huge difference in how my body and mind felt. It affected my sleep, my mental clarity, and overall energy level. In an attempt to balance my hormones, I decided to switch out my evening wine or seltzer with some herbal tea. I've noticed SUCH a difference. The biggest thing is I don't miss the alcohol. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a glass of wine and still enjoy it sparingly. But a nightly routine of tea, filled with nourishment and stress relievers is much better for my mind, body, and hormones. Personally, I've been loving turmeric or mint tea.
Fourth, listening to more podcasts.
I love noise. I always have music on no matter what I'm doing. And of course, I still love my playlists. As a musician myself, it gives me so much life and inspiration. But lately, I've switched out a lot of that noise for podcasts. I used to listen to some heavier podcasts that talked a lot about religion and politics, but I found that to be too much on a daily basis for my emotions. I switched to funnier, more light-hearted, and inspiring ones and I've seen how it's improved my mood.
Some of my favorites include What We Said (which I listen to every day on my commute to and from work), Middle Ground, Oversharing with the Overbys, Anything Goes, Easy Going, and On Purpose. Whether they're inspiring, entertaining, educational, or just a reminder that there are other people who think like me, listening to more light-hearted and inspiring podcasts has really helped center me and keep me productive and focused.
Fifth, deleting the Amazon app and supporting small businesses.
I'm kind of ashamed to say it, but I was a big Amazon girl not that long ago. Of course, it's not all bad. There are a lot of small businesses that sell on Amazon that are great to support. But there are also a lot of unethical corporations that benefit from Amazon when we could
be using our money to support a real person. I fell into such consumerism and a convenience mindset. Especially with how much I love clothing and how much my style has been evolving in the last year, it was so easy to see a cute top on Instagram, immediately switch to Amazon, search for something similar, and have it on my door in just a couple of days. But I started to feel a little gross. I don't need that much stuff and I definitely don't need these things at my door at the snap of a finger.
There are SO many people out there working hard, starting businesses where every dollar counts. We can choose to drive to a local skincare studio to purchase our skincare instead of ordering it on Amazon or grabbing a baseball cap from a local coffee shop instead of scowering online. And overall we just DON'T NEED that much stuff. Recently, I've been cleaning out my closet every couple of weeks and reassessing what I don't even need anymore. I don't need to replace it every time, I just need to pair it down. While there are still things that I purchase on Amazon or Target or other large companies, there are always things we can switch out to support small businesses online or in our communities. This is another one that I'm constantly working on and still learning to switch over.
Sixth, scrolling Instagram less.
There's something about Instagram that inspires me and excites me but also just sucks the life out of me. Something about all the likes and comments and searching for validation is draining. I think it's an amazing platform and an incredible tool, but I think everyone needs to draw boundaries with the app. I still love me some outfit inspiration but switching to platforms like Pinterest has helped. There's still comparison you can battle, but something about it feels more like inspiration than competition (not that anything should ever be a competition, but Instagram can really test me sometimes). Not everyone might feel this way, but I've found other substitutes have also helped me cut back on Instagram like knitting or designing on my iPad.
Lastly, prioritizing community.
Whether it's a small or large group, prioritizing the people in your life does wonders for your overall wellness. At the end of the day, when I look back on my life so far, I ALWAYS first think of the sweet memories I have with friends. Sure, I think of the places I've traveled to, but that always includes the company I kept. The things that pop into my head are the fires on the beach, roadtrips, hikes, camping experiences, fits of laughter and adventurous moments with people I love, emphasis on the people. Taking time to be present with the people I love is SO valuable. I never want to look back and see that I wasted so much time with amazing people looking at my phone.
These are just a few areas that I'm focusing on to build overall wellness in my life. The list goes on, there are SO many small things we can adjust in our life to make a BIG difference. Hopefully, this can inspire you. I'd love to hear what your little lifestyle changes to promote greater wellness are! Until next time, wishing you all of the inspiration and health!