How do you live a healthy lifestyle?
Most people are going to tell you that to make healthy living a lifestyle and not just a fad, habit is key. Make healthy choices a reflex, and you’re no longer wasting your energy weighing your options.
Still, even if you know that creating habits is a key part of a healthy life, it’s easy to get caught up thinking that every day fits a perfect template of healthy actions. Wake up, drink lemon water, eat a perfectly portioned breakfast, write in your gratitude journal, and go to bed by a certain time each night. Like clockwork, right?
Life doesn’t work that way! Deep down, you know that, but you still beat yourself up when your day doesn’t fit that perfect healthy template.
Compounding the struggle: scrolling through Instagram or Facebook and seeing your friend live this perfectly curated healthy life. Again, you KNOW deep down that you’re seeing a highlight reel, but you wonder why your life doesn’t look that way.
So here I am, a healthy living and food blogger, desperate to show you that your life does NOT have to be a perfect healthy template every damn day. Life is messy. Life throws roadblocks in your way. It certainly doesn’t reflect the highlight reel we all see on social media.
Healthy living isn’t perfection. It’s about building habits that you fall back on, even when life gets messy. Because it WILL get messy!
Related: I’m Not Perfect Paleo. Here’s Why.
So here are 8 healthy living habits that I don’t get around to doing every day, from the most basic stuff to the extras.
Eat a salad.
Salads are healthy, right? And actually, I LOVE salads. But I still don’t eat a hearty bowl of greens every day. Heck, some days the only veggies I eat are tossed in as a pizza topping afterthought.
That’s normal! That’s life. Some days I’m all about that salad life. Other days I’d rather eat roasted veggies. And occasionally I don’t eat any at all in a day. I might try to minimize those days, but a single day without veggies isn’t going to kill me.
Most mornings, you can find me at my CrossFit box, lifting weights or slogging through the WOD with friends. But certainly not every morning. Everyone needs rest.
And some days, that rest looks like lying on the couch reading or watching YouTube videos all day, maybe picking myself up to relax into a nice hot bath while…reading or watching YouTube videos.
Sure, that may not be the ideal way to spend a rest day. Or 5 rest days in a row.
But, hey! I’m proudly human, and at times my human brain just doesn’t want to communicate with my human body.
I try to start every morning with a short-and-sweet stretch routine. It wakes me up, gets me feeling flexy, and puts me in the right mindset for the day.
I have so many good reasons to always start my day with that 5-minute stretch routine… And still, it doesn’t always happen.
Some mornings I straight up forget. Other mornings I have a to-do list a mile long and I choose not to devote even 5 minutes of my day to anything else. And sometimes I start stretching and one of my cats decides I’m trying to cuddle instead, so the stretching thing gets mindfully thrown to the backburner because kitty cuddles are good for the soul.
This one’s a bit personal to me — I only mention it because I know that dairy will cause hidradenitis suppurativa flare-ups (if you want to know more about that, check out how I naturally manage HS).
By managing my diet and lifestyle, I can proudly say I’ve avoided major HS flare-ups for about 5 years. Avoiding dairy is a big part of that!
But some days, I still eat dairy. I might buy cheese or heavy cream and consume dairy throughout the entire week. And after that many days of using dairy, I might end up with a flare-up…
But I also recognize that that’s life. That’s MY choice. And I own it. I don’t beat myself down for choosing to eat something I know might adversely affect my health.
Because at the end of the day, I’ll return to my non-dairy norm and keep rockin’ my day-to-day life. In the context of my entire life (currently, the average life expectancy for females in the US is around 80), a week is a tiny blip on the radar. Why beat myself up for it?
I could go on and on about the benefits of getting outdoors and, more specifically, spending time in nature. Actually, I should write a post about it one day!
Still, even though I know there are numerous benefits to getting outside (to your mood, your physical health, your outlook, your empathy towards others), I can go long stretches without ever intentionally getting outside. (Not counting walking to and from the car, of course.)
Especially in the winter. I live in North Dakota, and let me be frank: for good chunks of the winter, going outside for longer than 5 minutes could mean frostbite or, in the extremes, death. So yeah, I think the boost to my mood is better sought somewhere else in the winter.
Take my supplements.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever forgotten to take your vitamins or supplements. Uh, I’m pretty sure you’re lying if you’re not raising your hand like a fool in front of your screen.
I don’t take many supplements, but the ones I do take are important to me. See above about the North Dakota winters. Vitamin D is downright essential around here!
Still, I forget to take them. Actually, I just got up from my desk and went to take my supplements, because writing this made me realize I haven’t taken them yet today. (Whoops.)
And that’s okay. There’s always tomorrow!
Maybe you can relate to me on this one. I’ve tried numerous times to make meditation a habit. Every time, it hasn’t stuck.
Honestly, I find meditation to be cool and fun. I enjoy doing it. But no matter what my intentions or determination, I haven’t been able to fit this piece into the puzzle of my day.
And maybe I never will. That’s okay too. What fits “healthy” for one person doesn’t necessarily fit “healthy” for another!
Follow a morning routine.
Oh, if only ONE of those “here’s the perfect morning/evening routine for a productive day” articles on the internet actually worked, right?
An optimal morning routine has been on my wishlist for years. But I haven’t figured it out yet. And hey, my life is still pretty dang healthy even though I don’t have the perfect morning routine down!
At the end of the day, I want this post to help you realize that living a healthy lifestyle isn’t an all-or-nothing, black and white, this is the way your day has to be structured sort of life.
Healthy habits, just like any habits, are part of a routine… but healthy living, just like any life, is messy.
Life is constantly shifting, and even the most ingrained habits can get jiggled around. That’s okay!
Missing a workout doesn’t mean you don’t prioritize health. Not eating any vegetables in a day doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy. Realizing a “healthy” habit doesn’t work for you doesn’t make you a failure. No reason to feel guilty or ashamed for something that’s just part of life!
You feel me on this? Hop in the comments or tag me on social media (@doyouevenpaleo) with your healthy living habit that you don’t do every day!