I’m a sucker for efficiency. As a dietitian, I see astounding quantities of health advice, new medical journal studies, and tips from random celebrities that don’t really make sense but people seem to trust implicitly for some reason. The depth of information people have to sort through these days is overwhelming. But you don’t have to do it all and you shouldn’t. Don’t stress out trying to do everything an article says.
Without feeling overwhelmed, here are 5 things you can start working on right now that will help your overall wellness practices to improve your life. I say start working on rather than complete, because this is a process. Nothing will be fixed overnight (if it is, send any thank you bottles of wine to The Inspired Home, c/o Carlene). It’s okay to adjust and readjust over time.
1. Have a place for everything.
This is most beneficial in an entryway of some kind so the second you come in the door, you have a habit of putting your keys, wallet, phone and mail in the same place every day. You’ll always know where to find them. There’s no more rushing around to find what you need to go to work. When everything has a home in the rest of the house(beyond the ‘drop zone’ of the entryway), it also makes it easier to clean. There are no decisions to be made about where something goes. It goes back to it’s ‘home’. I’m also here to acknowledge this won’t work with everyone. If you’re someone who has tried this tactic and just CANNOT make it happen, get one of those little Tiles or trackers that help you find things. As long as you have a way to find what you need, you’ve checked this box.
You’ve got a lot going on. Is there a way to streamline these processes? Can an app help you accomplish something (grocery shopping delivery, fitness plans, scheduling a cleaning service) ? Will creating an automation (like autopay) take something off your plate? If you love tech you’ll love IFTTT (If This Then That) which is a web service that creates chains of simple ‘conditional statements’ using other web services.
For example if a website shows it’s going to rain, then you can have your Google Home/Alexa remind you to bring an umbrella. Or if you get an email telling you yoga is cancelled, you can have it automatically adjust your calendar etc. It’s perfect for those times you have a thought like “I wish I could get my X to automatically….” But it’s not just about tech. If you’re taking supplements or medication in the morning, store them above your sink near water glasses. Or maybe have your yoga mat and a spare gym outfit in your car at all times to eliminate a missed class. Think about ways you can make tweaks to your actions to do more without necessarily working more.
3. Make your surroundings support wellness.
Aroma (good or bad), greenery, visual clutter… how your space looks and feels impacts your health over time. Wellness routines go beyond a workout or diet. it’s a daily thing that involves all of your senses: sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. For me, if my space is a mess, I cannot focus on work (surfaces are not storage for random piles). So I keep a basket on my desk that’s my zone for ‘deal with it later’. I also have found scent is more important for me than I realized. Have you ever been in a space that just smells off? Like that garlic you accidentally burnt?
While I love candles, with cats it’s safer and more effective for me to have a diffuser. There are so many on the market, but this one with marble and brass and glass fits our space perfectly since it carries the look of marble from the kitchen into the living room. Need a space to meditate? Buy the perfect cushion or blanket to make the space inviting.
4. Make fueling yourself easy.
Water bottles, especially ones that keep temperature constant for a long time (this one is triple insulated and vacuum sealed making hydration tempting) as well as clear containers for ingredient and food storage are two easy changes you can make in the kitchen. A clear glass container lets you see what you have so you’re more likely to use it. Whether you meal prep on Sundays or you’re actually more of a Seamless/UberEats kind of person who stores leftovers, put things in containers you can see.
My style of eating and cooking does best with ingredients in ‘usable form’ in the fridge. When I get home from grocery shopping, I process food to get it easy to use later. I cut grapes into trees or slice oranges. I’ll throw together some spiced nuts for snacks that meet that ‘salty crunchy’ craving. With clear containers you’re more likely to eat the healthy options you bought. In this same vein I’d say ask around to find inspiration for health-conscious recipes. Heck, maybe even create a IFTTT condition to email you recipe links when your favorite Instagram-er posts about them.
5. Let one thing go that’s no longer serving you, and add one thing that will benefit your life.
Anything. Be it an object or an activity or even something like a supplement or skincare item that you spent money on but just isn’t your thing. If something is giving you negative vibes by its just occupying space in your home, get rid of it. If you have a piece of exercise equipment and you are literally storing stuff around it or on it, or it’s in a room you hate, you are never going to use it. Either sell it and use the money for a personal trainer or subscription to a workout video resource, or move it! But don’t just reduce. That does simplify things, but it’s important to add too. Add something beneficial that resonates with you. Go houseplant shopping for better air quality or maybe add a regularly occurring monetary donation to your favorite non profit every quarter. You decide.