You may hear a lot about wellness and strive for wellness in your own life, but sometimes, it can be difficult to make the changes that you need. Habits are hard to shift, and the benefits of some things you do for increased wellness are over the long term. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worthwhile, but it does mean it can be hard to motivate yourself when you don’t see immediate results. It can be helpful to take some quick action to jump-start a better way of living. Below are five things you can do today, or at least this week, to get started on the path of wellness.
1. Make a Medical Appointment
When was the last time you had a checkup? Have you seen your dentist lately? If the answer to either of these questions indicates that it’s been a long time since you actually saw a medical professional, pick up the phone or go online right now and make an appointment. If there is something specific you want to ask your doctor about, telehealth may also be an option.
This can be a fast and convenient way to access care, and it is becoming much more common. In fact, on some college campuses, an all-in-one telehealth provider is focused specifically on the needs of students. This provider offers a complete care solution to students for both their physical and mental health needs. If you attend college or you have children who do, you may want to find out more about telehealth solutions for students. You can also see a guide at this site here with tips for students to better manage their mental health both on campus and off.
2. Take a Hike
Getting some exercise is a great way to improve how you feel mentally and physically. However, it can be daunting to think about starting a big program. Maybe you feel like you need to research local gyms and the classes they offer, or you think you need to shop for all the right clothing and equipment before you can get started. Maybe you’re waiting to see if a friend wants to join you. Instead of all this waiting and analyzing, go out for a walk today, or take a swim instead if that’s what you prefer. You could even dance or garden.
The activity itself does not matter as much as the fact that you will break the ice and get active. Afterward, write a note to yourself about how you feel that you can look at in a day or two to encourage more activity. If you’re already pretty active, modify this in a way that is meaningful for you. Try a new activity or reach for a goal that’s been intimidating you.
3. Be Mindful
Meditation is not for everyone, but at its core is an essential commitment to paying close attention to things that you can try to incorporate into your day-to-day life. Mornings are a great time to spend five or ten minutes being mindful. Look out your window or step outside and focus on something there. It might be a bird, or it could be your neighbor’s car. The object itself matters less than that you really pay attention to it.
You can use your other senses as well. What are you hearing? What do you smell? Once you spend a few minutes focusing in this way, you may be surprised to realize how much you filter out as you go about your day. Of course, you need to filter or you would never get anything done, but it can be a useful exercise to stop a few times each time and take a moment to really pay attention. Another thing that you may notice is how often your thoughts intrude on these efforts to be mindful. You might realize that it is awfully noisy inside your head. How can you calm that chatter or at least pay less attention to it?
4. Change Your Boundaries
Are you someone who says “no” to too many things and finds yourself missing out, or do you catch yourself saying “yes” far too often and feeling overscheduled? At some point today, depending on which of these best describes you, lower your defenses or set a boundary, even if it is in a small way. If you habitually wear earbuds so no one can talk to you, take them out. Agree to go to an event or read a book or listen to a piece of music that you normally wouldn’t. If your problem is the opposite one, practice saying “no.” It will feel strange at first, and you will be tempted to overexplain, but it is okay to just smile and say, “I’m sorry, I can’t.”
Maybe you need to set boundaries at work, leaving on time instead of staying late every day, or perhaps you need to set one with a friend or family member, finding a way to tell your sister you will not be answering her texts the second they arrive any longer. In fact, think about setting boundaries around texting, email and social media entirely. These constant interruptions throughout the day can make it hard to ever fully focus on deep work. It can feel strange to do this at first, but taking care of yourself before anyone else actually makes it easier for you to be fully present with others.
5. Back to Basics
When was the last time you had a good night’s sleep? Do you make an effort to eat a reasonably balanced diet, or is lunch whatever looks good in the office vending machine? You might be surprised at how much better you’ll feel if you eat three decent meals today and go to bed early enough to get eight hours of sleep. Practicing good sleep hygiene can help ensure that those eight hours are quality. Try not to drink any caffeine in the evening, and turn off screens in the last hour before you go to bed. Make sure your room is quiet, dark and cool. Do something soothing before bed, such as taking a hot bath or shower or reading something relaxing.