In this article, I want to share with you 10 healthy habits that completely changed my life. I hope this will also impact your life for the better.
So much of what I speak about has to do with the Sacred Feminine, with holistic living, and the overarching theme of empowerment for women. I take a very holistic approach to life. For me, healthy habits are a part of that, but they’re not just your typical health concepts.
I’m going to share with you some very specific things I’ve done over the years that’ve helped me so much to step into who I am, to feel more confident, more empowered, more connected to who I am, and even feel more energized, alive, and joyful.
Take what you want and leave the rest behind. These are 10 things that I’d list as some of the biggest things that made an impact on me.
The first is to eliminate substances.
I don’t partake in alcohol, marijuana, or any other kind of drugs. I don’t even drink coffee. I’m not saying these are necessary eliminations for everyone, but I grew up in a family with a lot of alcohol and I binge drank a lot in my early years, late teens, and early 20s. I got to a point where I realized if I kept doing that, things were not going to go so well for me.
I always remember as a little kid seeing my father come home with hunting buddies and they’d be drinking and I’d be playing.
I remember looking up and thinking, “Where are they?”
Back then I didn’t make the connection, but when I myself ended up getting into binge drinking, I started to realize how much I was losing myself, like I was not able to be grounded within my being.
Sometimes it means you have to be willing to feel some of the pain. Substances numb us out and don’t allow us to feel our pain fully. However, being willing to sit with my pain is one of the biggest shifts toward healthy living, holistic living, and empowered living I’ve ever made.
Not partaking in substances helps me feel I can stay in myself and be truly connected to myself.
Eliminate Refined Sugar
Another one that may be equated to substances is refined sugar.
I have a big sweet tooth. I still to this day love my desserts. I love sweet things, but I try to have all of the sweet things be whole fruit or things like honey, maple syrup or maybe a bit of agave. I try to keep the use of sweeteners to a minimum.
I remember my grandfather ended up with type 2 diabetes later in his life, and that’s becoming a huge issue in our culture today.
Diabetes is running rampant, and looking at sugar intake is really big. More importantly, there have been so many studies done that show that, the addictive capacities of refined white sugar are actually greater than something like cocaine. We really need to look at how much sugar intake we have.
What’s it doing to our brains?
How easily can we let it go?
How much is it taking us out of ourselves?
For me, sugar made me super anxious. I’d often feel depressed. I’d get those late-in-the-day three o’clock crashes that so many of us get.
Eliminating sugar has changed that. I literally don’t get those anymore. I feel energy regularly. I have my burnout moments and times of overworking myself, but it usually has nothing to do with my food, so that’s huge.
Eliminate Processed Foods
I also eliminated processed foods to the largest extent that I could.
We process food in our kitchens all the time. When we chop vegetables, mix things together to bake a cake, or whatever we’re doing to create a meal, that’s processing.
But when it’s processed already for you in the store, it usually has all kinds of additives, preservatives, and other chemicals in it that are not so good for you, so I’ve pretty much eliminated processed foods from the store unless they’re made in a way that I would make them at home.
I don’t do that a hundred percent of the time, but most of the time.
It’s helpful to follow the idea of shopping the perimeter of the store where you’re shopping the produce section, the frozen food section, the dairy section, for eggs and things like that, but you’re not going into the aisles with the premade, canned, boxed, and packaged foods that have all of those ingredients that are not nurturing for you.
There have been so many studies done around a lot of the ingredients in that food. Even though they’re declared safe by the FDA, they’re not good for our brains, our development, or our energy level. They’re also often quite addictive.
Eliminating processed foods does make a huge difference in your ability to be yourself.
You might be shocked at how much more energy, aliveness, connectedness, and joy that you feel eliminating things like substances, sugar, and processed foods.
Another habit that’s helped me and changed my life drastically is journaling.
I talk about journaling in many of my YouTube videos. I publish my Sacred Nights of Winter journal every single year, which comes out in late September or early October, when I launch it for preorders.
I have a free download for you, my guide to journaling. It’s a workbook for you to help get you into journaling and the many ways to approach it.
I don’t journal religiously, or every day. I’m not recording my thoughts every single day. I love journaling for the reason that it’s become such a powerful habit for me. It’s something I turn to on a regular basis, and yearly with my Sacred Nights of Winter journal as a way of going deep within myself.
Allowing myself to get into a contemplative journaling space really connects me with my values, what I care about, what’s going on emotionally, and processing things.
You’ll see in the journaling guide all the different ways in which you can journal. My Sacred Nights of Winter journal, when that comes out, is such a powerful way of connecting to who you are during a time of year that really sets us up for the coming new year and is very empowering.
Another habit that I’ve found has changed my life drastically is Nature bathing.
I call it Nature bathing — this idea of simply being with the natural world, whether sitting by a stream, being near a tree, walking in the woods, listening to the birds, or immersing myself in the sounds, scents, sights, and textures of Nature.
I love being immersed in the natural world.
That is a habit that’s just become my healing medicine since I was a child, and it continues to be now. It’s so nourishing.
When I feel myself getting low, rather than reaching for those substances, sugars, or other distractions, I go jump in the creek, go for a walk, or sit and listen to the birds and the breezes on my deck.
Nature bathing as a habit is something that I turn to regularly for support.
Gratitude is literally a practice, a habit that I created for myself.
When I first started practicing gratitude, I thought it seemed kind of silly naming five things I’m grateful for every day. It felt like initially, it was the same kinds of things.
But after a time, I decided I was going to wake up with gratitude and go to sleep with gratitude every single day, and I would very intentionally and specifically practice gratitude, thinking about why I’m so grateful to be waking up that day, or what I’m so grateful for as I go to sleep that day.
Pretty soon, I started noticing gratitude was in my thoughts or on my tongue as soon as I woke up in the morning, like immediately.I was thanking the universe for this magical day, for being alive, for being filled with fresh air to breathe, or whatever it was.
It became an automatic habit and really changed my life because I shifted from that dreaded “Oh my gosh, the alarm is going off and I have to blah blah blah,” to genuinely feeling in love with life. It was a huge shift.
Meditation and Stillness
Over the years, I’ve practiced many different meditation styles, all different styles from transcendental meditation, to other yogic practices, to breathing exercises, to mantra reciting, and even movement meditation.
And now what meditation is for me is a simple habit of being mindful and present. That, for me, is ultimately what meditation is.
Some of my favorite meditation happens when I’m folding clothes or doing the dishes. Something in which the activity in itself is fairly mindless, but I can be very present to it and allow my mind to be with what is and find stillness, quiet, and simplicity.
Of course, I still like to just sit and close my eyes. I allow whatever wants to come, and listen to my breath. I allow stillness.
I even find my journaling practice to be very meditative. Meditation has been a really powerful habit.
Reading is another habit I’ve cultivated that really changed my life.
I didn’t grow up being a big reader. I didn’t have parents that read to me very much, and I didn’t like reading. I didn’t like the novels and other stories assigned to us in school. That wasn’t my thing.
However, after I finished college, I started reading personal development books, nonfiction, and guidance books and it completely changed my life because.
I love and have a very strong strength in learning. For me, these books were learning and it wasn’t just some random story or novel to appreciate the literature, though I do appreciate literature, but for me, my hunger was for learning and so these inner development books completely changed my life and I ended up loving reading.
Now, I usually have three to five books going at a time, sitting on my bedside table, or I pick a book up in the middle of the day for a break from my work and I absolutely love it because I can engage my curiosity and learn new things.
Sometimes I now even appreciate novels and stories, but I still tend to focus on the genre of personal development, and I love it.
Another practice is self-love. That really is a significant habit that changed my life, and I’m always working on.
I’m not talking about being narcissistic and being totally full of myself or all about me.
I’m talking about self-love where I nurture myself, take care of myself, honor myself, and I truly love myself.
I spent years hating my body, torturing it with diet after diet, exercise plan after exercise plan, so much negative self-talk, and criticizing myself.
My inner critic still gets the best of me sometimes. I still manage to get trapped in that space of self-doubt when things aren’t going as I wish they’d be going.
I’m always reminding myself that any of these things I teach are things that I’m always working through myself as well.
This human journey is a constant evolution and I believe the practice of self-love, the habit, can change our lives when we’re willing, ready, and committed to practicing it.
To notice the inner critic and stop it before it goes too far. To nurture ourselves, take care of ourselves, get the sleep that we need, take care of our bodies and emotions, and accept ourselves for all that we are. These are such powerful practices.
Movement for Me
I was a competitive athlete for 10 years all the way through college.
I was a competitive swimmer, and I had this idea that in order to exercise, it had to be really hard and really intense for at least a couple of hours, and really pushing myself.
Then I finished college and I got into the workforce, and there was no way I could fit that kind of a regimen in, so I went into this all-or-none concept.
I had this idea that I have to do this or I have to do that, but when I started looking at the idea of “Movement for Me”, everything changed.
I heat my house with wood so that I can stack wood, carry wood, and move my body. I make a lot of my own food. Those kinds of movements are things many of us don’t get.
Many of us sit at a computer all day long. We order our food out, then we plop ourselves down in front of a movie or television screen and we are so sedentary. We’re not moving, and that is the bigger problem.
If we start moving for us, for things that we want to do, we can bring some kind of creativity to it. Maybe it’s going for a walk and immersing ourselves in the beauty of Nature. Or maybe it’s just creating a situation in our home where we have to move. Maybe it’s simply dancing to our favorite music, or anything that is truly for us and for joy.
If I want heat in my house, I’ve to go get that wood and bring it in and keep the fire going. The first thing I do every morning in the Winter is get the fire going.
Movement is what keeps our body healthy.
That said, I am still to this day working on a good rhythm of movement for myself to keep myself strong, healthy, and energized in better ways. As I age, as I shift in my life, I notice I need to keep changing and keep evolving.
These 10 healthy habits: no substances, no refined sugar, no processed foods, journaling, Nature bathing, gratitude, meditation and stillness, reading, self-love, and movement for me are super powerful habits that have completely changed my life.
I find them interweaving with one another. I hope they’re inspiring to you and that maybe a few of them you’ll pick up for yourself.
Share in the comments with me:
What habits have changed your life?
What kinds of things have you picked up that have completely changed your life?
I’d love to hear! Let’s share with each other and inspire each other to pick up some new habits that genuinely help us, and perhaps let go of old habits that aren’t helping us so much.
For a video version of 10 Healthy Habits That Changed My Life & Empowered Me, watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVuaNY78IBI