I have a confession to make. I’m a health coach and I ate chips & salsa for dinner last night. Not like an appetizer. That was my meal. And I chased it with a glass of wine.
I want to tell you that was just a one time thing. But it wasn’t.
Does that make me a bad health coach? Or worse yet, does that make me an unhealthy human?
The answers are no and no.
The wellness industry is doing all of us a disservice by flooding us with images of green smoothies (which I love) and yoga classes (which are my favorite). It gives the impression that you have to have a lot of time, money, and self-control in order to be healthy. But that simply isn’t true.
That’s why I’ve compiled five things I do daily that take nearly no time to stay healthy. They’re not hard. They don’t require a gym and cost exactly $0. They’re not exactly “Instagram” worthy. But they 100% count as wellness.
Here’s a quick (does 10 min count as quick?) video about five things I do to stay healthy. If ten minutes is TLDW (too long didn’t watch), the summary is below.
This one seems obvious. And it is. But I pay attention to my breath. When it’s shallow and my jaw is locked, it means that I’m stressed. So I take a nice long deep breath. It immediately helps relieve my stress. And it turns out less stress makes it easier to manage my weight and keeps my skin clear.
2. Move your body!
Raise your hand if wellness sometimes feels like code for “diet culture”? I feel that. In fact, I’ve been guilty of practicing and promoting that.
I grew up playing seven sports. When I was a kid, moving my body wasn’t about “looking” a certain way. It was about fun and expression.
In college it morphed into going to the gym to try to lose the Freshman 30 I had packed on.
Post-college it became about managing my mental health in the wake of two traumas.
Now, as a yoga teacher and fitness instructor, I can honestly say that moving my body isn’t about looking perfect in a body suit (though that is something I care about). It’s genuinely about staying connected to my body. Showing it the love it deserves. And managing my stress.
I do not workout every day. I’m lucky if I workout 3 days a week. But I do move my body every day. I walk my dog. I dance party while getting ready in the morning. I do a 5-minute yoga routine. I do something. And I celebrate it as doing something instead of punishing myself for not doing enough.
3. Drink water.
Nutrition is the final frontier of my wellness journey. I know why to eat healthy. I feel great when I eat healthy. But it is the hardest habit for me to stay committed to. When I’m stressed or busy I eat whatever is in front of me.
That’s why I drink as close to 64 oz. of water every day. It’s the easiest nutrition habit I can stick to. And even though it seems simple, it makes a big difference.
We’re 60-70% water. So drinking water is necessary to replenishing the essence of us. It also helps with keeping your skin glowing and managing your mood.
4. Throw gratitude like confetti.
I’m an expert at getting wrapped up in my own dramatic inner monologue. Nothing stresses me out like my overactive imagination. So when I’m feeling particularly sad or down, I sprinkle gratitude on my friends.
Gratitude is shown to improve self compassion, wonder, awe, connection, and triggers our relaxation response. Plus it’s so simple and it makes other people feel great too.
Next time you’re feeling down, pull out your phone and text 5 people. Tell them you’re thinking about them and grateful they’re in your life. Then ask if there’s something you can do to show up for them. Then watch the magic unfold!
5. Don’t be hard on yourself.
A couple months after I started my wellness business, I started to notice my own self care game suffer. I started sending emails past 11 pm. I wasn’t working out as often. I wasn’t holding or even setting strong boundaries. I felt like a total fraud and failure.
“Who am I to be teaching people about health and self care if I’m not perfect at it?”
That was a real thought that ran through my head on repeat. And it led to some epic self sabotage. I stopped seeing clients and started rethinking my whole business.
Then it dawned on me, I’m not trying to teach robots how to take care of themselves. I’m teaching human beings. Human beings aren’t perfect. I’m not perfect. So staying healthy has to allow us all to be human. Which means, some days we’ll crush our wellness routine. Some weeks, even months, life will happen to us and we will not be on our A-game. That’s okay.
So don’t take wellness religiously. It’s a wonderful, imperfect, lifelong practice.