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October 5, 2022

Tips For Building Healthy Habits

Tatyana Sharpton

Tips For Building Healthy Habits

All we want as healthy, respectable adults is some time: time to do what we love and enough time to get all of our work and chores done to enjoy that time. 

Let’s be honest, time management is actually what we crave – something to physically move our bones to the beat of the clock, even as our fingers anxiously click our phone’s volume buttons or open and close apps we barely look at. (Ideally without the latter.)

Nobody can expand time unless you’re Hermione Granger with a time turner necklace, but what you can do is optimize the time you have. And we’re not talking about total workaholic optimization to make you an even faster hamster on the wheel. 

We’re talking about mindful approaches you can take to slow down your day. 

circadian rhythm. 

This crazy thing makes a huge difference! The National Institute of General Medical Sciences defines circadian rhythms as “natural processes that respond primarily to light and dark,” affecting “physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle.”  Most of us live our life completely oblivious to this, but when we accidentally align perfectly – we feel it.

As sleep finally begins to gain the facetime it deserves, natural supplement company Kion breaks it down in Sleep Hygiene 101, an article about mindfully assisting our circadian rhythms. Believe it or not, light, smell, sound and temperature all have an affect on how our bodies and systems go through the day and night. Going to bed and rising with the sun’s natural rhythms can help settle some of the displaced and unmanaged chaotic energy we feel.

block it out.

Take a look at what your day consists of. Like, actually consists of – not what you like to do or what you identify with. What do you do with your work time and your free time? 

Did you move to the beach to surf but spend more time surfing the web? Do you have a beautiful art studio conjoined to your bedroom but more often than not, you lay on your bed, hand glued to your phone, comforting yourself with the excuse of “relaxing?” 

Yes of course, we can’t be productive all the time; rest is important. But if you know, you know. Take a look at your day and imagine: what would you like to change? 

Start playing tetris with your day, blocks of hours representing activities.

maybe stop feeling bleh?

Dude, it’s real. You know it, you’ve heard about it…you’ve probably felt it when you eliminated certain foods in the past. Inevitably they always sneak back (unless you’re super diligent like some of our friends who train to compete) and start up their old shenanigans.

Some foods you can cut immediately to eliminate grog are alcohol, sugar and processed snacks. (Really all sugar, but this helps – right?) 

It’s so hard to quit snacking, and some of us are grazers by nature. If that’s you, make sure to stock your home with healthier snacks than the salted chips and salsa you might think you want. Have nuts and berries instead, or grab a handful of granola. Or find ways to make your favorite “cheat” snacks into healthier versions of themselves! 

Focus on packing your larger meals with lots of nutrients, healthy carbs and proteins and eventually, you may not even feel that snacky.

[Kick the Sugar, Optimize Your Training Fuel + Feel Better]

slow your scroll. really.

Addicted to your phone? Make it an active part of your day! You can leave it in the other room when you work, but when you give yourself phone time, instead of going to the old faithfuls, get yourself a new habit. 

We’re not saying that one escape is better than another, just suggesting if we’re going to spend more time than we want on our phones anyways, why not redirect that habit. *Cue compulsive opening of Instagram, Gmail, Poshmark, Instagram again.* Sometimes it’s just that mindless. 

Imagine what we could do if we spent that energy on our phones more mindfully. We’ve all tried to cut all our bad habits at once; this can be a way to cut down without superimposing so many restrictions that you run right back into the arms of your coping mechanisms.

The language-learning app Duolingo is one of the most addictive, productive phone games. It’s a game for grammar and language nerds, and we are here for it. The fitness-tracking Strava is also fun – you can track your workouts and give your friends kudos which feels like an oddly fun personalized social media. You know, like Facebook before it became (the late) Facebook.

[3 Breathing Exercises to Calm Your Nerves]

check in with you.

Notice where energy goes and redirect it accordingly. Yes, it’s a constant struggle. But, like any habit you decide to undertake, it will just take time. Set consistent check-points at which to check in with your progress. 

Day-to-day progress can be hard to measure but seeing how things shift over the weeks can help us chart our larger-scale progress. Start a journal, or even put stickers in your planner (any Virgos out there?) indicating your moods, or goal celebrations. 

Writing down our goals can be fun, but sometimes it can feel overwhelming; we get stuck in the dreaming stage.  Remember to get out of the notebook and into the world – working out your ideas in real time. And don’t get hung up on getting it perfect every day; remember: “little by little, a little becomes a lot” – a Tanzanian proverb.

Whether it’s learning a new language instead of scrolling through memes, or waking up earlier to go on that run, at the end of the day only you can look at your life – your collection of days and tiny meaningful and meaningless moments – and see all you’ve done. If the 80-year old you came up to you now with a silver platter on which everything you’ve done in life danced before your eyes like an art retrospective, would you like what you saw? 

Embrace the process. Remember that you’re at the beginning of something great, but the beginning of anything will feel like you’re crawling. To think changes happen overnight is a bad habit; reminding yourself that they happen over time as a result of incremental changes is a much better one.

What would you change?

Do it.


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