There are so many things we can do to stay physically and mentally healthy, but I feel like there's not enough time in the day to do them all, and there are a lot of things I could be doing for myself that I forget to do.
So I made myself some 'Wellness Cards'. They're for my personal use at home (where I currently spend most of my time, looking for work and studying for the CPA exams) and they're basically for any time I want to take a quick break from what I'm doing, or when I have a few moments and want to do something healthy for myself.
There are four categories I've come up with (I've color-coded them in case I want to find a card for a certain category): fitness, nutrition, physical relaxation, and mental/emotional health. Most cards take about 5 minutes to do, never more than 20.
I have 37 cards so far, and here's what they are. (Keep in mind that they're specifically for me, so some of them might be different than what other people might do.) A few of the ideas are adapted from an article in the November 2012 issue of Shape magazine; I have them starred*.
+Do 20 push-ups right now. (2 sets of 10)
+Do 30 jumping jacks right now.
+Put on your sneakers and do 5 burpees right now.
+Go outside and jog down the street. Then turn around and jog back.
+Do 20 squats right now.
+Do a modified plank. See how long you can hold it for.
+Drink a glass of water.*
+Eat an apple (or another piece of fruit) right now, or have it as the next food you eat.
+Eat a carrot right now, or have it as the next food you eat.
+Look in the fridge and decide which veggie (or fruit) you'd like with dinner tonight. Think about how you'll prepare it.
+Remember to take an Omega-3 (fish oil) supplement at your next meal.* (If you don't eat a lot of fish, it's important to get your omega-3's. It's recommended on the bottle to take 3 supplement capsules per day. It's also supposed to improve your mood after 2 weeks.*)
--Physical Relaxation (or release of tension)--
+Take a couple of minutes to do some yoga poses. (My favorites: Warrior, Tree, Triangle, Seated Twist, Bridge)
+If it's not too cold or precipitating outside, grab a lawn chair and sit outside for 10-15 minutes. Take a book/newspaper/magazine with you, if you want. (No electronics.)
+Do a 10-20 minute meditation (guided or on your own).
+Do a breathing exercise for a few minutes.* (Close your eyes and focus on your breath.)
+Brew and drink some hot tea. (My favorites: oolong, white tea, Lady Grey)
+Do a forward bend.* (Stand with feet apart, knees bent slightly. Lean forward, then grab opposite elbows. Let head hang. Hold for 1 minute.)
+Take a 20 min. nap.* (Set a timer.) (The magazine suggests 45 min., but I read in another article from another source that napping for more than 20 minutes can leave you feeling groggy instead of refreshed.)
+Jump up and down (for joy!) for a few minutes like a kid.*
+While sitting, slowly contract and relax each part of your body, starting with your arms and legs.*
+Light or sniff a candle.
+Lie on your back (on bed or couch) for 5 min. Just let your back muscles relax (but try not to fall asleep).
+Take 10-20 minutes to play with/cuddle with a pet.*
+Read today's comics in the newspaper (or online).
+Read 1 full chapter of a book of your choice.
+Listen to at least one song on your iPod. (No multi-tasking allowed for the first one, unless you're singing along or dancing.)
+Draw/sketch a quick picture.
+Mentally list 3 things you are grateful for, today or in general.
+If you're on the computer, if possible, switch to another task/activity that doesn't require the computer (for at least 30 minutes).
+Do your next one-handed task with your non-dominant hand.* (Studies show this way of breaking a habit increases self-control.*)
+Think about a goal you achieved, and how you felt when you achieved it.*
+Take 10-20 min. to worry "about everything that's bothering you. Make a quick list, and list some possible solutions." *
+Take a few minutes to write a short journal entry. (1-4 pages.)
+Take a moment to think about and anticipate the next thing (event/holiday/activity/plans) you're looking forward to doing.
+Read a verse of the Tao te Ching. (Take a few minutes to reflect on it.)
+Mentally (or physically, on a piece of paper or in a journal) list 3 things you like about your personality. Then list 3 things you like about how you look. Finally, list 5 people who love you.
+Start a task you've been procrastinating on. (If it's small, finish it.)
If there's anything that SparkPeople has taught me thus far, it's that even taking small steps to fitness and wellness can make a big difference.