The new year brings up a lot of reflection for many, myself included. This year in particular is more emotional than others in that I’m leaving the decade of my 20’s and will very soon be approaching my thirties. It’s a strange feeling the first time you recognize you’re getting older. I can’t say it’s really ever something I have thought about until now. “What am I doing with my life?” is a question that has been popping up in my head more than ever in the last month, as if I’m going through a quarter life crisis. There’s an unspoken expectation of what you should be doing or where you should be at when you reach a certain point in life. Whether we know it or not, this can bring on a lot of pressure.
I remember feeling this type of uncertainty before, the first being when I was 18. The overwhelming feeling of failure, adventure, dreams and the unknown all at once can be daunting. This time around though it’s different. I’ve already learned the hardest lessons, and whether I loved or hated it at the time, everything I have experienced thus far has shaped who I am, and for that I say thank you to each experience.
Nevertheless, the pressure of new years resolutions and the thought of being better and accomplishing more once again can bring on a lot of stress, especially if we don’t follow through with our intentions. This is why I’m not a fan of new year resolutions, although I do love reflecting. Reflection makes me appreciate the accomplishments and experiences that many of us never stop to acknowledge on our journey through life. What I have learned thus far has made a huge impact on my health, physically and mentally, the relationships I have built, what I truly value, and the energy I choose now to surround myself with. More than just food and diet, how you think and live greatly impacts your quality of life.
I’m not perfect, nor do I want to be. I love life too much to be super restrictive with myself. I’ve been there, done that, and it’s not for me. Had I known this when I was younger, I may have escaped a load of annoying health issues that haunted me for years after. For what it’s worth, this is my advice I would give my 18 year old self (and any one who wants to listen). Warning, I had a lot of time to reflect.
Health Advice To My 18 Year Old Self:
Understand the root of your skin issues instead of focusing on a quick fix. Whole food nutrition is crucial. Stop obsessing about calories and diet food, instead get to the real problem and stop treating symptoms and wasting money on crap products.
Stop wearing toxins on your face. Toss your expensive designer makeup and skincare; find nature’s good stuff instead, like these here.
Take care of your body and health. Do what you need to do to get healthy, and then maintain with an 80/20 rule. Don’t stay on a detox forever.
Fat isn’t the culprit (with the exception of rancid fats), sugar is. Nuf said.
Stay away from magazines and make watching TV a treat. You’re less likely to compare yourself to others.
Stop running so much and obsessing over exercise. Do it to stay healthy and clear your mind, but let your body be where it’s comfortable at. Forcing a number will only create more health problems. Read more here
Confidence and passion are sexier than any “perfect” body. This may only come with age as who you are attracted to and why will greatly change. Take John Kransinski for example (you know from The Office), maybe not the most attractive guy, but pretty sexy demeanor if you ask me.
Prioritize sleep. If there’s one piece of health advice, this would be it. Sleep is connected to everything in your body: energy, mood, brain health, weight, skin health, and so much more.
The number on the scale doesn’t determine your value. Take care of your body to the best of your ability, but don’t forget your strengths, your ability to connect with others, your passions, your contributions and your caring nature who make you who you are. If you want to lose weight, do this healthfully by addressing the real issues to weight gain.
Value and Love yourself above all. This will take time, but for others to love you won’t be possible if you don’t learn to do it first.
It’s ok to be confident. Don’t let others try to tell you this is arrogance. There’s a fine line, but make sure you stay on the better half by staying humble.
Be Grateful. Even when times get hard, remember all that you have, have made for yourself and have been given. And when times are great, don’t forget to give back.
Do Yoga and Meditate daily. Don’t let this intimidate you. Letting your mind rest and breathing deeply is nature’s best anxiety medicine, even for just 5 minutes a day.
Don’t worry so much. Nothing in life is worth stressing over as it will soon pass, but the consequences of what chronic ongoing stress can do to you long term is damaging.
Be patient. Both with yourself and others.
Happiness requires struggle. Fight for what you want, no one else is going to do it for you.
Failure is a good thing. How else are you suppose to learn and grow?
Be open to change. Nothing in life is definite. Be ok with this and learn to accept it and move on.
Write down your plans, goals and dreams. Just do it! Writing it on paper helps get the clutter out of your head and actions flowing.
Cut dead weight out of your life. This may seem harsh, but it’s necessary to reach your full potential. Break off any relationships which you feel are holding you down or just don’t make you feel good. The minute someone doesn’t value or respect you, forget about it. Don’t waste time on negativity or people who don’t support or care for you.
Say “NO” more often. Stop overcommitting and trying to make everyone happy. Allow yourself to have you time and stay home on a Friday night with nothing to do.
Forgive. This can be really hard, but crucial to letting go of anger. Don’t let this build and effect your health.
Find your passion and then find or create a job that fulfills you. You simply won’t be satisfied or happy till you do. I recommend this book.
Be honest with yourself and others. Life is so much easier this way.
Don’t be afraid to discuss your feelings, emotions or ideas. Just be sure to do this with someone you can confine in.
Don’t compare yourself to others. We all have our own goals, paths and aspirations to fulfill, as well as health requirements.
Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s ok. Surround yourself with those who will support and believe in you.
Go dancing whenever you’re sad. Even if this only involves a living room dance party.
Stop being so hard on yourself. Take a look at the life you’ve built and the accomplishments you’ve made.
Be fluent in your body. No one knows your body better than you.
And lastly, ALWAYS listen to your intuition. Remember that everything eventually works out, maybe not always the way we want, but you will always make it through the darkest points.
What are some of your insights and reflections of this last year, last decade, or so far in your life that have made you healthier and stronger?
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