Wellness Corner: Designing a Life You Love — Part Two

   Part One discussed taking basic steps to clarify your values and to identify the qualities, components, and experiences you would like to include in your future. Do you want to live in Europe someday, grow a vegetable garden, or write a book? Whatever goals and experiences are important to you personally, are ones worth pursuing. This week we take a closer look at some key, concrete steps and lifestyle habits you can use to live an intentional and joyful life today and in the future.

Make mental and physical health priorities
   So many times we think that the term “mental health” pertains only to those with a diagnosed mental illness, but the truth is that mental health and wellness are for everyone.
   Managing stress, engaging in self-care activities, cultivating healthy relationships, and engaging in positive self-talk are all components of mental health. Likewise, know the signs of mental illness and seek out a qualified professional counselor and talk with your doctor when you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, sad, or unwell.
   Luckily, physical and mental health go hand in hand, so the things that you do for one, are also good for the other. Activities like getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and staying physically active all help our minds and bodies to be fit and healthy.  Being mentally and physically healthy will help you achieve any goal with more energy, fewer sick days, and lower overall health-care costs.

Manage your energy 
   Being busy does not automatically equal success, productivity, or happiness.  Periodically evaluate:  What am I “busy” doing?  Is this putting me on track to achieve my goal or taking me farther from it?  We might get “busy” checking email and social media, but is that contributing to us building our life?  If so, great!  If not, re-evaluate and make a change.

Choose your circle of influence
   Studies show that we become like the five people we hang around or communicate with the most. This thought will either make you excited or nervous. Would you like to become like the people you are spending time with, or not? If so, excellent! If not, ask yourself why.
   It’s important to socialize with friends who are supportive of our improvements and goals and not jealous or threatened by them. If you choose to remain in a less than positive relationship with someone, decide how much you will allow their comments and opinions to affect your decision making.
Check your attitude
   Your attitude determines your altitude.  Do you encourage yourself with positive self-talk and look for the lesson or silver lining in challenging situations?
   Some people might be born more positive than others, but more importantly, positive thinking and maintenance of an excellent attitude can be learned and practiced.
   Read, watch, and listen to positive and uplifting books, articles, shows, podcasts and music.  Keep a journal, process and shift your negative feelings to cultivate an attitude that will not only get you through whatever challenges you might face but will help you experience more joy as well.

Seek mentoring
   Do you want to start and grow an amazing business, learn to paint, or become a personal trainer?  Find someone who has done the same thing and ask for a learning lunch appointment, phone interview, or their recommendations for books, classes, next steps, etc.  Finding a mentor or even spending a little bit of time learning from someone who has been where you want to be can be an invaluable resource to you achieving your goals.

Manage your money
   It’s not always about how much money you make, but rather, how much you are able to keep. If you struggle in this area or are unsure about what to do with different aspects of your finances, spend some time doing some research online or with a trusted friend or relative who is good at handling and saving money.
   Be wary of people and organizations who market products or services “for free”. By clarifying your goals and values you more easily see what you want your income to provide for you.

Make time for quiet reflection
   Remember to schedule quiet time to check in with the CEO of your amazing life — you!  So many times we get so busy or stressed that we lose touch with ourselves.  Carve out time throughout the year to evaluate what is working, what is not, and which steps you are choosing to take right now to grow personally, and to design a life that you love.

Be patient with yourself and look for the joy in your journey
   Remember that failure isn’t fatal and that you are allowed to change your mind along the way.  Enjoy making choices, finding what does and does not work for you, and discovering your true self along the way.

Ashley Geist-Cusik

Photo courtesy The Orkid Project.