By Sarah Munn for Weight Watchers.
National Renewal Day, which falls on May 4, is a chance for a new beginning. And what better way to observe it than to take stock of our wellness and make room for any needed changes?
Perhaps the best way to audit our wellness is to journal, explains Megan Kearney, a 500 E-RYT and a Yoga Medicine® Therapeutic Specialist.
“Journaling about your life and what is working/not working is an excellent way to keep your ‘pulse’ on your overall wellness,” she says. “It allows you to see how you are managing stress, caring for yourself and gauge your work-life balance.”
You can use your journal to audit your food, activity, mindset, and sleep – the four pillars on which WW focuses. Ask yourself, what is working or not working in each of these areas? Perhaps you’re really succeeding with food and sleep, but struggling to keep a positive mindset and find enough time for activity. Record both your wins and your challenges, then make a simple plan for improving the areas where you feel challenged. Think about small, achievable steps for improvement – nothing too overwhelming.
Regarding sleep, Kearney says “If we aren’t sleeping, it shifts our metabolism and can start a downhill spiral. Making sure that you are getting what your body needs can be a start. Journaling or practising mindfulness at night, and shutting down electronics and dimming lights, can help you wind down and prepare for a restful night.”
And taking advantage of your mornings is a great opportunity to practice a ritual of self-care and develop a positive mindset, she adds.
“Activities like journaling and meditation help you adjust an intention for the day, movement helps you get the endorphins pumping through and also sets the tone for the day.”
Here’s the goal we’re all striving for: optimal health, a.k.a. a sense of peace.
“When we are experiencing optimal health, we are at peace and content, with our body and current place in life,” Kearney says.
The key to achieving it is making small changes daily that lead to habits, which then lead to creating a lasting ritual, she explains.
“Take one thing, add two minutes of mindful breathing and a gratitude prayer before a meal, walk 10 minutes or go to bed 15 minutes earlier than normal. Small changes lead you to a lifestyle that sticks.”