hello beautiful!! in honor of school starting back up, i thought it was rather appropriate to talk about some habits i'm trying to get into for this school year. these are all things that i really want to prioritize, and i figure that posting them all over the internet will motivate me to stay accountable. it's my senior year of high school, and my goal is to enjoy it and live it to it's fullest potential. i've been pretty emo that this year is full of so many 'lasts,' but that just makes me want to truly make the most of it, and a good bit of these habits stem from that, so let's just go ahead and get into it!!
1. reading a book a month. i was alwayyyss the kid with a book. every summer i looked forward to our trips to the library, and i never left with less than 10 books. after i started high school, and reading started to mean forced annotations (i actually like annotating when i find something important in a book) and tests that determined if you read the book based on your knowledge of the color of the shirt the secondary character was wearing in chapter 14, i began to resent it. i associated reading with school and tests, and i had forgotten that reading is actually something i enjoy doing. i want to change my relationship with reading, which is why i'm setting a new goal to read a book per month. not a ridiculous amount of reading, but just enough to get me back into it, and hopefully i'll soon be reading every night before i go to bed!
2. always having water. this actually isn't a new habit, but it's majorly important. i literally never leave my house without my water bottle. my nalgene is pretty much my 5th limb at this point. i have a huge, nalgene water bottle, and it's wide mouthed, so i used to always spill water on myself, but fortunately you can pick up a little splashguard at REI for like $3 (i have the smiley face one!). i've been using nalgenes since 8th grade, so i can assure you this is a genuine, non-sponsored opinion, though if anyone who works for nalgene is reading this and wants to pay me money, i would not object. go get yourself one, and carry it with you religiously.
3. doing something i enjoy every morning. i started this over the summer and it makes suchhhh a difference in my life. i wake up a little early so i have plenty of time. it may sound like less sleep would be a bad start to the morning, but i can fit so much in to help me set good intentions and tones. i wake up, do a little devotional, throw on a cute outfit, do my makeup and pack a healthy lunch after eating a healthy breakfast. i like to do all of this while listening to music i enjoy or a motivational podcast (i'm loving hannah ashton's podcasts right now!). an enjoyable morning routine helps set me up for a healthy, happy, and successful day.
4. calorie counting. before we discuss this one, i have to preface it by letting you know that i am by no means a doctor/nutritionist/person who is informed enough to be suggesting diets for anyone. i'm choosing to calorie count for the time being because my relationship with food can tend to be a little unhealthy. i eat way more than i should and i'm constantly thinking about food even when i'm beyond full. i am choosing to calorie count so i can reach a better understanding about how the food i eat affects my body. i want to learn which foods leave me full and satisfied, and which ones leave me craving more. my goal for my calorie counting is to better understand how much of what food i need to keep my body running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. i like to track calories because of the way it increases my awareness of what i'm putting into my body. with all that being said, my calories are a GUIDE, not a RESTRICTION. if i'm still hungry after i reach my calorie limit, do i still eat? of course i do. do i use my hunger to try and find reasons why my food didn't fill me up? yes, because that helps me to understand my body. if you decide calorie counting is a path you choose, remember that listening to your body is the #1 priority. eat when you're hungry. stop when you're full. pay attention to what your body is receiving. satisfy your cravings when they hit (and maybe pinterest a healthy alternative!). i'm currently using the app Lose It! to track calories. I have it set for me to lose 1/2 a pound a week, but that's really for me to figure out how many calories i need to end the day feeling perfectly satisfied, and i'll change it if i find that i need to be eating more. when i first started, it was set to lose a pound a week, but i quickly realized i was too hungry for that craziness, so i switched it to 1/2 a pound, and i may switch it to maintain my weight, as i've gone over my calorie 'limit' several times. to put it in perspective, i ate 386 calories over the 'budget' the other day. why? because i was hungry, and tacos contain quite a bit of calories. am i worried about it? no. i wasn't over stuffed and i felt good about the food i was eating that day. to make a long paragraph short, i'm using calorie counting to learn about my body, as i listen to it and feed it when it's hungry. do what's right for your body, and if you're not sure talk to someone about it before you start. also, if you're calorie counting to lose weight, please work slow and steady. that will ensure that you aren't starving yourself, plus you'll be more likely to create a non-restrictive, maintainable diet which will make it easier to stay at your goal once you reach it. don't forget to listen to your body, whether you're trying to gain, lose, or maintain your weight!!!!!
5. choosing workouts i like. i recently stopped dancing, which means it's up to me to create my own workouts. i've decided to workout when i want to and do the kind of workout that i'm in the mood to do. i started running a little, and i was thinking about cross country until i realized that being told to do something tends to lead to me disliking whatever it is. so i decided to just run when i feel like it, go to the gym or do a toning workout if thats what i'm into. i love youtube videos for quick, at-home workouts. i usually do one for my abs, my arms, and my butt and then i'm done!! i just do what feels good/right in the moment.
6. sunscreen everyday. i recently started using moisturizer with sunscreen in it. it's just a good protective habit that's easy to develop if you just choose a different moisturizer. i use olay, but just find one that works for your skin. reviews.com reached out to me about their article on the best sunscreens, so i wanted to mention it, since we're already talking about sun protection. i actually have not tried any of the sunscreens they mentioned in the article, but after reading the article i learned a lot more about what goes into sunscreen and what i should be on the lookout for. the article is full of great information that you can apply to whatever sunscreen you use, whether it is one of their recommended products, or the one you've been using for years. i suggest giving it a read, because it's always a good idea to get informed about what we're putting on and in our bodies.
7. setting a good study mood. this is something i'm trying to focus on this year. in order to be effective with your homework, you need to know when you work efficiently. for me, it's after i take a break to decompress from school and when it starts to get a little darker out. it's important for me to get in the zone-- that means no phone, natural light/lower lights if it's night, a candle and spotify's coffee table jazz playlist. for some reason the combo between a candle, relaxing lighting, and instrumental elevator music helps me concentrate, so that's what i'm rolling with, pay attention to your work habits and adjust your work space based on what you need to be as efficient and happy as possible. making sure you're focused as you do your work will probably cut the time in half, so take advantage of when you feel the most productive, and you'll end up having more time to work on other things you love.
8. finding balance. this is so important for me this school year. most of my junior year was spent stressing and overworking in school and taking that out on all of my relationships. this year it's time for me to breathe and relax. i'm focusing on learning, and i'll let the grades fall into place after. i'm trying to not take a stressful day or assignment out on anyone, because at the end of the day, it's not their responsibility to deal with my stress, especially since there is probably no reason to be stressing anyways. my goal for senior year is to enjoy it, so while i'll work hard in my classes, i will not let them consume me. school is important, but it's not everything. i'm taking the time to breathe this year.
9. having a clean closet/room. i'm a super organized person, so this one is easy for me. this summer i absolutely purged my closet and room. i got rid of everything that i didn't love, or that wasn't significantly impactful from my childhood. i invested in a better laundry system for my room, which may not seem like much, but having a separate basket for each type of laundry simplifies the process of washing and drying clothes. i just bought a big laundry basket for my normal dark laundry and a few separate $4 baskets from target for my delicates and workout clothes. i also know i ended up saving some clothes that i never wear because i wasn't ready to part with them. i used a trick i had learned from pinterest to sort them. you hang everything up like normal, but you flip the hangers around so they're facing the opposite direction. once you wear and wash something, you hang it back up normally. at the end of the season (or 6 months), you get rid of everything that is still facing the wrong way. i'm in the midst of that process right now, and it's surprising how little i wear most of my clothes. to keep my room as a whole organized, i also like to put things away right away to minimize my mess. clean up at night and make your bed in the morning and organize anything you get out in the morning. a little daily work will save you from spending a whole day organizing and fixing everything.
10. taking care of my hair. this is an untraditional habit, but i'm growing out my hair and i think we forget to mention having healthy hair as a part of our healthy habits! i try to take a night out of every week to do a coconut oil hair treatment. i grab my coconut oil (publix brand!) and massage it into my dry hair until it is fully wet and greasy!!!! after holding onto that cute look for 30 minutes, i wash it out with my normal shampoo/conditioner routine. i'm hoping this is preventative care to keep my hair healthy so i can grow it without worrying about it dying.
11. using less social media. i'm guessing i don't need to elaborate on this one. turn off notifications. go on cleanses. follow only what inspires you and brings you happiness. simplify, simplify, simplify.
12. being intentional with the time i spend with people. this one can be tough for me, which i hate to admit. i'm trying to spend more time interacting with people and not being on my phone. i'll be honest, this one can be difficult while i'm in school. when i'm tired sometimes i'd rather just mindlessly scroll instead of making conversation. my boyfriend and my best friends go to other schools, so i also want to make sure i'm not neglecting them. it helps me to keep my phone in my bag during class and to surround myself with people i enjoy talking to. find the people that make you forget about your phone. i'm constantly working on this one, but i really do want to maximize the time i spend with the people i love. it's also a great feeling when people are more invested in talking to you, and not looking at their phones, so i want to make others feel like that with my actions. posting this is going to make me more accountable, so if you catch me spending time on my phone, CALL ME OUT!!
this ended up being a really long article, but i hope it gives you guys some good ideas to practice for the upcoming year! i tried to make the tips a little different, so hopefully you found a new habit you can pick up. also-- i know i left tonsss of links in here, but they're all for products i genuinely love and use. i was approached by reviews.com with the sunscreen article in hopes that i could share their information with my audience, and mine with theirs. i'm not getting paid for it, which i wanted to mention because it's very important to me that i'm honest with all of you when i include outside resources. my goal is always, always, always to be 110% authentic and share only what impacts me. that being said, i genuinely enjoyed reading that article and i learned so much, and it's crazy to me how unaware i was about sunscreen, especially since i'm a lifeguard and use it everyday.
with all that said, i hope you enjoyed hearing about my new healthy habits, and i can't wait for the opportunities that a new school year brings. i can't wait to see what this one has in store for us :)