Maybe it’s a mid-quarter life crisis, or maybe I am just part of the avocado-obsessed, self-loving millennial generation that everyone loves to hate, but lately I've embraced a more conscious style of living. With all the bad news we've faced recently, I found anxiety and depression creeping back into my life (check out my article on Pink Neon Lips where I discuss anxiety in further detail) and it became obvious that I needed to make some changes or I wouldn’t survive the divisive political environment and technology overload we face on a daily basis. Here are some small steps I've taken on my journey to be the best person I can be, making the most out of this one precious life. Keep in mind, I am not a nutritionist or counselor. This is not a list of advice as much as it is a reflection on my own personal growth. My hope is that it will inspire you to think more about how you are living your life, and how you can change it for the better by living with intention.
I Turned Off the News I didn't make this change until a couple of days ago but WOW, what a difference it has made. I unfollowed all news stations on social media because I was being bombarded with negativity and it was exhausting. I still check the news about twice a day, but now I am in charge of what I see. Bad news can no longer show up in my life uninvited.
We Take More Walks Devoting more time to walking our dog has been therapeutic for all members of our little household. It gives my husband and I time to reflect on our day without the distraction of phones or Netflix. It has been a really easy way to reconnect with nature and instantly relieve stress.
I've Let Sh*t Go “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you're living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” I have a bad habit of carrying around old baggage. I mean, some of these bags have been around for decades and they are HEAVY. As hard and simple as it is, the only way to find peace is to let this luggage go.
I've Let People Go, Too We have hundreds of friends on our social media accounts and measure our worth by the number of likes we get. But is there actually a correlation between likes and personal satisfaction? I have consciously unfriended people in real life and online. I've been deleted by friends after expressing my political views, and that is okay. Our political views are based on our deepest moral beliefs, so if they don’t mesh, that is alight. I still respect all of these people, but I do not want their negativity to interrupt my daily life. The point of life is not to get along with everyone we meet, it is to do the best we can with what we were given. Sometimes we simply lose people on the way to finding our greatness.
I Starting Loving More Here is the absolute worst part about life – it ends. Everyone's does, so you better appreciate people while they are around! I have started to value people more and forgive their negative traits. I’ve made more of an effort to build myself up and make others feel good about themselves. Hug more, worry less, don’t be petty or hold grudges. Call people out when they are cutting themselves or others down and encourage them to spread kindness instead. I have finally started to love myself enough to tell myself kind words.
I Started Eating Like My Life Depends On It ...because it does. I have been a vegetarian for almost my entire life but I didn’t really understand nutrition until my late twenties. We were never taught how to eat to feel good. If anything the nutrition lessons we learned in school were geared towards losing weight and ended up being harmful to our self-image. I had to learn to cook for myself when I moved out on my own and it took about a decade to finally get it right. Once I started paying more attention to how I felt after eating certain foods and I let go of the protein myth, I started looking and (more importantly) FEELING better. I have heard so much nutrition advice over my lifetime but it really came down to this realization: some foods help our body and some hurt them, so I started to eat more good and less bad foods. I try to eat primarily fresh, organic veggies and fruit, everything else in moderation.
I’m Constantly Prioritizing I know this sounds stressful, but hear me out. One thing about turning thirty is realizing that time, money and energy are all limited and should be prioritized. I’ve started to re-examine my daily habits and looking for inefficiencies. For example, we started buying in bulk to save money….but we are also decreasing our household waste and time spent on trips to the store. I have prioritized my spending by asking myself whether I NEED something, or if I just WANT it right now. Nothing I buy is going to make me as happy as the freedom that comes from having a healthy savings account. Once I really understood the value of time, I wanted to waste as little of it as possible on things that didn't matter or tasks that made me unhappy.
I’ve Stopped Comparing Myself Because social media runs the world, we’re constantly comparing ourselves to everyone around us, often subconsciously. I even find myself comparing myself to a better version of me, asking what I would look like if I had never stopped running, how much money I could have made had I never quit the career path I was on, etc. But why do we do this? Is there some alternate universe where fitter and richer versions of us live? Or are we just sabotaging our own happiness by holding ourselves to an impossible standard? I decided to start loving myself unconditionally because it got too exhausting to do anything else. I decided to define my own version of success and figure out how to make it attainable. In a world where people exaggerate how great their lives are, it’s important to remember that we are all the same inside, we are all a little insecure and jealous. It’s our reactions to these emotions that determine our health and happiness.