Top Tips Toward Wellness
Unless you've been living under a rock this past year, you've been inundated with wellness information about diet, exercise, toxins, happiness and the like. One day caffeine is bad for you, the next day, maybe not. Wine or chocolate? Enough water or too much? Cutting through the ever-changing dos and don'ts, I offer general wellness strategies I find helpful for myself and my clients. These are my top tips.
- Create your definition of wellness.Wellness is about being the best you can be physically, emotionally and spiritually. The trick is to figure out what that means for you, but without leaving out any of the dimensions. Do you feel good about yourself in each of those areas? If not, what needs to change so you will feel better?
- Create wellness goals and commit to them. Choose a few things to work on in this New Year. Set a few long-term goals as well. If these goals don't include exercise, eating right and sleeping enough, go back and reconsider them. Push your limits occasionally. Develop routines to maintain these new habits.
- Make mindful choices. Making good choices means being present for yourself and considering what you want to say yes to and, consequently, what you want to say no to. When you say yes to the pizza, you're implicitly saying no to the healthy meal. Yes to the television means no to reading, exercise or socializing. Take time to think about the choices you make and take responsibility for those choices.
- Make it fun. Whether it's seeing the humor in a dark situation, having your weekly dose of SNL, enjoying a night of trivia with friends, or a hike with a view, figure out what makes you smile and laugh and be sure you make time for it. Savor it.
- Be caring and connected. As the late Chris Peterson taught us, people matter. Surround yourself with people you care about. It's good if these people help you feel valued and appreciated, and even better if you do the same for them. It's also useful to have some folks with wellness goals similar to yours. Many argue that being connected also means having a connection to the planet.
- Be compassionate. No one follows their wellness plan perfectly, makes great choices all the time and is always kind. Give yourself the gift of compassion, learn from your mistakes and move forward, being kind to yourself and to others.
- Find solitude. You need connection, but you also must have alone time to contemplate, know yourself, relax and reboot. It's easy to become overwhelmed by life's demands and to lose track of where you were headed. Solitude helps you get back on track when you're lost.
- Find meaning. Find meaning in something. It could be work, a cause or taking in strays (animals, people, it doesn't matter). There has to be something in your life that's worth getting up for. Something with which you are engaged. Some contribution you are making. You may be doing it already, but sometimes you have to stop in order to see the meaning in it.
Even if you're already considering dropping some of your New Year's resolutions, it's not too late to recommit or commit to a couple of new ones. If you do, you can look forward to waking up with confidence, energy and enthusiasm for the day. That's how you'll know you're on the right track.
Pursuing the Good Life: 100 Reflections on Positive Psychology, Christopher Peterson
Take Five, Dave Brubeck
At Last, Etta James
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