This summer is all about big and scary changes for me. What about you? What areas in your life — mental, financial, relationships with siblings or spouses, diet, etc. — need the most improvement? What makes you frustrated or unhappy is the area that needs the most work. Let summer 2013 be all about making healthy steps forward, not backward.
1. Mental Health
Do you wish you had someone to talk to in confidence? Do you feel depressed, angry, hopeless or frustrated and not sure how to get out of this mess? Gather up your courage and locate a mental health professional. Focus on practical methods of therapy that will help you to focus immediately on the major issues and he or she will guide you to make the necessary changes in life.
- Find a therapist at therapists.psychologytoday.com and enter your zip code.
- Choose someone that specializes in areas you need work on (eg: anxiety or substance abuse, marriage counseling) and that accepts your insurance or offers a sliding fee scale — one of the most common reasons for putting off seeing a therapist is the thought that one cannot afford it — not true!
- Make an appointment for next week.
2. Physical Health
Feel sluggish all the time, tired, and winded going up a few flights of stairs? Recently gained weight? Never exercise? It’s time to change.
- Start small — 3 times a week for about 30 minutes.
- Make it easy — take a walk after dinner. No purchases required to get fit.
- Make it fun — involve your friends/family. Play tennis, play tag with kids, go to the beach and walk along the shore, go swimming, take Zumba, etc. Find something you like.
- Make it last — attach the habit of exercising with something you already do everyday. Drive past a gym on the way home from work? Keep your gym clothes in your car and head there immediately before going home. Need to watch a certain show every night? Exercise during that program.
3. Spiritual Health
- If you are religious and have been slacking on going to your church/temple/place of worship, it’s time to recommit. It’s a great place to feel a sense of community and faith like nowhere else and feel like you’re part of a bigger whole, which is comforting. Also, start reading your passages and reflecting silently, too. How can you be a better Christian/Jewish/Buddhist/etc. person today? Can you volunteer, help someone, read a new passage, pray, be closer to nature?
- If not religious, you can still work on your spiritual health. Practice saying a mantra everyday that makes you feel empowered. Or go to a quiet place of nature and reflect silently.Take steps everyday to remain positive in your life and believe in the magick/karma/The Secret. Meditate. Do yoga. Feel more in tune with your body & soul. Align yourself — become more balanced.
- This is an important step. Diet has a profound impact on the way we feel, think, and our ability to perform/function in our daily lives. Take this summer to practice eating habits that make you feel better. Journal what you eat, at what time, and how hungry you were. Note how it makes you feel after eating and what emotion you were feeling. Note trends in how you feel hours later or the next day, too — especially if you eat a lot of carbs (sluggish, tired, bloated). Change your habits one meal at a time and become more conscious of the calories you consume — though you don’t have to count them, it’s a good idea if you want to lose weight.
- Eat cleaner, local, organic foods — search for local farmers markets in your area.
- Eat more vegetables. Every meal. And try a new veggie once a week or so.
- Drink water, not calories. An easy way to lose weight and feel better is to drink more water and replace sodas/juices/etc. with water.
5. Social Life/Happiness/Relationships
This is an important one to work on. Ask yourself honestly: How can you be a better…daughter, mother, son, father, wife, husband, friend, relative?
- What relationships in your life are fading and need TLC? Who can you call that will brighten their face? Catch up with old friends.
- Ditch the toxic people in your life, as well. If you feel negative when you’re around, make bad decisions like drink/smoke, or if they treat you badly, ditch them. Life is too short to hang around with awful friends. You can always make new friends that align with your goals. Seek them out.
- Do something that makes you happy everyday. Even if it’s a little bit selfish. If you are not happy everyday, than what is the point of living — seek help if you are feeling depressed, and seek ways to bring happiness into your life on a constant basis.
- Make an effort to be social, friendly, and confident — even if you don’t feel like it, fake it. It will get easier, I promise.
If this article helped or inspired you in any way please let me know what you will be working on this summer. I have my own list and I’d like to see what you will be up to.