How to Cultivate a Sustainable Wellness Practice
BY AHNA KENNEDY
I often stress to my clients that it is not only knowledge that ensures a healthy lifestyle, but action and intention to create a sustainable wellness practice and routine.
As a Holistic Health Coach, I’ve noticed that when most people hear the term “wellness,” they assume it encompasses something unattainable or beyond their reach. But this could not be further from the truth! You don’t have to spend a lot of money, buy the latest Instagram-approved superfood, or fill your home with crystals to create a sustainable wellness practice. Cultivating wellness and putting it into practice simply involves being more intentional and compassionate towards your well-being— and taking active steps to rebuild the balance of your physical, emotional, and mental health.
In essence, prioritizing and nourishing your whole self daily can anchor predictability and grounding to an often busy and stressful life.
I am a strong believer that if we aren’t consciously creating more space for our wellness, and just being rather than doing, we will eventually feel completely burnt out, anxious, and exhausted— not to mention more prone to illness and other health concerns. This is where a wellness practice steps in. These daily choices and rituals can be tailored to things that make you feel your best, and it’s important to note that there’s no wrong place to begin. All you need is a little planning and a dollop of willpower to get the ball rolling!
How can you make wellness feel more like second nature? Start with these five tips.
1. Identify your Goals for a Sustainable Wellness Practice
Begin by putting pen to paper to set the foundation for what growth and expansion you want to achieve in the season ahead. Once you identify the general area(s) you need or want to work on, start writing a more specified list of your short-term and long-term goals or intentions. Then introduce a new habit or practice one at a time. Once you’ve done that for a few weeks, introduce another small change, and so on.
For example, instead of deep diving into a new diet that may feel restricted or extreme, it’s worth being honest with yourself and figuring out a routine that YOU can realistically stick to. Even if the task seems tiny and simple, ask yourself what you can commit to with certainty at this point in your life. Sometimes that shows up as drinking more water throughout the day, or swapping out a sugary breakfast for a hydrating smoothie or bowl of oats. Keep in mind that you can always make adjustments until you figure out what feels most organic for your lifestyle!
2. Establish a Morning Routine
Creating a personalized and sustainable morning routine is the perfect opportunity to establish a sense of balance and control before you officially start your day. Mornings are often characterized as rushed and frantic, which inevitably leads to feeling off-kilter and like you’re constantly playing catch up. But here’s the truth— the beginning of your day can be more supportive and less chaotic if you carve out a structured, sacred space for yourself.
Whether it’s 15 minutes or an hour, introducing a ritual that includes a blend of both mental and physical activity is ultimately going to provide a wealth of value for your state of being. For example, my average morning includes drinking 16oz of warm lemon water, juicing celery, journaling my daily tasks and gratitude, stretching for 10 minutes, and taking my pup for a beach walk. The beauty about designing your unique practice is that you are not only setting up your day-to-day life to be more successful, but you are also investing in your future self.
3. Find Movement that you Love
Exercise is usually the one part of a daily routine that everyone wants to skip. I get it; the thought of a grueling workout session is often weighed down by feelings of obligation and stress. Instead of viewing it as a chore, try honing in on how you like to move your body, and try exploring different activities you genuinely enjoy doing that would be practical to add to your weekly schedule.
Movement of any kind is the root of a healthy mind and well-functioning body, and you want to shoot for at least 30 minutes a day. You can start with something as simple as taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood or even dancing around your living room— a little effort goes a long way!
4. Add More Plants to Your Diet
The foods you eat either promote health or disease and the power of a simple diet change— gently getting rid of the bad stuff and putting in the good stuff— can significantly transform your physical and mental wellness and vitality.
It doesn’t require you to go vegan or even vegetarian, and eating more plants doesn’t have to mean deprivation! Rather than looking at your plate and questioning what you should get rid of, ask yourself what you could add in or substitute for extra nourishment. For example, start by gradually swapping animal-based ingredients with plant-based alternatives in your favorite go-to recipes, or choose one day a week to be 100% plant-based. The possibilities are endless!
Drinking water first thing in the morning (especially before coffee!) and between meals might seem obvious or redundant, but it is easily the most important, inexpensive, and underrated thing you can do to purify, hydrate, and revitalize your body from the inside out. Water boosts the immune system, supports brain function, alkalizes and detoxifies the body, and is particularly beneficial for the digestive tract.
A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water per day, which is more than the standard 64oz most people consider substantial enough. I recommend adding a generous squeeze of lemon or lime, especially on an empty stomach, for an extra punch of flavor and key vitamins and minerals like Vitamin B and C, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Another helpful tip is to make the switch from drinking ice-cold water to room temperature water— which is much easier on your system to assimilate.
Remember that we always carry the power to change our story, and the more intentional we are in facing the day — the healthier and happier our lives will be.
I hope you enjoyed learning more about creating a sustainable wellness practice. If you enjoyed this post, read 7 Habits to Better Your Life