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I have a deep passion for health goals: the books on my nightstand are solely dedicated to self-improvement, my trusty step tracker on my Apple Watch has become my closest companion over the years, my hobbies are around wellness, and earlier this year, I took the plunge into a career shift to dedicate mine to assisting others in achieving their wellness objectives. I went from running a social media agency to focusing on Wellness Bum and expanding on the brand as a Health Coach, recently concluding my certification at Chopra and now starting at IIN. As I’ve worked with clients this year, helping them create and establish health goals and a wellness routine that aligns with them, I have realized that this is my true calling. In working with clients, it’s made me realize that, as we approach the end of the month and head into summer, only one health goal consumes my attention: restoration, relaxation, and stress reduction.
You see, regardless of whether it is a New Year’s resolution or the strategies that suit us best each month, the essence of health should never be constrictive or fixed. Instead, it is meant to adapt to the seasons, the passage of time, and the circumstances of our lives.
As we wrap up the month, most of us find ourselves contending with work-related pressures, the post-pandemic-induced anxiety that lingers, and even stress stemming from seemingly trivial matters such as budgeting with ever-rising prices due to inflation or meticulously scheduling social gatherings to mind out budget. Hence, my sole health aspiration for this new month is restoration, relaxation, and stress reduction. After all, I firmly believe that the essence of physical well-being lies in promoting mental health. Nourishing our bodies with wholesome foods and engaging in physical activity are tools that enable us to live our lives with utmost happiness. Here is how I am reevaluating my healthy habits in every facet of my life, with a renewed focus on alleviating stress.
With exercise: trying stress-relieving yoga & low-impact mat pilates
With regards to exercise, consider trying stress-relieving activities such as yoga or gentle low-impact movements like pilates. While I appreciate intense HIIT classes and sculpt sessions, true “health” does not entail pushing yourself to the limit every single day. It’s about finding a balance that suits your body’s specific needs. In my case, I require stress relief and relaxation this month, and exercise should not be an exception. To satisfy my desire for a challenge, I’ve decided to embark on an ALO Moves pilates challenge or engage in a virtual yoga retreat.
The Alo Moves 5-Day Yoga Rest Retreat program provides an opportunity to connect deeply with yoga by offering creative daily flows, beachside breathwork, mini workshops, and inspiring wellness talks. Through these classes, you will push yourself physically and mentally, rekindling your passion for yoga and releasing any expectations. This routine will help ground you to your mat and restore balance during an exceptionally stressful month.
Even if you believe that following strict dietary rules such as “no sugar” or “no processed food” is beneficial for your health, the truth is that restrictions can be stressful. Personally, I have moved away from outdated food rules long ago. However, I still choose to follow a mostly plant-based diet rich in vegetables and seafood and prioritize consuming whole foods that originate from the Earth, as they make me feel good. However, sticking rigidly to a particular diet or way of eating can lead to feelings of guilt and stress, especially during summer gatherings and when faced with tempting treats and the pressure of bikini season.
Rather than adhering to my mostly plant-based eating habits constantly, I recognize that since I regularly nourish my body with fruits and vegetables, indulging in chocolate chip cookies from Urban Remedy (these are my weakness!) or enjoying in an In-n-Out burger will not cause any harm. It is perfectly fine to have occasional mindful indulgences within a healthy diet. I will consistently assess what my body needs at any moment: Do I feel sluggish and require more vegetables to nourish myself, or can I savor a slice of pumpkin pie without guilt? Instead of striving for dietary perfection, my number one priority will be self-compassion when it comes to eating.
With morning and evening routines: making extra time for myself (whatever that means)
I thrive on my morning and evening rituals. The warm embrace of a cup of detox water or lemon water in the morning, with all its Ayurvedic benefits, and my Five Minute Journal for practicing gratitude set the tone for my day. Anticipating the evening brings a sense of joy as I look forward to indulging in stretches, skincare, and meditation. However, during holidays or busy periods, fitting routines become more challenging. My clients often approach me at such times, feeling frustrated for not prioritizing morning meditations or replacing self-care with Netflix marathons. My response? The purpose of a routine or any self-care practice is not to merely tick off items from a checklist. Rather, it should revolve around doing something that brings you joy, in a manner that resonates with you and for however long you can manage.
Certainly, I relish having an entire hour for winding down. Still, there are nights when it transforms into five precious minutes of solitude, engrossed in my favorite book before bed, without even performing a skincare routine. And you know what? That’s absolutely fine. In essence, morning and evening routines should not feel like additional tasks on your to-do list or chores to be scheduled. Instead, they should flow effortlessly and fill you with anticipation. Carve out time for yourself every morning and night while remaining open to the possibility that the appearance of that time may change.
With work: prioritizing self-compassion and enjoyment
You may have a lengthy list of tasks to complete before your Summer vacation and for the rest of the year, or you might be putting in long hours to ensure the success of your business. I’ve noticed that I tend to put the most pressure on myself this season. I want to feel proud of my accomplishments throughout the year, even if the past six months have slowly been meeting my goals. Additionally, I aim to feel ahead and accomplished by December. While ambition and hard work are valuable, it’s important not to neglect self-care when placing too much pressure on yourself. I’ve discovered that I can be more productive and successful in my work life if I allow myself to take breaks, set strict cutoff times, and remember that the purpose of life is to enjoy it, including our careers. After all, I work for myself to create more time to savor the fulfilling aspects of life. This month, I’m approaching tasks I cannot compete with self-compassion and dedicating more time to activities that don’t feel like work, such as client sessions or writing articles like this one.
With summer activities: finding balance between alone time and time with loved ones
During previous summers, I strived to include everything in my schedule: summer BBQs, pool parties, weddings, happy hours, weekend getaways, and wine tastings in Napa with friends. The concept of “balance” was far from my mind, and “alone time” seemed like a distant memory, overshadowed by other priorities. This year, however, as I enjoy precious moments with my family during my stay in California after moving to Madrid, I have come to appreciate the significance of quality time with loved ones. Rather than attempting to do everything, I aim to strike a harmonious equilibrium between family bonding and personal rejuvenation.
Even if you are spending your summers with family, it is crucial to make time for yourself and prioritize self-care. Whether going for a morning jog, indulging in a relaxing bath at night, taking a leisurely walk, or seizing any available recharge, carve out moments for solitude. Having social engagements on your calendar can provide something to anticipate while guaranteeing that you spend time with the people you hold dear. Both alone time, where we prioritize ourselves, and time with loved ones, where we share laughter and connection, hold equal importance. Therefore, focus on finding the balance that suits your needs and desires.
Final Balancing Thoughts
As we approach the end of the month and transition into the summer season, it is essential to recognize that the essence of health should never be rigid or confining. Our health goals should adapt to the changing seasons, the passage of time, and the circumstances of our lives. While having a passion for health and wellness is important, it’s equally important to find balance and prioritize self-care.
This month, I focus on restoration, relaxation, and stress reduction. I’ve realized that promoting mental health is at the core of physical well-being. Regarding exercise, I am exploring stress-relieving activities such as yoga and low-impact pilates, embracing the opportunity to challenge myself and find solace on the mat. Additionally, I am reevaluating my dietary habits, allowing myself to eat intuitively and enjoy occasional indulgences without guilt.
Morning and evening routines are crucial to my well-being, but I’ve learned to be flexible and adapt them to fit my current circumstances. Self-compassion is key; even five minutes of solitude with a favorite book can be just as nourishing as a longer routine. In my work life, I prioritize self-compassion and enjoyment, understanding that breaks and balance contribute to productivity and success.
Finally, as I spend this summer with my family, I am striving to balance alone time and quality time with loved ones. Carving out moments for solitude allows for self-reflection and rejuvenation while engaging in social activities with loved ones brings joy and connection.
In the end, health is not a one-size-fits-all concept. It is a journey of self-discovery and finding what works best for us in each season of our lives. By prioritizing self-care, flexibility, and balance, we can truly embrace the essence of health and live our lives to the fullest. And, if you need some help, book a One-On-One Health Coaching Consultwith me!
I'm an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200), offering guidance to high achievers in aligning their lifestyle with well-being through daily wellness and self-care routines, promoting balance and harmony. Join me at Wellness Bum for tips on living well, and consider subscribing to my newsletter or booking a coaching session.