By Laura Warf
“Every finish line is the beginning of a whole new race.” I forget where I first heard that quote but it resonated with me at the time. With every new change and challenge comes new perspective. My granny would often say “this is just another phase of your life dear”.
As long as we are a human being living on this planet, there will be change, ebbs and flows, up waves and down waves. How we choose to surf those ways is completely up to us – with fear and trepidation or excitement and zest for adventure or something new. Our choices contribute to our outcomes. In my younger years I used to find every change very uprooting and stressful. Anything that I perceived to threaten my survival or take me too far out of my comfort zone would launch me into anxiety mode and even at times full out panic attacks.
Now I know that life and growth happens outside of our comfort zone and I have learned to embrace change as an inspiring way to experience life. Change also provokes opportunities to be better versions of ourselves in every sphere as outlined in the seven dimensions of wellness- physical, emotional, intellectual, occupational, social, spiritual or environmental. What area in your own life needs a little more more attention?
My partner Ian and I decided a couple of years ago that we were ready for a life change. I was prepared to make some adjustments in my work life (same industry just different way of operating) and we were inspired by a mentor to choose a living environment that suited who we were and aligned with the type of lifestyle we aspired to live. Following countless conversations and life decisions that pointed us in the direction of our vision (not a linear process lol!) we recently moved to a completely new uplifting environment in the West Coast. I also began building my business online so that I could travel more for teaching and speaking engagements and actually write the book I have been wanting to publish for years.
This long distance move also taught me about the principles of detachment and acceptance along with the opportunity to sharpen my skills of going with the flow as we navigated the waves of uncertainty and change. Keeping a positive attitude and a sense of humour through challenging moments certainly helped keep our relationship healthy and our energy levels more stable.
Health consciousness is always at the forefront of my being. I am fortunate to have the necessary skills to make the choices I need to feel well – most of the time. I am not perfect but at least the foundation was set years ago to know how to exercise, eat and rest well. Today I also understand the importance of a well-directed, positive mind-set and how every thought and emotion influences our biology and well-being. A gratitude practice also helped me shift my mind-set towards what is right instead of what is wrong along with focusing on what I appreciate and love in my life instead of thinking there is something lacking. Being grateful for everything is a game changer. Even for the challenging moments. Those are the times when we get to dig deep and see what the moment has to teach us about ourselves. When we discover the gift in every situation, we learn what freedom is all about. I didn’t say it was easy but definitely liberating when we can apply this principle. Once we understand the lesson hiding in the discomfort we can un-program, detach and move on.
With healthy living as a priority in my life, I learned how to maintain my well-being while being on the road and living out of a suitcase for four months. Due to our varying environments along the way, my wellness routine was altered and less fine-tuned than what I normally like. Although I moved my body daily, managed my mind and did the best I could to create balanced meals during the time in transition, the formula was a bit slack. A few days or a week of not training and eating less non-plant based food won’t do too much damage but a few months shows up in many ways. I started feeling more tired, bloated, my pants got tighter, and I began experiencing dizziness, my impatience surfaced at times and my body shape shifted. Although most people wouldn’t notice the changes in me, I felt the difference in my energy and well-being. My body was talking to me, I wasn’t at my best. With the lethargy comes lack of focus and procrastination on tasks that I know need to get done. I needed a new formula to improve and to be better each day. When I am well and I feel great then I am better able to handle anything that comes my way with more ease and grace, less reactivity and impatience. A well-balanced wellness formula is a holistic approach; How we think, feel, act, move, eat, sleep, interact with others, how we feed our mind; what we choose to read, watch and the type of people and environment we expose ourselves to. Ask yourself “do my habits and actions uplift me or deplete me?” Then make aligned choices until you get the type of well-being you are striving for.
I like to create intention and follow programs, it keeps me accountable and focused. I also like to plan my day the night before so that I set my next day up for success, otherwise days can fly by catering to other people’s agenda instead of your own. The curious thing is, the small actions you take for yourself will actually give you the boost you need to get the rest done. Like the flight attendants say before each take-off “put your own mask on first”.
Let’s do this.
How do you want to feel? What do you want to accomplish for yourself?
The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. I am choosing to position my steps in the direction of my well-being so I can continue coaching others to do the same authentically.
Here are some of my top wellness tips that are already integrated into my days, I am outlining a list here to spark some ideas to create your own well-being formula.
Fill in the blanks of this commitment statement for yourself, here is mine beginning June 11th, 2019:
“My focus for the next 21 days is to increase the intensity of my workouts three days per week, for 30 minutes into my target heart rate zone. I will focus on more full-body strengthening workouts. I will feel more energized, strong, improved posture, less back discomfort and be more clear-minded by the end of my personal 21-day challenge.”
Re-Boot with Laura’s Top 10 Wellness Tips
1. Keep your heart healthy with cardiovascular activity at least 3 days per week. Walk, bike, dance or swim at a moderate pace for 20-40 minutes
2. Eat primarily plant-based nutrition, include more fresh vegetables on your plate at every meal, yes for breakfast too :). When choosing fruit, eat it alone or 30 minutes before a meal, your digestion and gut health will be improved.
3. Set your day up for success with a powerful, positive mind-set. The way we think and the self-talk that narrates in the background is just a habit and often filled with limiting beliefs from what we have been told in the past. Write a new story, align your thinking with how you want to feel instead. Enhance your energy by thinking of thoughts that bring you into a state of joy, inner peace, excited, curious, optimistic. Your mind is a muscle – with practice this way of being gets easier and you will be happier.
4. Spend time interacting with people who lift you up, not who bring you down. Ask yourself “do I feel better after I have spent time with this person or worse?”
5. Get to bed earlier, aim for eight hours of restful sleep. Turn off technology an hour before bedtime to avoid the blue light and frequencies that disrupt the quality of your sleep.
6. Meditate. Any time of day that works for you. Sit down where you won’t be disturbed. Calm the mental chatter by simply following the flow of your breath, be the witness of what you notice without judging your experience. It’s like clearing the cache on your computer. Everything works better when we unplug it for awhile! Start slow, a few minutes of conscious breathing is better than none.
7. Practice yoga, follow a stretching program, perform weight bearing exercises – each a couple of times per week to benefit from tissue resiliency, better circulation, less pain, muscle and joint suppleness, overall conditioning, better posture and full body strength.
8. Hydrate. Start your morning with a tall glass of pure filtered water. Before your coffee or tea is best. Drink more water throughout the day to help flush out the toxic waste your body needs to dispose of, improve the glow of your skin, boost your energy and reduce headaches.
9. Adopt a hobby or activity that stimulates your creativity; art, photography, pottery, puzzles, knitting, poetry, writing etc. to stimulate your brain, de-stress and spark joy.
10. Take action! Successful people don’t sit around complaining or just thinking or reading about what they want to achieve. They get out there and do it, one step at a time. We learn as we launch. Whatever it is you are wanting, get ready for lift-off in 3-2-1.... GO!
Laura Warf is the founder of the School of Happiness, which crafts methods integrating tools from ancient teachings to today’s cutting-edge research. The mission of the School of Happiness is to guide and inspire individuals to become conscious creators of their well-being in mind, body and spirit, following their eight essential elements to health and happiness. Laura is a healthy living advocate, passionate wellness educator, yoga teacher and mind-body specialist offering classes, retreats and services in corporate wellness live and online. Visit www.SchoolofHappiness.ca/ www.LauraWarf.com