Hi All! I want to preface this week’s post with a brief side note. Katie and I will be shifting our approach to the content we post on this site. We sincerely hope that you’ve been enjoying the blogs, meditations, and yoga classes we’ve posted, but as we settle into our summer work arrangements we’re finding less time to devote to producing those resources.
This, sadly, will be the last ‘advice-heavy’ blog that we produce for a while. You can still expect regular content, but our goal is to give you deeper insights into who we are, and our hope is that we can connect with you and start conversations about a variety of topics by doing so! But, for this week, let’s talk about 5 tips for a healthier lifestyle!
Tip #1: Be Honest
Sure, you thought this article was going to talk all about nutrition and exercise (we’ll get to that later). But health is much more than how much we move (although that’s important) and what we put into our bodies (yes, that’s very important too!). The guiding principle that I’ve been living my life by for many years is honesty, both with yourself and others. Being honest feels good. The truth is easier to deal with than catching yourself in a web of lies.
My first tip for a healthier lifestyle is to be honest because I have found immense benefits in the practice of honesty. Maybe that’s simply because I’m a terrible liar, but it’s much easier for me to confront things head-on, with the truth, than to try to cover things up with a lie.
When we lie, we create a situation in which we must continue to lie to support the initial lie. It’s akin to not using enough supports in the initial construction of a home. That home will continue to need additional support and renovation to remain viable. And all of this forces our actions to be dictated by one bad decision we made in the past. It makes it difficult to live in the present because we’re always worried about that decision coming back to bite us. Honesty, my friends, is much easier in the long-term, even if it requires us to make short-term sacrifices.
Tip #2: Practice Forgiveness
My second tip for a healthier lifestyle goes hand-in-hand with the first. We are born to make mistakes. It is our primary method of learning and improving. All humans everywhere practice trial and error. But some of us beat ourselves up more than others when we do make a mistake. My biggest continued challenge is to practice forgiveness, both of myself and of others.
Most of you have probably been through a similar scenario to what I’m about to describe. We make a mistake and the mistake itself is bad enough. But then we spend hours or days or weeks (or sometimes months and years) beating ourselves up over that mistake. The damage that we do to ourselves by not forgiving our mistakes is often far greater than the damage done by the mistake itself.
Tip #3: Move, Move, Move
Here is where we get into the exercise and nutrition stuff. I’ve stated this in other posts, but can’t emphasize it enough. A body in motion tends to be a healthier body. I still find myself struggling with this on a weekly basis. I am lucky to spend many of my days outside kayaking or hiking for work. But when I spend two days catching up on computer work, I start to feel stiff, sore, and lazy. I have to pull myself away from the computer just for a quick lap around the block.
Movement is key to our survival. I remember watching the movie Wall-E when it was first released a few years back and thinking how entirely plausible that scenario was. Intensely obese humans floating around on hover chairs on a spaceship in space because we’ve trashed Earth.
While I won’t live to see such a scenario unfold (and I truly believe we have enough intelligent, compassionate humans on Earth dedicated to avoiding that scenario), it underscores the importance of movement. If humans are one day forced to hunt, trap, and gather on their own two legs, the ability to move will dictate who lives and who does not.
Tip #4: Consider the Source
Now a chance to talk about what we’re putting in our bodies. There are countless diet plans out there that you can follow. Each claims to be the ‘lose weight, get fit quick’ miracle diet, but I’ll tell you up front that I have a problem with diets. And I’ll tell you that I have a problem with them because I have a problem with someone telling me what I can or should be putting into my body without sufficient knowledge of why they’re giving me those recommendations.
Of course, diet plans work for some and don’t work for others. But I think we often fail with a lifestyle change because we try to make too radical of a shift all at once, and we get overloaded. It becomes easier to revert to previous behavior than to continue to submit our bodies to the ‘torture’ we’re experiencing when we make a radical change.
I suggest that minor changes are more sustainable. And by sustaining those minor changes for a longer period of time it is more likely that they become habits. The minor change that I’ll suggest here (if you’re not already doing it) is to consider the source of your food. Where is it coming from? How is it being harvested? And how is it getting from that source to your local grocery store?
I encourage you to research the differences between how staples like meat and eggs are produced and harvested. I also encourage you to buy more goods from local producers. These local producers wind up putting more money back into your local economy, and this is vital to the ongoing sustainability and health of that economy, as well as the people who rely on it.
Tip #5: Live with Intention
My final tip is to be intentional with your time. This will manifest in different ways for all of us, depending on our passions, responsibilities, and creative pursuits. We often stress about money (and not having enough of this resource), but I believe that time is our greatest resource. I am very fortunate to have the ability to choose how I spend my time, and that is a choice that not everyone on this planet is able to make.
It is easy to say, “I just finished an 8-hour day at a job that I only mildly enjoy, so I deserve the time to relax, drink beer, and binge-watch Netflix.” I do this all the time. So if you’re reading this and that’s how you’ve spent a number of nights, you’re not alone. I’m not here to criticize or scold you for time wasted.
But I am here to point out that I am continuing to battle against that “I deserve to rest” mentality. And I’m fighting it because there is a future that I’m trying to build. I’m very passionate about seeing my dream come into reality. So I increasingly look at those hours outside of my ‘traditional’ job as hours that I can make progress towards that vision.
Call it a ‘passion project’ or call it a ‘side-hustle’. Either way, living with an intention for the future I want to create has helped me look more critically at how I spend my time and make decisions that are ultimately all driving towards that ideal future.
A Slow Life Update!
As we continue to develop our vision for the Slow Life Guides and adapt to our new summer employment opportunities, we will be transitioning away from the weekly content schedule we’ve been following. Instead, we want to offer deeper insights into our own emotional, physical, and mental journeys.
These insights will continue to come in the form of blogs, as well as audio and video content. They will simply be posted as our passion and or struggles are fiercest. Our goal is to offer more of our thoughts and feelings regarding our personal journeys, our yoga and meditation practices, and the development of our future vision.
If you’ve been following our yoga classes and would like more, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com! Also, our hope is that by sharing more honest, personal content we can start more helpful conversations about what living a ‘slow life’ means for us and what it means for you!
If you have a question about anything, feel free to leave that below as well and I’ll do my best to respond hastily.
As always, I wish you happiness and health, Namaste!