Lately I’ve been redefining what wellness means for me. I recently started listening to a lot of podcasts that are opening me up to lots more ideas that may seem a little ~woo woo~ but if something works for you and makes you feel good, it doesn’t really matter if it seems a little out there. Building my wellness routine has been a full-on life overhaul. From the way I see my meals to my exercise and journaling, this has changed the way I live my life. I can really feel the difference that these changes have made on me. I wanted to pack this post with a ton of information that has helped me a lot in feeling so much better so settle in, this will be a long one.
I’ve found podcasts helpful in making me feel like I am constantly learning new things and my brain is always “active”. Almost 30 has been one that I listen to daily and enjoy almost every episode of. This podcast is a huge look at all the ways that a holistic view of health and wellness can change everything.
The hosts made me think a lot about how nutrition makes a huge difference in how we feel physically and mentally. Almost 30 especially has kind of shifted the way I’m looking at my health. I’ve started to feel off treating or suppressing an ailment without having any way to prevent it. An example of this is my migraines. For years I’ve had horrible debilitating migraines at least once a week. Although I’m medicated to prevent them, I’m now feeling that continually increasing a dose of a medication is more suppressing my migraines instead of solving any problem or bringing me any sort of relief. Almost 30 brings up different ways of viewing health outside of what I used to think about and I’m looking forward to exploring these in my own health.
I also started listening to the Goop podcast which, I must admit, held a little bit of an “expensive and unnecessary” connotation from what I saw in the Goop Shop. But, the Goop podcast introduces me to some self-reflection topics that have spurred some introspection that I’ve found really helpful in my journey. Instead of listening to the same albums over and over again, I’ve opted for podcasts that are more active listening than passive like listening to familiar music. Listening to podcasts also keeps me from feeling lonely while I’m doing computer work or cleaning the apartment.
I’ve started to make sure that I’m taking my vitamins every single day and got the Trader Joe’s multi that even includes probiotics. I’m also taking a closer look at my meals and making sure that I’m not just eating all carbs. Sometimes my quick meals can turn into filler with little to no nutrition (bagel with butter?). There was an interview with Kelly LeVeque on Almost 30 (and tons of other podcasts I listened to with her on) where she introduced the Fab 4: fiber, fat, greens, and protein. These are things to aim to include in every meal to be full and get the most from your food. After hearing about this I took a second look at my diet and started to include more of all of these things and I’ve noticed that I’m not hungry as often as I was when I was eating things like grilled cheeses or other things with little nutrition or fresh aspects.
I’ve also enjoyed drinking a lot more tea and a lot less coffee than I had before. I used to be a cup of coffee per day kind of person but now drink half a cup every few days. Instead, I’ve been opting for Rishi Earl Grey tea which is amazing as a little caffeine boost without the caffeine withdrawal headaches that coffee often gave me in afternoons, evening, and mornings after lots of coffee.
For a few months now, I’ve been doing hot yoga at least 3 times a week, with the occasional barre or hiit class. Yoga keeps me in a good headspace by allowing me 1 hour fully to myself, getting active and quieting my mind. I was never the type to go to the gym, I just didn’t enjoy the unnatural and repetitive movements of weight lifting or traditional workouts. Once I found yoga, I realized that I needed a different way to stay fit than going to a gym. Yoga is full of more fluid and natural movements that strengthen the body and mind. When I finish a yoga class, I feel strong, confident, and powerful, a feeling I never got from going to a gym. I’ve also noticed that I’m a lot more productive when I keep up with my regular yoga classes. Knowing I will allow myself a full hour every other day or so to relax and switch off, I am much more able to focus for longer, avoid feeling overwhelmed by my to-do list, and stay off my phone while I’m working.
A few months ago I began journaling. At first it would just be my thoughts written out as a free-write. When I was having trouble sorting my thoughts and thinking clearly, this helped me make sense of what I was thinking. Now, I have been favoring a more structured method of journaling with self-reflection questions and getting to know myself more. I bought the Ban.do Feel Your Best journal because it has sections that focus on different aspects of wellness from action to daily reflections. I’ve enjoyed this journal a lot and the questions really make me think about who I am and what I aspire to become. There’s also a section at the back that has a morning and evening check in that helps me frame my day in a positive way from the moment I wake up.
Each month I’ve started picking a few goals to work on: some small and easily accomplished and some more long-term that I would like to work towards. Examples of these goals are something like finish the book I’m reading (easy), stay active 3x a week by walking over 10,000 steps or a workout (longer-term). It feels good and motivating to cross off the easy ones and it pushes me to cross off the bigger ones at the end of the month.
Getting creative has always centered me and painting is something I can do for hours on end and not even notice the time. Taking an art class has helped me ensure this is part of my weekly routine. I’ve also put lots of time into hand-making cards for family and friends which has been so relaxing and fun. Being creative was such an important part of my self-care that I really lost track of in the past year and it feels so good to rediscover it. Another part of that is my blog, throughout the past year I’ve been nearly silent on my blog and that directly reflects how I’m feeling. I was feeling uncreative and uninteresting so I pushed my blog completely away and now that I’m creating this routine and enjoying life so much more I am finally excited to be back writing again. Look forward to lots of new posts on the blog from now on!
I’ve always loved reading and I feel lucky that I find reading and learning so enjoyable. Most of the books I choose to read in my free time are psychology books like Thinking Fast and Slow, which is definitely a favorite. Recently, though, I’ve been gravitating towards lighter books like YA fiction novels and the Jonathan Van Ness book that feels more like a break. There’s also a feeling of productivity with this form of relaxation. I’m relaxing as I’m learning new things, engaging my brain, and getting through my reading list.
Finally, this one is a never-ending battle. I’m always trying to lessen my screen time and Netflix use. Both of these things lead me to be incredibly unproductive and I usually end up feeling pretty bad that I wasted so much time and stressed that I have so much left to do. I use the Screen Time limits on my phone to keep VSCO and Instagram time minimized and try to leave my phone in the other room whenever I can. Going a few days without Netflix always feels so refreshing and good because I end up getting so much accomplished. I’ve noticed that if I opt for a YouTube video instead of a tv series, I’m so much less likely to binge watch. I usually pick one, maybe two YouTube videos while I watched an entire season of How I Met Your Mother this weekend.
I hope that this huge life and wellness journey update has been interesting and helpful to you. It’s truly been a life-changing few months and I’m definitely noticing that I feel so much better when I include wellness in all areas of my life. Obviously, I’m a college student and you should not be relying on me for any health advice so I’ve tried to keep it brief but in short, find what works for you (with the help of doctors or other professionals). Part of this is continually noticing new things, new ways to take care of myself, my friendships, my schoolwork, and my job in that order.