Health & wellness journeys are all the rage these days. But how do you know if now is the time for you to get started?
As the self-described CEO of health & wellness for The Mindfulness Journey (me. I’m The Mindfulness Journey), I’m here to guide you on your path to beginning a health & wellness journey.
Because I figure if you’re reading a post on The Mindfulness Journey you must be at least a little curious if not interested in starting a health & wellness journey.
So, what do you need to get started? Great question friend!
Questions to Ask Before Starting a Health & Wellness Journey
The #1 question that you absolutely, positively, need to ask yourself before starting a health & wellness journey is…
Do I actually want to?
Do I feel like I’m being “forced” to start one
Why, do I want to start one?
These first few questions are all variations on a theme because there is no sense in digging any deeper into the “hows” of starting this journey unless you actually want to.
Because if you don’t really want to do this? It won’t stick. Trust me. Years ago as part of my own health & wellness journey, I started working with a holistic nutritionist. I had been having some difficulty healing post-surgery and we were trying to figure it out.
He ended up taking me off of: red meat, gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine, and potatoes (which as an Irish person was a little terrifying – we live on potatoes, haha), it was definitely a challenge.
At that time I was consuming half a pot of coffee a day! The first few days were rough to say the least.
While this didn’t help me to heal what was going on, I did discover that I am gluten & lactose intolerant, so that was helpful. I also discovered that I slept better AND felt more well-rested when I was off coffee.
These days I have gone back to drinking one cup of coffee a day in the morning – I really enjoy my time sitting down with my almond milk latte. It’s now a part of my morning routine.
What’s Your Why?
This change to my diet that I undertook with the holistic nutritionist and under the advisement of my doctor was a HUGE change. And if I wasn’t motivated and committed to making the change it would never have stuck. He literally took me off of everything that I ate at the time – I had NO idea what I was going to do instead – but of course, I was able to figure things out over time.
If I wasn’t motivated? I would never have been able to stick to it. My neurosurgery scar wouldn’t heal so clearly I had a strong motivation to make this big change. While you don’t need to have a health crisis to encourage & motivate you to start a health & wellness journey you do need something to keep you going.
Not only will we be more likely to stick to it if we WANT to make this type of lifestyle change BUT we also WON’T beat ourselves up when things don’t stick. Because we will have learned that these bits are NOT part of our wellness journey.
As I said above, when I first started I went off of coffee but I’m back to it now. It didn’t stick because I really enjoy coffee but it did support me in drinking less.
Tips That Actually Work
The first tip is to answer the questions above. Since you’re still here I’m guessing you answered yes to the above is yes and that you’re motivated and willing to undertake to start this journey.
The first tip is to start a journey that works for you & your lifestyle. For example, are you a morning person or a night owl? Because if you’re a night owl then waking up at 5 am is probably not for you. Choose things that make sense for you – forget all the “6 things healthy people do” lists and pick things that make sense for your life. I get up at the same time every day, I make my breakfast and I spend some time reading – this works for me. I like to ease into my day but you might be someone who prefers to get up and get going. Both options are fine but only you will know what kind of morning routine will work for you.
Test, test, and test again. My health & wellness journey has changed over the years. What worked one year no longer works for me. I like to exercise in the morning but these days it makes more sense for me to exercise in the afternoon. Try things out see if they work, keep what does, and toss out what doesn’t. I invite you to do the same. The other day I added seed cycling to my journey, I’ll give it a few cycles to see what I notice and then decide whether or not to keep doing it.
Make space for new things and for habits to form. Starting a new habit takes time for it to stick. One of the best strategies that I’ve found has been from James Clear’s book Atomic Habits (*not an affiliate link, I’m just a fan*). He talks about habit stacking – sticking the new habit to something you’re already doing and for me, this has been so helpful. I stacked my morning meditation to the end of my existing morning routine and now I never miss a practice.
Choose things that fill your cup up. I am not an early morning riser so making getting up at 5 am part of my routine will not work. NOPE. As an introvert, a lot of the things on my list are quiet and solitary but you might need to be around people to fill your cup. Go back to #2 and try things out and see what works. Then make a list of those things that fill your cup up and keep investigating to see which ones you want to keep.
Some Ideas to Get You Started.
The following are the things that make up my health & wellness journey. As I’ve said, some of these things might not work for you but maybe you’ll get some inspiration for things to try?
Create a morning routine – my routine involves getting up at 7am, making my breakfast (usually overnight oats) and then sitting down with an almond milk latte and a self-help book. I read 1-2 chapters a day, meditate, practice my affirmations and then get ready for the day.
Get dressed – hear me out. I know that we’re all coming off a couple of years stuck at home where it’s been #sweatpantsforlife but there is a shift that happens to your mood when you get dressed in regular clothes. Now, I tend to live in skirts & dresses but that’s what makes me comfortable – it’s rare to see me in jeans. Over the many lockdowns and surgeries I did indulge in that sweatpant life but for the most part my mood is 🔼🔼 when I’m in bright and fun clothes.
Meditate – obviously as part of The Mindfulness Journey I’m going to suggest meditating, haha. The benefits of meditating are numerous and I could speak for hours on why you should add in meditating. Instead I’m going to share a link to my free 7 day challenge so you can try it for yourself.
For my fellow introverts – reading, journalling, walks in nature, spending some time sitting in stillness; these are all things that make up a big part of my wellness journey. Spending time quietly allows me to recharge and fill my cup back up so that I can get back to being around friends and engaging in my more social activities.
Creating a meal plan that works for you – as I mentioned above I gave up gluten and dairy and have never looked back. The one time I tried reintroducing both of them I was 🤢🤢 so it’s going to be a no for me. These days while I’m in between surgeries I’m eating a lot more proteitn – all the protein – but this is only a temporary change. I’ve tried a number of things over the years and have discovered that I feel my best on a gluten-free mediterranian diet. This is what suits me so I continue to stick to it.
Now its Your Turn
At this point, you’ve got several tips and ideas to kick off your own health & wellness journey. One of the things I’ll suggest is to start small and slow. Make one (no more than 2) changes and test them out for a couple of weeks. Remember, slow & steady wins the race.
A wellness journey is often a lifelong commitment so there is no need to rush things. Take it slowly try things out and see what works for you.
Questions or comments? Please let me know below, I will do my best to get back to you ASAP.
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Hey there, I'm Charlene!
I help creative entrepreneurs with chronic illness create a sustainable business that fits their lifestyle without letting imposter syndrome take over.
Charlene is an entrepreneur, psychotherapist and mindfulness coach living with chronic illness after she was hit by a bus.
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