Local yogi Evie-Marie O’Connor gives her top tips for living a balanced life.
In this day and age, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the inundation of health and wellness trends. Instead of feeling empowered by access to knowledge, people can often feel paralyzed by the amount of seemingly complicated and contradictory information. Before you dive into the next health and fitness trend, check in with these five tried-and-true ways to optimize your own well-being.
1. WHEN IT COMES TO FOOD, LET YOUR BODY BE YOUR GUIDE, NOT YOUR MIND:
Generally speaking, you can sort out a lot about your nutrition by listening to your body and quieting your mind. Tap into your own ability to figure out what foods make you feel energized, and which ones make you feel depleted. Be present with yourself as you eat; notice how you feel before, during and after meals.
2. MOVE YOUR BODY ON THE DAILY:
Our bodies thrive with regular movement, while our lifestyles often require stagnation. Commit to moving your body on a regular basis in ways that you truly enjoy. Movement doesn’t always need to mean a vigorous workout. Instead, balance intensities and styles of movement for longevity and sustainability.
3. STEP UP YOUR WATER GAME:
Make drinking water your priority and focus throughout your day. Add fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs to your water to give it a little extra interest. When you drink caffeine or alcohol, be sure to drink even more water to balance out the associated dehydration.
4. DIVERSIFY YOUR DE-STRESS TOOLBOX:
How you manage your stress is one of the biggest indicators of your long-term health. Our nervous systems are not designed to be chronically stressed, yet due to the demands of modern living, they often are. Explore different techniques until you find a few that suit you, whether they are yoga, guided relaxation, technology detox, meditation, writing, therapy, massage, acupuncture, time in nature, self-care. Bottom line: Find ways to process and release your stress on the regular.
5. HEALTH IS A PRIVILEGE NOT A PUNISHMENT:
Your mindset matters a lot. However you’re optimizing your health or healing past pain, be sure it doesn’t become so restrictive that you bring more stress into your life. Skip the obsessions and stick with moderate, sustainable practices that can support you for a lifetime. The guilt and shame about what you ate or what exercise class you missed are way more toxic than the initial action itself. Drop the excessive criticism and try to find more ways to enjoy the privilege of living with increased energy and vitality.
Evie-Marie O’Connor splits her time between teaching yoga and working as a mental health counselor at Fairwinds Counseling Center.