Meg Swift of Studio Nantucket gives her top tips for living your best life.
1. CREATE A MORNING ROUTINE. I wake up at least an hour before I need to go anywhere and start the day on my terms. Whatever I’m doing at this time, I’m never in a rush for a full hour. It’s important to find a time in your day to be in your own headspace at your own pace for uninterrupted reflection. Twenty to thirty minutes will give you the mental break that your body needs.
2. DON’T DIET. Drink more water, eat more plants, cook your own food as much as possible and eat pizza when you want! It sounds simple, but if you really do it, it works. The moment I stopped dieting, I became the healthiest and fittest version of myself. Keep your water bottle filled and load up on fresh produce all day. You should have something colorful at every meal and try to buy only products with five or fewer ingredients.
3. DON’T THINK OF FOOD AS GOOD OR BAD. It’s important to understand what makes you feel good and why. Eating healthy is truly about changing your perspective. Food isn’t good or bad. Learn to interpret how your choices nourish you and keep your mind clear. At the same time, equally embrace the concept that an indulgence can be nourishing in how you experience it.
4. PRACTICE GRATITUDE. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness and stress of everyday life, but don’t let it run you. When I’m blinded by stress and worry, I become anxious and terribly grumpy. Taking time to reflect on the things that I’m thankful for and have done right instantly flips the switch. Gratitude generates positive energy and emotions that help bring me out of my head so that I can become less stressed and more compassionate.
5. MOVE YOUR BODY EVERYDAY. Make it a habit like brushing your teeth. We know that physical activity can improve our health and prevent the risk of many diseases, but more important, it can improve many aspects of your quality of life. Our culture has become increasingly sedentary. Find an activity you enjoy that gets you moving and make it a habit. It doesn’t necessarily need to be the gym or a class—get outside and explore if that’s more your speed. Just know that the early days of creating your habit will be tough, so stick to it and it will become second nature.
6. NURTURE YOUR WEAKNESSES BY CROSS TRAINING. Complement the movement you love with movement that is perhaps more challenging for you. Enhance your running with strength training and vice versa to help stabilize your muscles and keep your program balanced. Don’t just stick to what you’re good at. It’s important to step out of your comfort zone (in any aspect of life) and nurture your weaknesses.
7. REST DAY. I can’t highlight this enough: Exercise puts physical stress on your body, so you need to give your body time to restore the energy and fibers of your muscles to prevent injury and illness. Society often pushes a mentality of “more is better,” but when it comes to hard workouts, more can just be too much. This, however, doesn’t mean sit on the couch and do nothing all day. Your rest day should be a light movement day—go for a walk or take a Hatha or Yin yoga class. Even logging time in the sauna or getting a massage will aid recovery. My favorite rest day is beach walking anywhere on this gorgeous island.
8. PRIORITIZE SLEEP. The amount of sleep we get directly impacts our emotional and physical well-being. It is as vital as a healthy diet and exercise. When we’re doing everything right by working out and eating healthily, proper sleep may be the forgotten link to push you through a plateau to feeling your best. We are all unique in the amount of sleep we need, but try to log six to nine hours so you can start each day with the best rested version of yourself.
Meg Swift turned her passion for living a healthy lifestyle into a profession as a fitness expert in Boston. Following a career in investment banking, Meg drastically shifted gears and dedicated her professional focus entirely to fitness and wellness. With this passion, knowledge and experience, she has now developed the Studio Method that combines the best of barre and high-intensity interval training designed to develop core strength, balance, flexibility and endurance. Learn more about Meg and her classes at StudioNantucket.com.