Goal for Growth; Embrace Your Childhood Feel-Good


author

At the beginning of a new year, the go-to phrase is, “new year, new me.” It’s a time when millions of people make resolutions for the new year- ways to better themselves, and better their lives.

I believe there are ways to improve your well-being without stressing yourself out, and they are things that most people already know about. We tend to forget these key ingredients to life because there are all kinds of diet and exercise plans being thrown in our faces on social media these days. In reality, there are six things that humans need in order to remain healthy and happy. When I actually look into these things, it brings me back to when I was healthiest and happiest - childhood.

In my opinion, the most important things to include in your life are sunshine, water, sleep, healthy food, exercise, and nature.

These are all things that -at least in my youth- came with being a child. When I was a kid, I spent every moment that I could outside in the sunshine and nature. Rolling around in the dirt, running around barefoot in the grass… I had a regular bedtime that ensured I got plenty of rest. I had a balanced diet, and the exercise came with literally everything that I did, whether it was sports, or just walking around my neighborhood. The one thing I don’t remember doing enough of is drinking water, and I’ve recently learned how great it feels to stay hydrated. As an adult, I have mostly figured out how to maintain a balance of all of these “ingredients,” however it is important, especially with the start of a new year, to remind myself of how great it actually feels (and how easy it is) to feel good!

Sunshine is available most of the time, especially in Colorado. It is the time of year when the days are shorter, making it more important to take advantage of the sunlight, but even ten minutes in the sun every day will provide you with vitamin D, among other natural gifts, and if you really take the time to soak it in you will feel amazing. Of course, remember to wear sunscreen to protect your beautiful skin.

Water is incredibly important. A lot of the time adults go through our days drinking coffee or juice, or fancy teas, however the benefits of plain old water are endless. As I said before, this is the one “ingredient” that I don’t specifically remember being obsessed with as a child. When I say obsessed, I mean that these days, if I am anywhere for any amount of time and realize I don’t have my water bottle, I immediately begin to search for the nearest water source. I think it was when I first came to Colorado that I realized how good it feels to be fully hydrated. When I’m hydrated I think more clearly, I am able to relax, I am able to work hard, I feel motivated, and I feel generally happier.

Sleep is something that I personally struggle with, and I know there are many people out there who share the challenge. The thing is, though, that even if you’re not sleeping, resting is so, so important. I’ve tried to give myself a bedtime, but if Mom and Dad aren’t here enforcing it, I just don’t seem to have the self discipline to maintain it. I’m not a napper, although I fully believe in the benefits of a 20 minute nap, if that’s something you can manage. What I’ve started to finally be able to enforce for myself, though, is being still and calm. Whether I maintain a bedtime or not, once I go to bed, I make myself stay there. It definitely has taken a lot of practice to be able to just lay there when my brain starts going a million miles an hour, but I have noticed that I feel better when I do it.

Healthy food is kind of a no-brainer, however it is one of the “fads” that has, in my opinion, begun to wreak havoc on humanity. A lot of eating well comes down to self discipline, so I totally understand needing a plan to stick to. I am not a dietician. I just know that when I balance what I eat, I feel a million times better. You don’t have to start a diet, unless that’s what you need to maintain your goals. We all know what is good for us. We all know what isn’t. Eat more vegetables, eat less sugar. I don’t believe, personally, that completely erasing things from your diet is necessary. Just be aware of what you’re putting in your body and how it makes you feel. Then, adjust as needed.

Exercise, when you’re a kid, just kind of happens. Gym class, sports teams, playing...kids are generally more active. They have more energy, however if you spend time in the sun, rest, drink water, and eat healthy, you will definitely find that you have more energy as well. A lot of people make goals around going to the gym more, getting fit, running, and working out. Those are all healthy things to do. Going for a walk is really healthy too, though, and a much simpler, more attainable goal. Exercise doesn’t have to be an intense workout that makes you want to cry. As long as you are moving your body with some sort of healthy intention behind it, you’re doing great.

Nature is probably the hardest “ingredient” to access, although Colorado certainly has plenty. Luckily, grass, dirt, rocks, and trees are most places. You don’t have to go out to the middle of the mountains and climb the highest peak to get your dose of nature. I mean, that is always a great way to get it, but there are simpler things we can do. If you combine your dose of nature with your dose of sunshine (of course they go hand-in-hand, but I do believe they are both important to focus on) you’re definitely winning.

There are a lot of things involved in this realistic goal, however if you strive to feel good, these ingredients will happen naturally. Just remember all of the pieces of childhood that made it feel so great, and implement them into your adult life (and your child’s life)! May you all be happy and healthy, and embrace that childhood feel-good!