Throughout my journey to self-love and acceptance, I’ve found that it’s super important to set habits that make it easier to being healthier over, both physically and mentally.
Habit #1: Drink lots and lots of water. I always have a 24 oz. water bottle with me, and make sure to drink around 1 full bottle for each 2 hour swim practice (I swim twice a day). In addition to that, I drink about 3 full bottles (75 oz.) during the school day. During dinner, I drink about 1 glass of water and 1 glass of unsweetened iced tea (currently obsessed with Tazo iced passion tea). One really helpful habit I’ve started to do is to drink about 1/2 cup of water before I eat. This helps to ensure that you don’t overeat. Something I’d do more of if I didn’t swim early in the mornings is to drink 1 full glass of water first thing in the morning. This just makes sure that you replenish the water and electrolytes you lose while asleep. The most useful thing anyone’s ever told me was that water is to your organs what oil is to your bike chains, helps everything fun smoothly.
Habit #2: Prioritize movement. Make sure that you get moving at every single day. That doesn’t mean that you have to go on a long run or spend an hour in the gym, get creative. Whether it’s taking your dog on a walk, take the stairs, or doing a short yoga routine at home, you will feel so much better once you’ve broken a sweat. Find a routine that works for you and fits your schedule. If you’re busy, sneak in 3 five minute workouts during your breaks, if you aren’t feeling too well, do a low intensity yoga routine, just as long as you get moving.
Habit #3: Eat multiple smaller meals throughout the day. For the past 3 years, I’ve been eating about 6 smaller meals throughout the day and I find that I don’t get that sluggish feeling I do when I’m really full and that I have more energy during the day. This is really easy when I’m at school since it works perfectly with my school schedule. My biggest meal is typically dinner (which is right after practice so I’m usually super hungry) and we usually have lots of meat, veggies and rice or pasta. For breakfast my go-to is granola with yoghurt which fills me up after morning practice. During the day I like to snack on cut fruit, peanut butter, pretzels, rice crackers and cut veggies.
Habit #4: Stock up on healthy snacks. When I’m at home for a long period of time doing homework or just sitting watching TV, I never have the energy to make myself a healthy snack, so instead of keeping easy-to-reach bags of chips of cookies around, stock up on healthy rice crackers, natural peanut butter, protein bars or chia drinks that are easy to grab when you have the munchies. If you have a sweet tooth, bake a batch of healthy coconut cookies or chocolate banana muffins for the week to grab whenever you want a sweet treat.
Habit #5: Find time to pamper yourself. My favorite ways to treat myself are to do my nails, put on a face mask (I use the Freeman Beauty masks, Indian Healing Clay and Lush masks), do a deep hair mask or take a bath with a Lush bath bomb. I try to do a combo of about 3 of those every week and I feel that it just rejuvenates me and makes me feel special. About once a month I do a full-out at home spa session where I take a bath, while I have a hair and face mask on watching my favorite shows. Then I get out and use my favorite lotion all over my body and do my nails in my room with candles lit. It’s important to take the time to pamper yourself, especially with such a hectic school or work schedule.
Habit #6: Meditate. This may sound a little hippie-ish, that’s what I thought when someone first told me about this, but it’s totally not! Since I don’t know how to meditate on my own, I found an app that has different types of meditations you can listen to. It’s called InSight Timer and it’s FREE! I use one when I’m going to sleep (sometimes) that lasts for about 18 minutes. I don’t do this every night, but I find that when I do, I sleep so much better.
Challenge yourself to add a new healthy habit to your routine, whether it’s one of these or something you come up with yourself. Your body and mind will thank you!