This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our full Disclosure Policy.
My whole life, I’ve been a worrier! When I was younger, I would worry about my friends… I would worry about my boyfriends… I would worry about my coworkers… I would worry to WORRY!
This post is very personal to me and one that in the past would’ve been out of my comfort zone, but I know that the majority of people struggle with similar situations; therefore, I wanted to share what I have found to help with my overall well-being and mental health. I can genuinely say these six essentials have made me a better mother, wife, business owner, and friend! I hope my 6 essentials to a happier life can also help some of you.
Making ‘ME’ Time
After having children, it can be easy to lose sight of yourself!! Even before kids, I didn’t know what healthy ME time was. I spent years just living my life but not being ‘there’ for most of it, not being present! I now feel I have the ‘tools’ to live a happy and fulfilling life. This all began by ensuring I took an hour a day for ‘ME’! Whether it’s to improve your mind through knowledge/learning, practicing mindfulness, getting in a great workout at the gym/yoga, or meeting a girlfriend for coffee, now I make sure I look after myself first because it makes me a better parent, wife, friend, and business owner.
Feed your Brain
Read a book! Take that course you have always wanted to take! Listen to a great Podcast! This is one place where, for many years, I struggled. I never enjoyed ‘sitting,’ so the thought of sitting and reading a book, unless I was on a beach somewhere, did not appeal to me. Don’t get me wrong, in the past, I’ve read a book or two, but not ones that helped me feel like I have achieved any personal growth or knowledge. Over the last few years, I’ve started implementing audiobooks and podcasts into my life every morning! I wake up, take 10 minutes to meditate, pour my morning coffee, and begin my day by listening to something that will inspire me and set me off on a positive path in the morning. I like to switch up the topics every time I finish a book, from parenting to self-help or mindfulness to financial, blogging/business books, just about anything that I feel sets me up for a good day! I usually listen to these while I’m getting ready in the morning and apply my makeup or do my hair. A few of my favorite books are The Code to the Extraordinary Mind, 10% Happier, and Rising Strong. I also love to follow amazing and inspiring people like Rachel Hollis, Brene Brown, and Jenna Kutcher.
Fuel your body
Nutrition is the most basic place to start looking after yourself and probably one of the most important! We all have control over what we put in our bodies! I don’t just mean the types of foods but also the quantities. In the past, I’ve always tried to eat healthy, being aware of the foods I put in my body and trying to steer clear of anything processed. Somehow, along that path, I felt the need to eliminate as much fat as possible. This was a HUGE mistake that I didn’t realize was affecting me as much as it was until I corrected it.
I started counting Macros almost three years ago and have never looked back. In a quick description, Macros is a consistent daily consumption of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins! Using a Macros calculator, you can calculate the appropriate number of each component based on your body weight and activity level. You can also find a good nutrition coach who can help you find your correct numbers and help keep you on track over the months.
Macros make sense for my body! Rather than eating like I was 300 pounds one day and then like I was 90 pounds the next, I would control my food intake and consistently eat the same amount every day! After feeding my body the exact amounts of fats, carbs, and protein every day, my metabolism stabilized, and I didn’t try to fix my over or under-eating.
After consistently eating this way for a while, not only did I feel better, but my memory and mood improved, as well as my capacity to take on the day! The additional fat, good fats, in my diet, was probably what I noticed the most; I felt like my brain was happy again! I wouldn’t forget as many things as I felt more satisfied and had more energy throughout the day.
Find Time for fitness. No. Matter. What.
I remember reading an article once that said exercise is the number one way to change your mental state! I couldn’t agree with this more! Some mornings I wake up and feel almost a bit foggy and cranky if I am being completely honest. If I can take one hour and get a run in or hit the gym, I am a different person! I come out with a clear head and a positive attitude! Joining a gym or fitness class with regular members can also result in new friendships and laughs daily with like-minded people! I think the whole experience is just good for the soul!
Set Goals, Even Small Ones.
This has never been a strong point for me; I have always been a bit of a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ kinda gal! I am more of a ‘passion’ follower than a ‘goal’ setter, but over the years, I have tried to implement more goal setting into my life.
Our family starts every year in January by writing down our goals for the year and reviewing them at the year’s end to see how we did. You can read all about how we started setting our game-changer goals here. Our goals are then hung on the inside door of our pantry so we can see them and review them every time we open them. We also started our children doing this when they were just three years old. They set goals as simple as learning to ride a bike or read. It’s always such a great confidence-building moment when they realize they have actually achieved their goal at the year’s end. My husband and I feel that same confidence boost when we hit our goals. The list consists of personal, business, and even home improvement goals. Taking the time once a month to review goals will keep you on track and help you achieve things you can only imagine!
Mindfulness and Meditation.
This is probably the newest component I have added to my everyday life, but I think it has become one of the most important, if not the most important, pieces! Mental health is such a huge issue for so many, me included, over the years, and it is not something too many people talk about. Taking 10-15 minutes a day to meditate and preform mindfulness practice a game changer and something so many people don’t do. I see it as the equivalent of going to the gym but for the mind. I started using the Headspace App on my phone almost two years ago and have never looked back. It’s like carrying a pocket therapist around with you! I now love to start my day with meditation and writing down my intentions for the day. I also write out three things I am thankful for in my Thankfulness App, and then I get reminders on my phone throughout the day of those things! It helps to keep your positive mindset even on bad days, and it is amazing how much a little bit of ‘quietness’ does for a person!
One more tip for all of you parents out there is to do the same for your children. Every morning before my kids head off to school, I ask them both to tell me one thing they love about themselves and one thing they are grateful for. It doesn’t matter what they say back; it’s the process of taking a moment to think of something positive, which is the exercise’s point.
I genuinely hope each of you takes something away from my six essentials to a happier life! As I said before, this is not a typical post for me and is a bit out of my comfort zone, but I do feel that these practices have made HUGE improvements in my life and can do the same for some of you. Please let me know if you have any other practices you do in your life that have been ‘game changers’! Have a wonderful day, sweet ones, and thank you for reading along!!
Photos by Meghan Unger Photography
Makeup by Makeup By Ashleigh