There’s a solid reason why flight attendants always tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. You’re of no use to anyone if you can’t function. The same goes for daily living.
You can’t be at your mental best or achieve your biggest goals if your body and mind are suffering.
If you neglect your body and make it feel like you don’t care or appreciate it, it’s gonna respond with “Karma’s a bitch,” and literally start to shut down and stop working.
It’s your body’s bitter response to being treated like crap time and time again.
Your body wants to move. It wants nutrients. It wants time to recharge.
After all, it’s working its ass off 24/7, 365 days a year to keep you alive and functioning at your best.
And all it asks in return is that you take it on a walk from time to time, eat your veggies, and get plenty of beauty sleep.
If you fail to take care of your body, it will start failing to take care of you too. And once that happens, it will be a LOT harder to bounce back.
You can’t give your gifts to the world if your body is shutting down and falling apart.
That’s why your health should always be your number one priority. Not just when you’re sick or injured. Not just when you want to lose 10 pounds. Not just when your doctor tells you it’s time to get your shit together. Always.
I know – this is all easier said than done.
But your body responds to what you feed it. If you’re feeding it crap, you’re going to get a crappy response. It’s going to turn you into a bloated, tired, irritable, gassy, jiggly puff to pay you back for feeding it poison. (Our bodies are vengeful little suckers, aren’t they?)
If you aren’t staying active and regularly exercising, your body isn’t going to do any heavy lifting for you either and will stop actively taking care of you from the inside.
We all love to use the excuse that we’re too busy. But there’s always time to make healthy choices.
It does not take any extra time to eat healthy foods than it does to eat processed foods.
It doesn’t take any extra time to buy fruit, almonds, or a protein bar as a quick snack than it does to buy chips or candy.
It doesn’t take any extra time to throw together a salad than it does to make a sandwich.
Time isn’t the issue. The issue is our frame of mind, and lack of preparation.
Say you have an early flight in the morning and know you’ll be rushed.
Prepare a quick, healthy breakfast that’s ready to go the night before, and pack some fruit and nuts in your carry-on for a snack on the plane. (FYI – you can bring food through security, just not liquids.)
This is just one small example of a habit you can get into to make having a healthy body and mind your top priority.
Because if you don’t, you’ll be half-assing everything else in your life – your work, your relationships, your experiences, your potential, your success – everything.
Read my blog post on 13 Tips for Digital Nomads to Stay Healthy While Traveling for more quick and easy ideas to start building healthier habits.
In order to make a healthy body and mind your top priority, you need to have strategies in place to stick with it.
You need habits. Routines. Backup plans. Specific instructions for what to do and when to do it.
It requires a little planning and setting yourself up for success. Just like running a business.
As digital nomads, entrepreneurs, and freelancers, we KNOW how to put strategies in place.
We put strategies in place to manage our clients, our social media, our blogs, and our business growth. So making a plan and setting ourselves up for success is not a new concept to us.
All I’m suggesting is doing the same for your health. Set yourself up for success.
I know it may feel impossible to get into a “routine” when you’re constantly traveling and moving to unfamiliar places, but that’s why creating healthy habits and strategies for adapting to new situations are so important.
Letting yourself off the hook of eating healthy and exercising during a one week vacation is one thing.
But when traveling and living on your own terms is your lifestyle – you have no excuse for not taking care of yourself.
The key is to make “healthy living time” just as important (if not more important) than the other priorities you schedule in your life.
Here’s what I mean.
You know when you’re mapping out your day and you’re mentally (or physically) running over your to-do list and everything that needs your attention?
Well, your health should be at the top of that list.
Yes, above “checking emails,” above “scheduling your social media posts,” above “finishing that blog post,” above “checking in with clients,” above “booking your next flight.”
Every day, at the top of your “To Do” list, should be dedicated time for improving your health.
That could mean 30 minutes of yoga in the morning, a long walk on the beach, a midday surf break, riding your bicycle to run errands instead of driving, joining a local fitness class, or working out in a park.
It doesn’t matter what you do it just matters that you do something. But whatever it is, make sure it is ACTUALLY on your list to accomplish that day and get moving!
And as for eating healthier, like I said above, that doesn’t take any extra time or physical effort. It just takes a little mental preparation to convince yourself to make the healthier choices.
I can’t even begin to explain all the benefits I have personally experienced since re-prioritizing and making my health the most important aspect of my everyday life.
For the first time in my life, I have a body that I’m proud of when I look in the mirror, more self-confidence than I ever imagined I could have, unlimited productivity and energy throughout the day, an amazing makeover on my attitude towards life and the future, so much strength and energy that sometimes I feel like Wonder Woman….and the list goes on! ?
Here are some of the other healthy living strategies that I apply to my everyday life.
And I think you’ll notice pretty quickly, that I am in no way perfect, nor do I have a perfect routine that I stick to every day. That’s why having a strategy and being prepared for inconsistency is so important as a digital nomad.
On average, I try to spend at least two intentional hours each day being active (since I spend the majority of my time working on my laptop).
Sometimes it ends up being much more, sometimes much less. The key is finding the right balance.
Some days, when the weather is really crappy, or I’m traveling, or I’m in a really good flow with my work and time totally escapes me, I’ll just squeeze in a quick 30-minute low-intensity workout on my yoga mat and call it good.
Other days, I’ll go for a one-hour walk in the morning, an intense muscle-building workout in the afternoon, 30-60 minutes of stretching, another hour walk in the evening, and throw in some meditation later just for the hell of it.
And occasionally I’ll blow off work for the whole day to go hiking, or play at the beach, or some other type of adventure that keeps me active all day long.
The strategy is to make sure I do something productive for my body every day, no matter how small, and also always give myself ample recovery time.
If I have a super intense workout day, I’ll balance it out with a leisurely stroll and some stretching the next day to give my body time to recover.
Recovery time involves stretching and massaging my muscles, drinking plenty of water and tea to rehydrate, feeding my body lots of nutrients to make up for the ones I lost in exercise (veggies galore!), and going to bed early and aiming to give myself 7-8 hours of sleep.
Now, a good strategy calls for specific steps to get things done, right?
That means having workout routines, meals, and grocery shopping lists mapped out in advance.
I have a notebook filled with all of my lists for each of these that I carry with me, and most of them are easy to stick with regardless of where my travels take me in the world.
I have full workout routines (of different lengths, intensities, and muscle targeting) written out, so I can easily just pick one that fits my schedule and energy level, and follow the routine.
I kid you not, doing this changed my life.
I used to just wing it when it came to working out, but it was really hard to get motivated, and then get into a rhythm and flow, when I had no sense of direction or goals for that workout.
Now I can just pick any workout from my handy dandy notebook and bust it out without stopping or trying to figure out what to do next.
This doesn’t have to be a huge time-sucking commitment, just 30 minutes a day to focus on yourself and let your body know “Hey, you’re important to me. We’re in this together and I’m going to take care of you so you’ll keep taking care of me.”
I promise you, it is WAY easier to STAY healthy and in shape once you get there, than it is to keep yo-yo dieting, or hitting your weight-loss goal and then gaining it all back and starting from square one every few months, or waiting until you end up at the doctor with some life-altering complication that could have been prevented.
By turning your “strategies” into habits, you’ll be able to maintain your healthy lifestyle and keep your body happy for the rest of your life.
Whew, OK, I meant to keep this post a bit shorter, but I got a little carried away. I guess I just can’t overemphasize the importance of prioritizing your health enough 🙂
I hope this got you thinking about some ways to start implementing healthy living strategies into your everyday life!