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A quick scroll through Instagram could make you think you aren’t living your best life unless you spend every day skydiving or sipping cocktails by a pool.
You might even fall into a comparison trap where it feels like you’re the only person who struggles to cram in work, family time, making dinner and whatever else the universe decides to throws at you each day.
Let’s be honest though – nobody posts everything on social media. Most people only post their highlight reel – their ‘best bits’. We might see photos of fancy holidays and meals at expensive restaurants, but social media doesn’t show us the overtime worked to afford them.
So don’t waste your time and energy comparing your every day to someone else’s best days. If you really want to live your best life you need to focus on your own happiness. And remember:
Living your best life has nothing to do with how your life looks.
It has everything to do with how your life feels.
Your life doesn’t have to look Insta-perfect. And you don’t need to wait for the weekend to have fun. You also don’t need to wish your life away counting down to your next holiday.
Living your best life isn’t about the occasional things – it’s what you do every day that will make a difference to how you feel.
Living your best life is when you seek happiness through contentment, not excitement.
And never forget that we all have different opinions of what ‘living your best life’ actually means. We each have our own goals when it comes to family, friends, finances, etc. It’s ultimately up to you to decide how you’ll know when you’re living your best life.
But these points will give you a good place to start from:
1. Set boundaries (and stick to them)
I’m hitting you with the big one straight away. Yep, this list might not be filled with the things you want to hear but it’s sure as hell going to be filled with the things you need to hear.
We all need boundaries. Work boundaries save you from accepting so much overtime that you might as well move your bed into the office. Love and dating boundaries stop you staying in a relationship with someone whose actions don’t match their words (yep, I’ve been there too). And friendship boundaries mean you won’t end up in a situation where you’re pretty much an unpaid personal assistant rather than a friend.
I could go on, but I think you get the point – we need to set boundaries in all aspects of our lives. So set some and do your best to stick with them.
Think about your priorities in life and make sure you consider those priorities with every decision you make.
And remember it’s impossible to please everyone. I learnt that the hard way. Always saying yes to others left me with hardly any time to do the things I actually wanted to do…and I was exhausted!
So I’ve implemented boundaries with my time. My values haven’t changed and I’m still there for my loved ones, but I’ve learnt that being a good person doesn’t mean I have to say yes to every single thing.
I know it’s sometimes easier said than done because you might be worried about upsetting someone by saying no, but please remember this:
If someone gets mad with you because you start setting boundaries it’s because they were benefitting from you not having any.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Now set some boundaries. And damn it, start valuing yourself enough to stick with them.
2. Make your wellbeing a priority
I’m about to sound like my Mum but I have to say this:
Without your health, nothing else really matters. So start listening to your body, start looking after your body and start loving your body.
If your body is in optimal health then – you guessed it – you’re moving closer to living your best life. So look after your physical health by exercising regularly.
You don’t need to cram in hours of workouts every day. Just move your body regularly and take care of it.
Find forms of exercise you enjoy and do whatever makes your body feel good. I discovered years ago that I don’t enjoy running. I mean I really don’t like it. But I love how I feel when I’m doing calisthenics (which involves things like handstands and push ups)…and I love surfing, or at least trying to surf. So I focus on those things.
There are so many different ways to exercise – you don’t need to force yourself to do something you hate. And remember that rest is essential too. Yes, you read that right. It’s not a reward you have to earn.
You wouldn’t let your phone battery run out and then expect your phone to continue working. So why do we forget that our bodies need time to recharge too!? Looking after your body doesn’t just involve keeping it fit and active – it’s also important to accept when it needs some time to chill.
And nourish your body with the food you eat. This doesn’t mean you have to just eat salad forevermore. I certainly don’t. But everything in moderation is key:
80% whole food, 20% soul food
If you need any more healthy eating advice click here.
3. Expand your mind
It’s easy to spend your life thinking that certain things are the key to happiness – money being one of them. But think about it this way… If money was really some magic gateway to happiness then surely every wealthy person would be ecstatic 247!?
Ok yes, I know money buys holidays and meals out, etc, and I’m not going to pretend I don’t love those things. But there have been many years in my life where I’ve not been able to afford anything like that and yet I’ve made loads of wonderful memories and somehow created a life I adore. And that’s because living your best life is all about mindset.
So expand your mind, look beyond the big things we’re all told we should aspire to have. Instead, think about what you really want your life to feel like. And make the most of the small things.
You don’t need a positive bank balance to live your best life. You need a positive mindset.
And on that note, please don’t be hard on yourself any time you struggle to stay positive. You’re human and life is full of obstacles – it’s impossible to feel super happy all the time. So let go of this idea that you should be. It’ll only end up making you feel even more stressed. So allow yourself time to process your feelings.
One of the best lessons I ever learnt is that stress is the gap between expectation and reality. It’s what happens when we refuse to accept a situation for what it is, then we waste energy fixating on what we think it should be. Sound familiar? That’s because we all do it.
But trying to accept a situation for what it is and learning to work with it will get you so much further than fighting against it. I won’t lie I still struggle with this at times too. Heck, I’m only human! But even just trying to have this mindset shift makes a huge difference.
So many people focus purely on the physical side of things – as though the only parts of life that matter are the parts other people can see.
But keeping your mind active and healthy is essential too!
I sound like I’ve got my life sorted right out now, don’t I!? I can assure you I haven’t. But I’m happy. And during lockdown I’ve found more time to meditate so I can focus on accepting each moment for what it is. I’ve finally got around to learning another language too (after forgetting everything I learnt years ago in GCSE French).
I love learning! My mum has always joked that if I could get paid to attend college courses for the rest of my life I would…and she’s right. So I decided during lockdown that I wanted to do something to keep my mind active and healthy (beyond just scrolling through Pinterest). So I signed up for a French course on LearnLanguages24.
I’ve still got a lot to learn, but my daily lessons make me happy…and that’s what living your best life is all about. Doing whatever makes you happy – both the big and the small things.
By the way, the French course was gifted to me by LearnLanguages24. And I've got an exclusive offer that's only available for my readers... 3 for the price of 1. Yep, any 3 full language courses you choose for the price of 1! All with lifetime access. To take advantage of this offer, simply buy your chosen language course from their site, then send an email to [email protected] mentioning my name (Happy Healthy Nat) and the 2 courses you'd like for free. It's that easy!
Looking after your mind really is just as important as looking after your body.
4. Do something you enjoy every day
I feel like some unwritten rule exists where the moment we become adults we automatically stop doing the things we enjoy.
I know we develop more responsibilities and we need to prioritise other things, but if you can waste an hour each day replying to that f*ckboy then you can spare at least half an hour to do something you actually love.
Think back to when you were younger…what made you happy?
What would your younger self be sad to know you had stopped doing?
I recently realised I hadn’t danced properly since I was a teenager. Dancing has always been one of the great loves of my life, but I let it go. I don’t even recall making the decision to stop. It just happened.
But I’m determined that dancing will come back into my life from now on. Sometimes I’ll attend a dance class or a Zumba class (in person or online) and sometimes I might just imagine the kitchen is my stage while I’m waiting for dinner to cook. Either way, I’ll make sure dancing comes back into my life. For good.
So go for it – make your younger self happy and bring your old favourite hobby back into your life. Or maybe find a new one. Something that brings out your inner sparkle.
Yes, we all have busy lives but this is where your boundaries come in – it’s up to you to make time for the things that make you happiest. The things that make you feel like you’re truly living your best life.
5. Make the most of what you have
I’m not about to say you need to write down 5 things you’re thankful for every day. Mostly because right now during lockdown we’d probably just list the same things every single day – family, friends, food, more food, Netflix. I don’t actually have Netflix but I do have hundreds of DVDs, so I kind of am Netflix.
Anyway, you can practice gratitude without having to write anything down. Admittedly, I like keeping a journal because I like writing my feelings down. What a surprise…a writer who likes writing!? But you don’t need to.
The reason I say to practice gratitude is that it’s easy when scrolling through social media to make the mistake of focusing on what we don’t have, but living your best life is all about making the most of what you do have.
If you always focus on what you feel your life is missing, you’ll never appreciate the things you have.
So make the most of what your life is filled with. Growing up, my family didn’t have much money. We didn’t go abroad for holidays, we didn’t eat out at fancy restaurants and we didn’t have all the latest toys. But we were happy. Truly deeply happy.
And when I look back, my heart is flooded with happy memories. Why? Because my Mum made the most of what we had. And I will never forget that.
You don’t need to have the best of everything – just make the best of everything.
6. Stop waiting
I’ve spoken to so many people over the years who believe they’ll feel happier once they lose a certain amount of weight or fit into a certain dress size. As though their life can only really begin once they’ve ticked off that goal.
Don’t make the mistake of treating weight loss like it’s the gatekeeper to your happiness.
Actually, don’t let anything become the gatekeeper to your happiness. You can start living your best life right now. Yes, even with cellulite on your legs, and arms that wobble when you wave. How do I know? Because I have both of those things…and I’m happy.
You don’t need to wait until you lose weight…until you fall in love…until you have more money. This right now is your life. And it’s up to you whether you live it or keep waiting.
This isn’t a dress rehearsal or prequel where you get to set your life up to be exactly how you’d like it before you finally begin to live.
This is your life. Live it!
We could spend our whole lives wishing for more money, a slimmer waist, hair that did what we want it to do…but in years to come when we look back, we’ll realise none of that really matters. Living your best life is mostly based on your mindset.
I couldn’t possibly cover every single thing we all need to consider to start living our best lives in just one blog post. But I hope this inspires you to start creating a life you truly love…right now.
Never forget that this moment right now is your life.
Don’t waste it trying to fit in or impress someone else.
Don’t spend it seeking validation. Don’t fixate on the mistakes you’ve made.
Just focus on the present moment. Treat it like the gift it truly is.
Now start living your best life!
Go for it, right now. Have fun!
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