6 Ways to Be Your Best Self
August is National Wellness Month. To celebrate, we break down the basics.
We know what you’re thinking: August is National Wellness Month? Shouldn’t that be every month? The short answer is, yes. After all, if everyone took small daily steps to be proactive about our well-being, maybe our national healthcare system wouldn’t be in its current precarious state.
Wellness doesn’t mean you have to swear off pizza and beer and do yoga all day. Even small changes can add up to big positive results. National Wellness Month focuses on self-care, managing stress and promoting healthy routines. If you create some small wholesome habits, there’s plenty of research to show that long-term benefits can include lower stress and more happiness. Which is what we all want, right?
Some people may equate wellness with spa treatments and there’s nothing wrong with a little self-pampering. But wellness doesn’t need to cost you a lot of money. And ideally wellness becomes a part of your everyday life rather than a once in a while indulgence. Here are 6 ways you can begin to dip your toe into the world of wellness:
1. DRINK MORE WATER
This is one of the simplest and easiest ways to improve your wellness. Replace sodas and sweet beverages with good ol’ H20. Drink a large glass of water first thing in the morning. Being properly hydrated is one of the most overlooked impediments to good health. It’s also an easy way to shed unwanted weight because often when we feel hungry, it’s actually that we’re thirsty.
2. EAT YOUR VEGGIES
There are countless diets, from the South Beach Diet to the Paleo Diet, but the truth is healthy eating isn’t that complicated. To paraphrase Michael Pollan, author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” all you have to do is remember three rules: “eat food, mainly plants, not too much.”
That first rule--eat food--means make a distinction between edible products and food. (Pringles are edible products, potatoes are food.). The second rule (eat mainly plants) means fill up on fruits and veggies. They are good for you and delicious, and full of the things your body needs to fight disease. According to Dr. Deborah Blacker, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, eating lots of fruits and veggies may be important for brain health because they are full of flavonoids, the chemicals that give plant foods their bright colors,
The third rule is self-explanatory: eat until you’re satisfied, not until you’re in pain. See how simple that was?
3. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
You may think of sleep as just laying around doing nothing, but your brain is actually extremely active when you’re getting your ZZZs. Think of sleeping as like a computer cleaning up a hard drive. Sleep is what enables us to concentrate and create new memories, by cleaning toxins we accumulate when we’re awake. There’s a reason sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. But new research also suggests that not getting enough sleep can make us gain weight and even be as harmful as smoking cigarettes. So whatever you do, get horizontal for 7 to 9 hours a night and recharge your battery.
You may or may not be a gym type, but the good news is, you don’t need to spend hours pumping iron or riding a Peloton. In fact, it turns out that just moving around can be as beneficial as formal exercise. That could be dancing, cleaning the house, or just going for a walk. In fact, exercise is as close to a magical pill as we have. And many of the benefits happen above the neck--in addition to staving off a host of chronic diseases, regular exercise and movement helps with anxiety and depression. You have a body so move it!
Meditation has become a buzzword these days, but what does it really mean? Many people have the mistaken idea that meditation means to somehow empty the mind. In reality, even for experienced meditators that is a nearly impossible goal. Thinking is what the mind does. In Sanskrit, the word for meditation means to get used to something positive. So meditation really means to familiarize yourself with positive states of mind. That could be kindness or a sense of contentment or serenity. Meditation is about choosing what we put our minds on, and purposefully placing our focus on something virtuous and uplifting. If you’re a beginner, don’t worry, there are plenty of apps, including Headspace, Calm.com and Smiling Mind to help you get started.
As James Taylor once sang, “the secret to life is enjoying the passage of time.” There are few things more rewarding than getting into a creative flow state. Whether it’s singing, dancing, acting, telling jokes, or cooking a great meal, being a creator is about tapping into your own unconscious and expressing yourself. That’s where pearpop comes in. We make it easy to create and collaborate with others. We’ve built a whole community around the joy of being creative and even better, we’ve created a system to help you get paid for your ideas and creative output. That’s what we call wellness!