Some Of The Healthy Habits We’ve Followed To Stay Well
Healthy habits – we all want them, and sometimes they are just impossible to maintain. Are we right? Have we described you? If you’re reading this, you are not alone!
It’s funny – there are plenty of charts, essays, programs, pictures, and articles out there about healthy habits. But most of them never seemed to resonate with us. So, we wanted to write about healthy habits and our experience with them over the course of our lives.
Like many, we’ve been through some ups and downs over the years. The past year – in particular – has been difficult with things that were beyond our control. It was often more difficult to practice self-care – like picking up a book or eating healthy – but we made it through.
So, here are a few tips that help us stay focused on healthy habits we want to maintain. Whether you’re a student, young professional, married with kids or retired, these tips are universal – just think about them for you!
Spend Time Outdoors
Okay, the first healthy habit: get outside. No, seriously. If you are reading this on mobile – take us with you but go read this article on a park bench. We’ll wait for you to make the transition.
(cue cheesy elevator music)
If even if you can’t go outside right this second, make it a point. It’s obviously better to be outside in the warm spring, summer, or fall months – but winter can be relaxing if you are dressed appropriately.
Being outside – and especially in nature – is a great way to relax, de-stress, and get some fresh air. We aren’t meant to be cooped up in an office all day. If you can get away for longer (like on the weekend) then consider going for a hike. There are plenty of conservation areas or parks around us – and often the green spaces near our houses offer the best tranquility.
We love getting outside for long walks or even short hikes. Exercise plus nature is a pretty good combination – and you often don’t realize it until after you’ve been outside for a session.
Declutter Your Life
This is one that we have been struggling with in the past but we are definitely getting a handle on as we grow up and realize what is important to us (in terms of material possessions).
Yes, you might have heard of Marie Kondo – and we are honestly big fans of her method. If you don’t know what we are talking about, then check out this post on tips and how we decluttered our clothing/home using her method.
Decluttering is a positive habit that can help to take the weight off of your life. Honestly. When we were getting rid of bags of clothing to give to charity we could feel the weight physically come off of our shoulders. There was like a tightness in our chest that was removed from reducing the clutter we had accumulated. No joke. Try it for yourself.
We also have a small space so it was especially important to find good storage solutions for our clothes with no closet. Besides buying a storage solution that works for us, just getting rid of clothing we truly didn’t need was a big help in that!
Be A Mindful Consumer
Going along with the idea of decluttering – we have also become more conscious of what we already own, how much we consume (both material possessions, waste, and food), and have acted to reduce it.
With food, we make sure to only buy what we need, we use almost everything, and we try to buy in bulk so we use less plastic packaging.
When it comes to clothes, we realized that we really only wear the same things over and over again. So, we got rid of the items we truly didn’t need and made a point of wearing the clothes we already had in the closet.
Basically we didn’t buy new clothes for a whole year – and this saved a ton of money as well as storage space. We have all the pieces we need for a full wardrobe full of different combinations – and that’s perfect for us.
Be a Lifelong Learner
Another great habit with positives effects on our lives is being a lifelong learner. This one is something that Bruce has taken with him from back when he was a teenager. He had a mentor who always said that “we stop learning when we finish formal schooling – and this shouldn’t be”.
We think he has a great point – that you can (and should) continue to “learn” at any age. It’s not uncommon to hear of seniors enrolling in university courses because they want o keep their mind active and engaged! That said, “learning” doesn’t have to just mean school – it can be hobbies or ideas that we pick up.
One of the things that we think stops people from being lifelong learners is that we are afraid of failure. Actually, we can learn a whole bunch from failure – no successful person in history got to where they were by making perfect choices all the way through. They had to learn from their mistakes to perfect whatever it was that they did!
For us, learning takes the form of many things. Lisa is big into trying new healthy recipes like buckwheat banana pancakes while Bruce is focused on photography and video. You might want to get into blogging – and we know a thing or two about that!
Live In The Present
Living in the present is another one of those ideas that we think scares people away because they aren’t “deep” or “spiritual” enough. Living in the present has nothing to do with spirituality or your beliefs. It simply means that you stop to take the time to acknowledge where you are at that exact moment – both physically and mentally.
For us, being people who constantly worry about the past and/or the future – living in the present is like a “reset” button to come back to reality at the present moment. It’s simply about awareness. This can be when you’re out for dinner with friends or going for a hike. Wherever you are – try to “be there”.
One of the ideas that help with this is “mindfulness”. There are great mindfulness apps that can help you understand more of what it is about. M
Put Your Well-being First
Connected to many of these points already, a great healthy habit is to put your well-being first. This is no to say that you should stop caring about others and have no compassion. All that we mean is that your wellness is important – and when your wellness is in check, you can then be in a place to help others with achieving theirs.
One way to do this – to put you first – is to practice self-care. Self-care is kind of a buzz word these days – but not without reason. It basically just means to take care of yourself. This could be getting more sleep, reading a book to relax, or doing activities that empower or de-stress you.
Putting your well-being first is also about thinking about yourself and not blindly following your friends, your partner, your family, or otherwise. Ultimately, you need to do with is right for you.
This is probably the healthy habit #1 on everyone’s list and it’s the one that always falls off the rails. Right? It’s easy to say “eat healthy” but actually doing it can be a true struggle – and this is for a whollllle bunch of complicated reasons.
Eating healthy makes you feel good – that much we know. Actually doing it comes down to willpower and forming habits that you can repeat. For example, we basically eat a salad for lunch each day. We miss the odd day but generally we eat a salad that we think is tasty and made with ingredients we like. For us, that works. It’s a repeatable habit we have formed.
For you, it might take reducing the sugar you eat by switching out unhealthy snacks for healthy ones (that are just as tasty but in different ways). Often, people feel like they have “no time” to eat healthy – but there are ways to eat well even if you think you simply cannot.
Another point we make is cooking at home and not eating out. We save a ton of money this way but we also then control what we are putting into our bodies. This is a good habit to form and just nice peace of mind since food served at restaurants often contains a lot more oil and or salt than home-cooked meals.
Overall, there are plenty of ways to change up your eating. You don’t have to do it all at once (you can if you want) – but baby steps are fine!
Practice Self Reflection
Ah yes, the “fluffy” topics that people talk about – but it’s always hard to get onboard. Right? Did we just describe you? If so, that’s okay. Self-reflection is NOT that hard to do and it’s not that crazy of an idea. In fact, we think that people self reflect in their daily life more than they might think – which is a good think.
Our point is that self-reflection is a good habit to have because it helps you to stop, focus, and assess whether you are doing what it is that you need to be doing. This goes for work, school, and life in general.
It’s really not that hard – just stop at the end of each day and think to yourself “Did I have a good day today? Would I change anything about today? Did what I did today help me get to where I want to be in the future?”
Depending on what you find, you can make changes – big or small – to eventually help you live a positive life. That’s all self reflection is – it’s just awareness. It’s not some guru BS that you can only do after special training. You can certainly improve over time and with guidance, but you can start doing it now.
If you are still struggling with it, one way that helped us is to write things down in a journal. Writing down the ideas in your head is good because i gets them out on paper, you have to think about them before you write them, and you
Have an Open Mindset
This one is pretty simple but a very powerful habit to have. Having an open mindset means a whole bunch of things: this can be regarding trying food, experiences, meeting people, going places, learning about cultures, hobbies, etc.
Bruce found out years ago that being a “yes man” was one of the best ways he could live a full life the way he wanted. You don’t have to be a “yes person” like in the famous movie with Jim Carrey (watch it if you haven’t seen it) – but being open to life is definitely something we strive for.
Travelling helps to develop this mindset, too. Seeing different people in different cultures living their way is super valuable for perspective and challenging your thoughts and ideas. It definitely helps us keep an open mind – and has helped to shift our mindset for the better, we think.
We touched upon this briefly in the section about getting outdoors but this one is more about the exercise itself. It’s important to get moving – and it doesn’t have to be super tough workouts. Like, you don’t have to start doing Crossfit all of a sudden (unless you really want to, in which case – kudos!),
All that we mean is that our bodies love to move. Even ending each day with a simple stretching routine can help loosen your body up and relieve tightness/tension. Do this over a few days and the difference can be noticable.
We like to be more active (but usually fall off the wagon when it comes to consistency). That said, we do get around to yoga or pilates with YouTube videos in our living room. We also get out for long walks and once the weather is a
Bruce is big into sports but there doesn’t seem to be any sport leagues where we currently live. So he might have to recruit Lisa for kicking a ball around or throwing a frisbee!
Value Your Connections
The last one is self-explanatory but super important to
Your valued connections can be anyone – family, friends, people at work, your community, whoever. The point is to make it a point to FaceTime people far away to catch up and going for coffee with people close by. You can even create new meaningful connections through community activities.
We’ve found that maintaining connections helps us feel loved and “not alone” in the battles we face in life. Because basically everyone is going through some “thing” and everyone’s thing is different from other people’s!
And there you have it – 11 healthy habits that have guided and shaped our lives the past few years (and mainly the past few months). Some we definitely gravitate towards more than others – but we try to incorporate them all. It can be tough – so try your best and know that that’s a good start! Which ones do you focus on? Let us know!
As always, Stay Curious,
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