Having good health is essential for living a happy life. You can do many things to stay healthy and avoid different conditions or diseases in the long run. Being fit also impacts emotional health and self-esteem. Feeling good about oneself inside and out is fundamental to living a healthy life.
At the beginning of the pandemic, one of my yoga teachers said something that resonated with me. She said:
“Let’s get stronger together. Let’s help one another stay accountable for our health and exercise goals.”
I immediately decided to be all in. I haven’t missed a day of yoga since March, except the one day we traveled to Michigan so my parents could support taking care of our four children.
Living with an autoimmune arthritic condition is challenging, and to live my best life; health is my top priority. If I don’t prioritize exercise and wellbeing, my damaged joints make moving and walking excruciating or even impossible.
Here is a list of my favorite things to do to stay healthy and happy:
1. Sleep well
Sleep is one of the most important elements to have a healthy life because it provides rest for the body, while also giving the energy to get through the day.
It is important to always have at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep, so the body can truly recharge and restore from inside out.
What helps me sleep well?
I sleep best in a dark, cool room. In Northern California, we turn the heat off at night. Now that I am in the frozen lands of Michigan, we turn the temperature down to 65 degrees.
One of my favorite things to use when I sleep is my weighted blanket.
I am usually able to fall asleep quickly, but I often wake up in the middle of the night and struggle to fall back asleep. This kind of blanket is a game-changer because it applies deep pressure therapy while sleeping.
2. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is essential to have a healthy body and brain. Drinking at least 67 ounces of water a day is key to hydrate properly.
What helps me hydrate better?
I drink between 32-50 ounces of water before getting out of bed and starting my day.
I use the water bottles that hospitals provide. They are convenient, light, easy to use, and inexpensive. Then, I meditate or scroll through my phone as I quietly hydrate. Hydration can take a back seat with mothering and life, and I like to start the morning strong.
3. Go outside, be in nature
Being around nature is very beneficial for the body, both mentally and physically. It helps reduce stress, feeling more relaxed, and also improves your mood, leading to a healthier life.
What helps me exercise more?
Usually, I walk 3.5 to 5 miles at sunrise before the rest of the family is up.
It can take a lot of mental toughness to get out of my warm and cozy bed, but I always feel better if I get my body moving right away.
This is my routine. While walking, I catch up on the morning news. I listen to podcasts including NPR’s Up First, The Daily, and Axios Today. Then I decide what my spirit needs.
If I am in work mode, I’ll listen to Kara Swisher’s Sway, Freakonomics Radio, Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead or Unlocking Us podcast, or Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert. If I’m feeling low, I’ll find a topic that resonates with me from Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations.
Walking outside in nature is rejuvenating. Since temporarily moving to Michigan, I learned how to dress for the weather, which involves many layers and crampons for my shoes to avoid slipping on icy paths.
4. Practice Yoga
Yoga, a great alternative for exercising and moving your body. Helps reduce stress and anxiety; to have better sleep and prevent or reduce chronic pain or migraines.
It is a crucial part of my daily regime. I love it so much that I moved my office to be 30 seconds away from my very favorite yoga studio in the world: YogaSource in downtown Palo Alto.
Zoom Yoga Classes
During the pandemic, I have been taking their live yoga classes online via zoom. A few times a week, I’ll take a class from one of my favorite teachers, Alison Buchanan; an amazingly talented teacher of HIIT and power yoga classes.
She sends me two videos a week recorded by her at home. Alison was the first person who showed me how to incorporate weights into my core and yoga practice. I had no idea my bicep muscles were waiting to pop out like Popeye’s until Alison inspired me to adapt my practice. She’s an inspiring teacher, I recommend her a lot.
These are the basic things I include in my routine to have a healthy life, but there are plenty more you can do to start your own path to be healthy. Start with small steps, include good habits to start replacing the bad ones. Be patient during your transition, any habit takes time.