The change of seasons is a great time to reflect on your year so far and to begin to implement changes to finish on a positive note. Looking at your personal habits is a great place to start. WE will often look back on how we could have made better choices and wallow in “could have’s and should have’s”, but we CAN try.
Here are some tips for building healthier habits as the year finally comes to an end and we look ahead to new beginnings, making better choices, and learning to quiet ourselves.
Quality sleep underlies almost every healthy aspect of your life. If you’re not getting restful sleep, it can affect your health and mental health in adverse ways. Start by assessing your current sleep habits to see if they are contributing to poor sleep.
I know how hard it is my sweet friend to go to bed at a decent time my friend. Those of us that are mamas often stay up way later than the kiddos to “get things done” or “have some quiet time”. I absolutely understand. That’s why I am going to put in some real effort this year in trying to change my sleep habits to help me with my health.
Having always been a night owl I have noticed that the older I get the less my body wants to function well late into the night. Then I often turn to non-healthy items to help stimulate my brain (candy, sweet tea, anything laced in sugar actually) and I tend to make very poor choices. Good thing I have some help in correcting those mistakes. This is a priority for me as I look to reset my health and learn to better manage my time.
Here are some new habits you might want to try. Get into the habit of powering down naturally before bedtime to give your mind and body a chance to decompress before crawling into bed. Try a warm bath before bed. Read instead of watching TV. Turn your phone off and resist going online (this is my number one issue). Diffuse calming essential oilsto help you relax.
Try Warm Beverages in the Morning
With the change in climate in the fall and winter, you can still enjoy your healthy drinks in the morning, but it might be a good time to switch to warmer drinks. If you aren’t a coffee drinker (we can’t be friends, I’m sorry. LOL), try some hot tea, hot chocolate, or even drink a glass of warm lemon water in the morning. The water will hydrate you, give you some natural energy, and be a great start to your day.
As long as you are taking a moment to soothe your body with a warm beverage I’m sure it will lighten your mood and get you going for the day. As a coffee drinker, I tend to have a favorite mug that I use depending on how I’m feeling in the morning. Need a boost to productivity? Need a sweet reminder of His peace? Need to just chug it and get moving? There is a mug for that. Whatever mug you enjoy, fill it up and tackle your day.
Use a Journal or Planner
To improve your productivity and find more clarity in your life, consider using a planner or journal in the morning. You can set your alarm for about 20-30 minutes earlier than normal so that you have enough time to write in your planner in the morning. Journaling is great with any daily routine, but there are some different benefits between using it in the morning or evening. Try both to see which you prefer.
There are lots of ways to utilize a journal or planner. You can plan out your day in advance or you can write down what you accomplished during the day in the evening. I have found that writing what I did during the day allows me to see that I was productive even when I didn’t think that I was. Like reading to my kids or talking on the phone to one of my sisters.
A sweet friend says that this is what you do when you just need to be Better Over Perfect. The Lord allowed me to meet a sweet lady named Erika at a conference and she spoke to my heart about a lot of things, including being okay with lacking perfection as long as I continue to try to do better. As in, doing better because I could never be perfect; only Jesus is truly perfect.
Hygge (hue-guh) is the Danish practice of being cozy, comfortable, and relaxed. You spend more time just winding down and enjoying your downtime, instead of trying to constantly be running around keeping busy. You can actually use your daily planner to fit hygge in your days, and add it to your daily routine. This can also be considered a great way to practice learning the art of simple and quiet. The Little Book of Hygge is a good read on learning this cozy and relaxing way of life and learning to enjoy what and who you have around you every day.
I know this may sound odd coming from me but this is one of the best ways I have found to relax. Knowing that the Danish actually have a word for being cozy, comfortable, and relaxed sort of allows me to breathe easier and truly “take a moment” when needed. As long as you don’t put too much stock into hygge but learn to enjoy contentedness, you are on the right track.
Add in Gentle Exercise
While you don’t need to have an intense workout program, regular exercise is an important part of staying healthy. Why not add in some gentle exercise every day? Start something you haven’t done before, like quiet walks in the morning or hiking over the weekend, or pick up an old activity you haven’t participated in for a while.
Let me be really transparent here. Most of these tips are directed straight back at me. I am in terrible shape physically and must get a handle on it immediately. Seriously, time is moving on and I’m lagging behind way more than I would like to admit. Therefore, know that ALL of these suggestions are shared because I am in dire need of them myself.
And listen, ultimately this is an article for encouragement. In this way I want you to know that there is no condemnation in trying and learning that these ideas aren’t working like you thought. The ONLY way to truly create change is to dig deep into the Word and lean in HARD to our Savior. He is the way we can achieve true rest, a spiritual reset, and yes, even a healthier lifestyle.
Prayer and Devotional Time
So, last but by no means least, try a simple devotional and 5 minutes of prayer time. If I accomplish nothing else in this world, it is that I dig myself into the Word of my Lord. I have a few devotionals coming in the mail – one I desperately must use for my health and spiritual health – and one because I love, simply love, Laura Story.
Each devotional I read and Biblical book I have read over the last few years has made me evaluate just exactly how my walk with Jesus truly is. I am sorely lacking my friend. But God.
He always shows up when I need Him. He listens when I pray. He never leaves me. He never forsakes me. I am still His. He is still sovereign, in control, and on His throne.
Sweet friend, let us determine that new days are offered by our loving Savior so that we can try one more time to get it right, no better.
Many wonderful blessings to you.
Big hugs as we walk this journey to better spiritual health, mental health, and physical health.
He’s got this – and He’s got you and me.
In His Grace,