As we step into August with our last month of summer, before we head into the busyness of fall where we tend to set fast-paced last trimester goals, I want to invite you to start adding small changes to your routine now to help you reinvent the way you live, lead and thrive.
We're not talking about overhauling your life, but rather to bring into your life a few lifestyle steps you can take (that you'll actually want to keep) to be your healthiest and happiest right now... small changes that you love, lead to more vitality, radiance, joy, inner richness, success and impact!
11 Things You Can Do Right Now To Be Your Healthiest And Happiest Self
1. Connect With Yourself
Whether you are in a place of stress or serenity, it’s important to check in with yourself daily. In the similar way that you might work out to take care of your body, you want to take care of your mind and your emotions. So checking in with how your body feels, how stressed or relaxed you might be, what your mood is, or how well you’re sleeping... these are a great way to be kind and present with yourself. The more you are attuned to your feelings and needs, the easier it is to live a happy and healthy life. Ask yourself these questions:
What am I feeling? What do I need? What am I ready to let go of?
What do I want to say yes or no to? What do I want more of?
What makes me feel complete, especially at the end of the day?
2. Feel Good Where You Are Right Now
In this fast-paced world, we’re seemingly rarely satisfied with what we have, who we are, and where we are right now. And, we tend to focus solely on the future, and forget that life is here NOW.
When you need to satisfy a condition in the future in order to be happy it's called “conditional happiness” (or the “I’ll be happy when" syndrome). This is one of the biggest reasons we can feel anxious. Too often we're chasing something: a relationship, a promotion, a number on the scale... rather than actually being IN our lives, with enjoyment purely for the sake of it. In turn we feel insufficient, inadequate, and isolated, and then have the experience of being unfulfilled, and seemingly always behind in our accomplishments. I encourage you to have dreams and goals for the future AND allow for your happiness to be NOW, and to not have it depend on whether or not you’ll achieve your dreams and goals.
PS... You're more likely to achieve your dreams and goals when you are more present, and happy now!
3. Discover What Taking Care Of Yourself Means To You
We tend to look outside ourselves for what self-care should be (and for many other things as well), rather than looking inward. We also tend to have the idea that self-care is another item on our to-do list... which in the French lifestyle it is not. It is rather a way of being with yourself.
Let's also let go of the idea that caring for yourself will look the same as it does for anyone else. This is your discovery process... so feel free to try different things, like yoga, taking a hot bath, going for a walk, listening to a podcast, preparing beautiful food, AND only once you've tried different things, ask yourself genuinely...
Is this the right self-care for me?
Does this nourish me?
Does this fill me up?
Also allow for your routine to change over time. For example, I used to love yoga and practice it a lot... then I shifted into something else... and then came to dance. True self-care will look like taking more time for yourself, and being in discovery of what nourishes you.
4. Find An Exercise Activity You Love
Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, and puts more pep in your step every day. Exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits. However, you don’t have to do any kind of exercise program with high intensity and high frequency (which can often feel unsustainable in the long run) to stay healthy. Instead, try to figure out what activities you really enjoy that you’ll want to stick with.
French people are not workout addicts and usually prefer to exercise in ways that are exciting and fun for them (tennis, cycling, running, swimming, dancing, etc.). The French exercise because they enjoy it, not because it’s something they have to do to stay fit.
Even though I am of French origin, I did become pretty addicted to working out in the gym in my twenties in the United States. I've actually, over time, come to walking and yoga, and deep stretching, and I love it. My exercise routine continues to shift as I tune into what my body is asking for. So allow for this to change over time. There is no wrong way to do this... only what's right for you!
5. Get Outside For Fresh Air And Go On A Walk
If you’re working a lot at your computer make sure to take breaks and just get out. Go walk to the park, in your neighborhood, or on the beach. Even when I worked in consulting, whether in the Boston or Atlanta office, I would go for a 30 minutes walk just to get out of the office. Now (still in Atlanta) I generally start my day with a three to six-mile walk before I begin the workday. It helps me relax and calm down, as well as get grounded into a supportive, creative energy field. I also typically receive my best intuitive downloads when I walk. And then I take inspired action on these.
6. Enjoy Great Food
One of my favorite French lifestyle tips is to always prioritize pleasure as the key to healthy living. And being French, one of the greatest pleasures in life is food!
When you truly enjoy what you eat, it will leave you satisfied, satiated and content. The French do not count calories, fat content, and carbs (I've never done this), and rather eat whole nutritious food both intuitively and with self-love. By eating nourishing foods that you enjoy and that make you feel good, while also allowing yourself the occasional indulgence, you'll avoid feeling deprived. This is BIG!
Buying more expensive, organic, and tastier food is caring for myself. As much as I’m able to do it, I'm willing to pay more for quality. For me, it’s a conscious way to stay healthy as quality food means pleasure in the short term and health in the long run.
7. Sleep Well... As Much As Possible
Sleep is a powerful stress reducer and restorer of mind and body. As someone who had 10 years of really bad insomnia, sleep is something I have had to really work on in my life.
There came a point when I finally worked with a sleep therapist who helped me tremendously (by the way, if you have a hard time with sleep, email me as I'm very happy to share what worked for me).
Often people say that you should go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
However, this is actually inaccurate. You want to get up every day at the same time, and then only go to sleep when you are tired... otherwise you'll just lay in bed agitated. There is a sleep protocol I can share (perhaps in another post) to really help you sleep.
In the meantime, assuming that sleep is not so challenging for you, good sleep restores you, lowers your stress, eliminates body pain, lowers your cortisol, improves concentration and regulates mood. There are a lot of benefits to it. For me, a good night's sleep is life-altering. Try to optimize your bedroom environment by minimizing external noise, light, and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. And make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean, and enjoyable place.
Lastly, I always have an evening self-care routine that is a signal for my body and mind to prepare for sleep.
8. Create Pleasure Rituals
No matter how busy your life is, you definitely need to create and practice pleasure rituals. In France, long baths, facials, massages, any type of treatment for the body are not considered luxuries, but rather essentials. A ritual means that this practice is something important for you. Make space for it, without any guilt or thought that you don't have time. This alone will change your relationship with yourself and with life... because feeling good is even more important than looking good.
9. Declutter, Clean, Organize
This has been a project for me this past summer. It might feel like the last thing you want to do in your spare time but it has been proven that decluttering, cleaning, and organizing reduce anxiety and improve your mood. We've evolved into having a distinct preference for order and symmetry presumably because those things invoked an advantage back in our ancestral environment. I know that when I clean, organize and declutter, I feel much lighter... and this can be in my home space, as well as in my online space.
10. Buy Yourself Flowers
You wouldn't be experiencing a French lifestyle without flowers... roses, lilies, orchids or peonies... treat yourself to flowers that make you feel good!
11. Create Pleasure And Be Grateful For Small Things
One of my absolute favorite French lifestyle tips is to appreciate and be grateful for the small things in life. Basically, any mindful moment that creates Joie de Vivre in my day is an amplifier to more health and happiness. A delicious Pain au Chocolat, a new lipstick, a break from work outdoors with the sun on my face, a lunch en terrasse, or at my little indoor café table, the French appreciate that the small things in life are just as important as the big ones. It’s the small pleasures that help boost your mood by reflecting on the good in your life.
You only have to choose one or two to get started. Any one of these will begin to have a compounding effect on your health and happiness... let me know what you try out!
Françoise Everett, MS is a facilitator, feminine leadership coach, author, speaker and lifestyle business owner. She works and supports women entrepreneurs and women who hold leadership positions by unlocking their inner wisdom, feminine power, and hidden richness.