It’s that time of year, no not Christmas but yes also that. Really I meant, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!
I was torn between using the word WELLNESS in this title because I feel like I say “wellness” a lot and I wanted to use HAPPINESS because I feel like it’s less sterile. But the truth is, what I’ve cultivated runs much more deeply than what can be described by the emotion-based word, “happy.”
Last year, in my 24 things I’ve learned about health post I wrote what knowledge about health I’ve obtained. But, in this post I wanted to detail the actionable ways that I cultivate and maintain a well-balanced life.
I’m definitely not perfect, the farthest thing from it actually. That is how I’ve learned oh so much in these past 25 years about how to support my own wellness 🙂 via trial and error. I hope some of these can be applied to your life, or already are in your wellness routine.
Happy reading, thanks for celebrating this milestone birthday with me!
1. Journaling– There is no substitute for this medium of self-expression in my life. Writing, drawing, typing, erasing, scribbling out, deleting and doing it all over again. All of these actions pertaining to journaling have helped me tremendously.
2. Limiting screen time– I always try to put away my phone when with friends and family. Also, I make it a point to exit out of a show once I’ve finished watching so it doesn’t automatically start the next episode. Since deleting social media this has been pretty easy. I try not to constantly check my phone and only consume media consciously.
3. Making time for loved ones– Special time with each of my family members, my friends, and my boyfriend individually and also all together is an absolute priority for me.
4. Making time for myself– Sometimes, a lot of the time actually, I need to do things with Kristen and for Kristen.
5. Making time for my daughter – I’m kidding, sort of. My cat, Abby, who might as well be my daughter has been my baby for 15 years now and she needs SPECIAL attention. She soothes me, so really I need the special attention from her.
6. Exercise schedule– I love the gym. I love working out and keeping active, always have, and God help me, I always WILL! I love the gym that I personal train at and I really enjoy visiting new gyms. I’m also partial to the home workout and the occasional outdoor workout. I make my own programs but sometimes, when I’m feeling a little dangerous, I like to go into the gym with absolutely no plan at all.
7. Balanced diet– I don’t follow a diet plan, I never had (except for when I competed). I eat intuitively and try, TRY for the 80/20 rule. 80% of my food comes from whole food sources and 20% may or may not. I’m never stringent but I don’t overdo it. I’ve really found a great balance that fits my lifestyle.
8. Sustainable practices– I still have a long way to go with this but I try my best to be environmentally sustainable. Not only do these habits help ME but they also help my community and the world at large (I truly believe the smallest things can make a difference). I recycle and use a reusable water bottle. I also like to buy my clothes second-hand, this one is a big for me.
9. Taking time off– Vacation is important, I love going on new adventures with my loved ones in places I could have never even dreamed up.
10. Being proactive– Preparation is HUGE in my life. I have a planner, I have 3 jobs and an internship, so I HAVE to stay organized especially because of the nature of my jobs, I really don’t have a particularly ‘set’ schedule in the traditional sense. Not only in terms of appointments, but emotionally I try to be proactive instead of reactive by practicing mindfulness and understanding things that may cause me anxiety or unease. By anticipating these scenarios, I can prepare myself and lessen their impact.
11. Mantras– I have a mantra that I recite to myself each night before I go to sleep, it’s like a prayer. It’s personal to me, my values, and goals and it helps me stay focused on the simple things in life that are important to me. Throughout my school years and even now, I’ve surrounded myself by quotes that are powerful to me and put them in places where I can see them regularly. I highly encourage this.
12. Decluttering frequently– It’s no secret that I love to organize and THROW (or give) UNUSED THINGS AWAY! This helps me to clear my physical space, and my headspace as well.
13. Cutting off supply to energy vampires– This one is self-explanatory. Once I spot the tell-tale signs of someone/something which sucks the life energy out of the room, I make it a point to avoid or limit contact with that person/thing. For more on this see my post on how to avoid energy vampires.
14. Setting boundaries– Boundaries are key to cultivating balance. I don’t always know how to clearly define them but having my Kristen time helps me sort out where my energy is going and how to replenish the well that I give myself from in the areas of work, passions, and relationships.
15. Trying new things– Whether that simply be changing my routine, i.e. switching from night workout to early mornings or going to a new country! I like to switch things up every once in a while. My boyfriend is really good at getting me out of my comfort zone and fully immersed in adventuring. I enjoy seeing new landscapes, museums, artists or simply trying a new kind of coffee or bagel at my favorite breakfast spot.
16. Routine– Maintaining some semblance of a routine is my saving grace between my sporadic and sometimes unpredictable work schedules. I like to go to sleep and wake up at around the same time.
17. Foam rolling– It’s true, it helps me stay limber and keeps my muscles from stiffening up.
18. Limiting sensory triggers– I limit my exposure to smells, sounds, and certain sights, which really helps me feel at ease on a daily basis. I’m very sensitive to my surroundings so I like neutral colors, quiet, and minimal smells—even the good ones.
19. Treating myself– I’m not a big spender so sometimes this means, buying myself a latte or doing my nails at home. It could also mean extra foam rolling or extra time without electronics and more time playing outside. Usually on my bday I splurge for, or my mom treats me to, a massage. I really look forward to this special treat.
20. Feeling free to fail– Failure and I have done a wild tango these past 25 years. But what I’ve gained from the less than DWTS worthy number is that I love putting myself out there and I won’t let my ego hurt my ambition. If I want to go for something, and it makes sense for me at the time, I go for it. If it works out, great. If not, so be it. I’m grateful to have learned how to cultivate happiness in times where I’m super bummed so I’m not afraid to go after my dreams.
25. ! Okay, so maybe it’s a cop out for me to make the last 5 items REST! BUT, in my defense, rest is REALLY important AND resting is something I wish I had done MORE of in the past 5 years (plus, it was just a pain to come up with 25 things I didn’t realize how many that was :p). All jokes aside, rest is totally underrated. And I don’t mean laying on the couch while scrolling through Facebook. That is not rest. I’m talking about restorative, tranquil, no phone, immersed in nature kind of peace and quiet that insights real and true relaxation.
Here’s to a quarter century, happy birthday to all my fellow Sagittarius’s out there!