Your well-being should be your top priority, not just during wellness month or right before or during flu season, but year-round. The truth of the matter is that most of us have gotten our lists a little (or a lot) re-arranged and flipped around, when it comes to self-care. Our aging parents, financial issues, our dependent and growing children, our constantly changing work expectations and demands and keeping up with home duties. . . most of us have allowed our health and happiness to slip down the ranks. If you are like the many countless compassionate and caring kind humans that report putting other’s needs before your own, here is a gentle reminder of why it is important (and necessary) to start moving your own health from the back burner to front and center!

“Health” is a general term that seems to be largely taken for granted. We may mindlessly pass-through day to day and feel invincible-- until we find ourselves overwhelmed, fatigued, unhappy or in physical discomfort. This approach of ignoring our own good health is unsustainable, and there is a better way to live.

Prevention is a Better Way

Especially during heightened immune system health precautions (restricted closures of communal places, an ever-changing topography of the political arena and social freedoms and expectations), it is undeniable that Americans are finding it harder to make the right-- as well as keep-- exercise and food choices. Preventing the chronic emotional storm and controllable extra weight from wreaking havoc on your life is doable. Doctors are seeing the amount of anti-anxiety prescription medications quantum leap to insurmountable proportions, so take matters into your own hands and be more preventative in your approach to health and happiness.

Raising Your Deserving Power: Do It for Yourself

It’s not superficial-- most people who are successful at making positive changes in their life do not find motivation and inspiration to only lose weight or to look more like a celebrity they think looks iconic. They have a reason WHY, include specific practices, and make definitive decisions to take include habits that propel them closer to their goal.

Think about what it is that elicits joy inside your heart and think of your reason WHY. WHY are you wanting a change and HOW are you going to do it? When you try to improve yourself for other people, you can lose sight of your motivation if your relationship changes. The motivation needs to be cultivated from within, not through someone else. The deeper your commitment to your health, the more difficult it is to be derailed, distracted, give up on your established goals, be it a diet, a mindset, or a specific plan of self-mastery.

It's also important to realize that practicing self-care translates to self-love. You must prioritize and love yourself first, before anyone else will—even if you are a mother or caretaker of children and a daughter of a loved one dependent on you. People are drawn to others who have self-confidence and self-respect.

Here are some ways you can put yourself first and take better care of your health:

1. Schedule something that brings you joy. Whether this is going outside for a walk in the sunshine, journaling about what you are grateful for, dancing, listening to your favorite podcast while immersed in your favorite hobby in your bath robe, take at least 15-30 minutes minimum each day to cultivate this space for yourself. Be unapologetic with this time and really allow yourself to enjoy the freedom to feel joy.

2. Find an exercise or body movement routine you can incorporate regularly into your lifestyle. It can be as easy as going for a walk. Just put on your shoes and get outdoors. The fresh air and the walk will do wonders for your health, but try if you can, to move till you become breathless (even for short moments at a time). Pump your arms and try to challenge your heart to work harder. This will in turn encourage your body to produce feel good endorphins that also make the edges of your mouth turn up. Happiness almost always follows the heart working harder from exercise.

3. Make changes in your diet. Try reducing take-out, fast food, and too much meat. Make a strong determination to stay away from refined sugars, packaged foods, fried foods, and alcohol. Increase your fresh fruit and vegetable intake. Be sure to start off each day with a healthy breakfast and don't skip meals. Drink plenty of water throughout the day as well.

  • When you eat poorly, you are doing a huge disservice to your body. You will feel like what you consume, so if you are always eating prepackaged and processed foods, your body will feel fat and bloated, and your mind will not be able to think as clearly, compared to if you ate an abundance of live greens and fruits.
  • Incorporate the healthiest substances on the planet into your food, drinks and body, like nutrient dense foods or superfoods that boost immune system functioning, cellular repair and digestive health. Copaiba, moringa, ginger, chamomile, turmeric, avocados, omega-3 rich hemp hearts, chia and flax seeds as well as sea vegetables are my go-to’s.
  • The healthier foods you eat, the better you'll feel. The better you feel, the higher your willpower and determination becomes. The higher those elevate, the happier and stronger you'll become. Whether you believe it or not, it's a solid progression and one that will lead you toward the best version of you!

4. Find time to relax. This is a little different from what cultivates joy in your heart, but many things you do may overlap. This suggestion allows your central nervous system to experience calm and the neurons in your brain to take a break from being “on” all the time, which can lead to overwhelm, anxiety and a possible break down. It's imperative to take care of your mental health, also, by incorporating relaxation techniques into your lifestyle. Regular relaxation helps reduce stress and anxiety and recharges you so you can bring more energy and passion to all areas of your life.

  • Consider taking up yoga or meditation. I have a wonderful podcast called "Braincation" with Dr. Nancy Lin that helps your mind get into a less agitated and reactive space due to stress and worry. Binaural beats are used in all episodes to best regulate brainwaves and optimize relaxation time.
  • Listen with your eyes closed to the natural sounds of nature at a park, beach or in your backyard.
  • Curl up to your favorite book or magazine and get lost in. Pair your reading time with a warm and comforting cup of Chamomile tea.
  • Spend time with your favorite fur pet and allow presence to reboot a possible overworked mind.

If you take good care of yourself, you'll be able to enjoy your life to the fullest (and get through the school year with better health). Use preventative measures and embed these tips into your self-care tool belt and share your knowledge with fellow family members, coworkers, or friends. Thank you for being such a valuable part of the HYLETE family and working so hard for others, but remember that you are deserving of happiness, love and feeling good, because now is the best time to put your health first!