It’s hard to be the best version of yourself when you have no juice in the tank. You can follow your passions and love the work you do, but if you neglect foundational activities that lead to recovery and energy, you’re almost guaranteed to burn out.
Here are 5 things I do every try day to prioritize my own health and happiness.
1. Meditation + Morning Priming
What is the first thing you do when you wake up? If you’re like most of us, you go right to the phone, and start scrolling social media, checking emails, responding to texts, etc. All of these things trigger stress responses in the brain, which is not an ideal way to start the day. A few minutes of meditation in the morning can massively change your ability to step into the day’s challenges with a level head. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sit for an hour every morning in a full lotus position, but a few minutes of sitting up straight with your feet on the floor, hands rested on your knees, and eyes closed, will make a huge difference.
2. Get outside (before looking at my phone)
Natural light in the morning is one of the best things we can do for our mental state. Exposing your eyes to natural light in the morning resets our circadian rhythm (which helps with the ability to fall asleep at a regular interval daily), and can even combat stress responses in the brain. I prioritize a brief walk outside after my morning meditation to prime myself for the activities of the day.
In an endless sea of new fads and diets, I try to keep it very simple when it comes to what I eat. I break it down into four modes that I alternate between.
- Slow carb program: lots of protein and slow carbs like legumes, sweet potatoes, etc. (Tim Ferriss outlines this mode in his book “The 4 Hour Body”)
- ZERO processed foods: avoid the packaged items in the grocery store, stick to the meat, fish, and produce section
- No plan: I call this the ‘eating like a 14 year old’ diet. Every once in a while after a long period of clean eating I like to give myself the opportunity to indulge in whatever feels right.
- Intermittent fasting: 16 hour fast, 8 hour window of eating. Pairing this with the slow carb and no processed foods modes works really well for me.
4. Body Position + Posture
How your body is positioned on a regular basis will have a tremendous impact on how your body functions. For me, 10+ years in hunched over holding cameras and affected my posture. During the pandemic, working from home I found myself developing bad habits, with work always just an arms reach away. Being intentional about the way I sit, stand, and move has helped me reverse some of the negative postural habits I’ve developed over the years.
5. What Gets Measured Gets Managed
If you’re looking for some simple apps that can help keep you accountable, I like to use the “Oura Ring”, which tracks sleep cycles, and “Habit List,” which allows you to enter 8-10 behaviors you want to do every day, and helps keep you accountable.
These 5 daily behaviors are how I prioritize my health. Health is absolutely the new wealth, and whatever we can do to emphasize it in our life is a step in the right direction. And remember, if miss a day, that’s okay. Progress > perfection.
Sometimes we don’t even know how good we can feel because we’ve become accustomed to doing things that make us feel crappy. These are a few jumping off points for you to start cultivating your own happiness and health. Anything on this list is better than nothing. What are you waiting for?
Listen to the Podcast
This podcast is brought to you by CreativeLive. CreativeLive is the world’s largest hub for online creative education in photo/video, art/design, music/audio, craft/maker, money/life and the ability to make a living in any of those disciplines. They are high quality, highly curated classes taught by the world’s top experts — Pulitzer, Oscar, Grammy Award winners, New York Times best selling authors and the best entrepreneurs of our times.