Sometimes you know you need to make a change, but you can’t exactly pinpoint what needs to change. Usually this is a sign that a few areas of your life are out of sync. It’s going to take hard work, but finding clarity and addressing the areas of your life that frustrate you or make you unhappy head on is your only choice for moving forward. There is no better time to start prioritizing your health and wellness than right now.
We want to walk through some of the areas in your life where you may want to focus on building better habits. That way when it comes time to set and reinforce habits, you’ll have some great areas of focus to start with.
Let the clarity start now.
Let’s make one thing clear—you’ll find no weight shaming here.
What we eat affects so much more than just our weight. We actually don’t want to talk about weight right now. We want to talk about the importance of diet because of the effect it can have on how you physically and mentally feel. What we eat can affect our mood, energy, focus, and attention.
We all have different dietary needs, so we’re not going to tell you what you need to eat. Instead we recommend keeping a food journal to track what foods make you feel your best and which make you feel your worst. Dairy might make your stomach feel unsettled or large meals based around meat may slow you down in the middle of the day. Pay attention to how your dietary choices feel, but when it comes down to it, stick to whole foods that are rich in nutrients and never scrimp on the fruits and vegetables.
Need some healthy recipe inspiration? We love Truly Simple: 140 Healthy Recipes for Weekday Cooking!
Some people love working out and others hate it.
If you fall in the later camp, having some perspective on just how important working out is can help motivate you to create better fitness habits. We hate to break it to you but you need to break a sweat whether you like it or not. If you can learn to like it, that’s great. But if not, you need to find a way to make working out habitual enough to stick with it.
You feel better physically and mentally when you work out regularly. Working out is an investment. You invest your time (and sometimes money) into fitness activities, but in return you can enjoy these benefits:
- Help prevent health conditions and diseases
- Lengthen your lifespan
- Relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Feel healthier and happier
- Improve learning, thinking, and judgment capabilities
If it’s past your bedtime right now we want you to walk away from this course and pick it back up tomorrow.
You don’t really need a scientific study to tell you that you feel better and have more cognitive ability when you get a good night’s sleep. It can feel like we have such limited time in the day, especially when it comes to recreation time. As tempting as it is to stay up late to squeeze a bit more time out of your day, getting a good night’s sleep will make the following day so much better.
A lot of what we touched on above plays into your physical health, but of course there will be times when you need to seek the aid of medical professionals. It’s so easy to ignore our health needs. You’re busy and it takes so much time and energy to schedule and attend doctors appointments, but there is no priority that should outweigh taking care of your body.
These are a few types of medical appointments you should prioritize.
|If You Are…||Type of Doctor||Frequency||What to Ask For|
|Under 50 and in good health||Primary care physician||Every three years||A physical examination + a chance to ask questions about your health|
|A woman of any age||OBGYN||Annually||A well check + a chance to ask questions about your health|
|Someone who needs vision correction||Optometrist||Annually||An eye exam|
|Someone who struggles with your stomach||Gastroenterologists||As needed||A chance to ask questions about your health|
|Anyone of any age||DermatologistDentist||AnnuallyEvery six months||A skin cancer checkA dental cleaning|
Luckily we live in an age where there is less and less stigma surrounding mental health. However, some people still feel that stigma. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health and you should never let fear or embarrassment stand in the way of prioritizing mental health. While there are ways to take care of your mental health on your own (diet, exercise, sleep, having a good support system, etc.), there may come a time when you need to seek out professional help.
Not sure where to start? Here’s the difference between some of the mental health professionals that can provide you with support.
|Job Title||Role||Degree Requirements||Licensure & Credentials|
|Psychologists||They evaluate a person’s mental health using clinical interviews, psychological evaluations and testing, can make diagnoses, and can provide individual and group therapy.||Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in a field of psychology or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.).||Licensed by licensure boards in each state.|
|Counselors, Clinicians, & Therapists||They evaluate a person’s mental health and use therapeutic techniques. They operate under a variety of job titles—including counselor, clinician, therapist—based on the treatment setting. They can assist with symptom reduction and better ways of thinking, feeling and living.||Master’s degree (M.S. or M.A.) in a mental health-related field such as psychology, counseling psychology, marriage or family therapy, among others.||Varies by specialty and state.|
|Clinical Social Workers||They evaluate a person’s mental health and use therapeutic techniques based on specific training programs. They are also trained in case management and advocacy services.||Master’s degree in social work (MSW).||LICSW, Licensed Independent Social Workers / LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker / ACSW, Academy of Certified Social Worker|
|Psychiatrists||They are licensed medical doctors who have completed psychiatric training. They can diagnose mental health conditions, prescribe and monitor medications, and provide therapy.||Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), plus completion of residency training in psychiatry.||Licensed physician in the state where they are practicing. May also be designated as a Board Certified Psychiatrist by the Board of Neurology and Psychiatry.|
In the meantime, start to think about what makes you feel your best not just physically, but mentally. Where in your day to day life can you find ways to incorporate more of what makes you feel good? Do you find that going on a run after work always helps you unwind? Can meditating on your lunch break bring your stress levels down? When you skip that morning cup of coffee do you feel less anxious?
Your mental health deserves just as much care as your physical health. If you aren’t sure how to best care for your mental health, one of the professionals listed above should be able to help you come up with an action plan that includes healthy habits to incorporate into your daily routine. Journaling can also help you find clarity. At the end of every day ask yourself the following questions.
- What made me feel anxious today?
- When did I feel the most calm or at peace?
- What did I eat today and how did I feel after eating?
- Did I make time to exercise?
- What was the highlight of my day?
- What am I looking forward to tomorrow?
Taking care of your mental health is so important and creates a domino effect. You’ll find that when you look after your mental health it’s easier to make progress in all areas of your life.
To wrap things up, we want to talk about building habits that embrace balance.
Yes, it’s important that you eat well, but it’s also okay to go to that carb-loaded brunch on Sunday and enjoy waffles and a mimosa. Balance can resonate in all areas of our lives. It’s great to be career focused, but it’s also important to make time for family and friends. At the same time you can’t overcommit to your friends and family if it leads to you not having enough time to work out, sleep well, or pursue your goals.
We want you to set ambitious goals for yourself, but to also keep balance in mind.
Want to learn more about how you can create and master the habits that can affect your health and wellness? Our new course A Lesson in Building Healthy Habits is coming soon.