This week, a friend confided in me that her life has kind of plateaued. It’s not that she is especially unhappy, but she isn’t really happy either.
She has a great job, awesome relationship, wonderful family, you name it, but something is missing. More often than we know, I think people get stuck in this weird middle ground where, on paper, everything looks great, but for some reason, it doesn’t feel that way.
Over the last few months, I have done my best to infuse my life with some healthy habits. A little heart to heart moment here: I have never felt better. If you’re like my friend and feel like your day-to-day can be lackluster or downright depressing, let me be your guru for just a minute.
I’m going to tell you my secrets. It all comes down to this: eat, sleep, read, laugh, journal, exercise, meditate, dig deep, and enjoy. These nine lifestyle tweaks have become a recipe for me to live a fuller, happier, more purposeful life.
- Eat good food that is good for you. Junk food weighs you down, makes you feel bad, and is only satisfying for a minute. I mean, you know what you got to do. Do it.
- Get enough sleep. This has been somewhat of a non-negotiable for me for a long time. I can be a real grump if I’m running on empty. Your body needs sleep, and in my life, my friends need me to get sleep too.
- I am a true believer in reading. As a student, people think it’s crazy that I read so much outside of the piles of books required for class, but the benefits are huge. When you get sucked into a story, it gets you out of your own head. It is a short break from you own life and problems, and I think that separation is really healthy. Reading helps you gain perspective and pulls you out of the center of your universe.
- There is something to the idea that laughter is medicine. The word ‘fun’ is right there in the word ‘funny.’ When the daily grind starts to feel extra stale, Conan, Friends, and The Big Bang Theory are quick fixes. This is one of the easiest ways to lift your spirits.
- Journaling is therapeutic in that it helps put thoughts to rest. If something is just nagging at me, writing it down helps me move along. Also remember not to feel like you have to record every moment of every day. I think that’s why a lot of people quit journaling. You’re writing for you. Make it what you want. Don’t even write full sentences if you don’t want to.
- Just like healthy eating, I’m 99% positive you know the how and why when it comes to exercise. Do it. You’ll feel better, look better, have less stress, and live longer. Duh.
- Meditation is new for me, but it’s not kooky and wacky and weird. This has probably been the most powerful of the nine ingredients in making my life better. Just looking at today, have you taken a moment to breathe deep, clear your thoughts, and relax? We wear our stress and overworked days as a badge of honor, but it bogs us down. Make an intentional effort to slow down and pause. Be kind to yourself and you’ll feel the benefit.
- Digging deep is my way of reconnecting with meaning. I hate feeling like I am a robot programmed to complete to-do lists. By taking time to grow my spiritual life, help others through volunteer work, and live loved, my days are filled with purpose.
- The last component is enjoy. It is easy to forget simple, little things that make you happy. For me, it’s hot tea and pedicures. Its Zumba classes and cooking for people. Its watching the sun come up and singing karaoke. I had a moment one day when I finally realized I had been denying myself these things and many others for a long time. The daily grind put blinders on me, and the days were just passing by. Surround yourself with the little things that make life a little sweeter.
These nine tweaks have a common denominator: take some time for you. You only get one life. You only get 24 hours today and 7 days this week and 4 weeks this month and 12 months this year. How many of those have passed by you, have you wished away, or were working so hard and going so fast it’s like they didn’t even happen? Then, all of the sudden, the feeling catches up with you and realize the time is gone. Start today.
Jessica Casebolt, a former Miss Kentucky, is a correspondent for the The Lane Report. You can reach her at [email protected]