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10 Tips To Kick-Start Your Wellness Journey

Wellness

Everywhere you turn these days someone is talking about or promoting wellness and maybe you're feeling inspired to make some changes to your own life but are unsure about how to get started. Well, that's what I'm going to share with you in this article.


However, before I do, it's important to keep in mind the following three points. Firstly, your wellness journey is just that, a journey. It will have its ups and downs, twists and turns, challenges and breakthroughs. Secondly, it is your journey. It's natural to look to others for inspiration but there's a risk of comparing yourself to them. Your wellness journey is about what you need, not what other people are doing. Finally, your wellness journey is not only about your physical health. It's about balancing your inner and outer wellbeing and encompasses your mind, body and soul.

Here are 10 tips to kick-start your wellness journey:

1. Grab A Journal & A Pen

Before embarking on a wellness journey, I recommend taking time to journal. With wellness being such a popular topic nowadays, it's easy to get swept up in the latest trend and think that's what you should be doing. Use your journal to get clear about where you're at, what you need right now and realistically how much time you have to commit to any wellness activities.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What will make me feel good?
  • What do I need more of?
  • What do I need less of?
  • Where and how can I fit a regular wellness practice into my daily life?
  • What wellness practice am I willing to commit to?
  • Why this wellness practice? What difference will it make to my life? What will it give me that I don't already have (enough of)?

2. Set Your Goals And Intentions

Once you've answered the questions above, you should have a much clearer vision for your wellness journey. Now it's time to get specific. What are your goals? Do you want to lose 20 lbs by summer? Do you want to be following a vegan diet by Thanksgiving? Do you want to be meditating at least 15 minutes every day within the next 3 months? It's important to be very specific so you can measure your progress.

Next, how will you achieve your goals? Will you reduce your portion size and aim to lose 3 lbs each week or will you join a slimming club? Will you start by removing red meat from your diet? Will you use an app to meditate for 5 mins before you go in the shower each morning?

Finally, what is your overall intention? Do you want to have more energy, better focus and concentration or overall peace of mind? The reason it is important to set an intention alongside your goals is because ultimately your goals will be meeting a deeper desire. For example, it's not really about meditating daily, it's about the feeling regular meditation gives you.

3. Start Where You Are

Maybe in an ideal world you want to practice yoga 5 days a week, meditate for 30 mins every morning, cook solely using organic ingredients or follow a full vegan diet. At the same time, perhaps you work long hours, are a mum with very little time to yourself, have a small budget or absolutely love ribs with a side of mac n cheese.

With the best intentions, it can be a challenge to go straight from where you're at to the vision you have in your mind. Be realistic about how much time you can commit to your wellness journey and what you're willing to sacrifice. You want to make this a way of life not a passing fad so it's much more beneficial to spend 5 minutes each day stretching than doing a 1-hour class now and again. Likewise, if one month you blow your wages on all organic products but then spend the following month eating cheap processed food in order to make the rent, the commitment to your wellness journey will wane real quick. The aim is to form a solid foundation for your overall wellbeing which requires consistency. Do what you can with what you have. Start with small, manageable steps that you can build on over time.

4. Clear The Crap

Whether your wellness journey is about your mind, body or soul, you need to detox. It's necessary to purge the area of your life you're focusing on of anything that may distract you or hinder your progress. If you're focusing on your diet, empty the fridge and cupboards of any food you want to avoid. If you're concentrating on your mind, remove anything that has a negative influence on your mental health. This could include unfollowing social media accounts that negatively trigger you or make you feel bad about yourself. It could even include a digital fast.

Debt, a cluttered or untidy living space, a job you hate and toxic relationships are common areas that can have a detrimental effect on your mind, body and soul and severely impact your overall wellbeing so it's also worth considering if these aspects of your life need detoxing before embarking on your wellness journey.

5. Get Support

Now matter how committed you are or how excited you feel, there are going to be challenging times. Maybe you're not seeing any progress or feeling the benefits so you consider quitting or perhaps it just feels too difficult. There'll also be days when you feel so proud of yourself for hitting a goal that you're desperate to share your achievement with someone.

Support is integral especially when you're just setting out on your wellness journey. Join a group online or IRL or partner up with a friend who has similar goals. They'll hold you accountable when you start reaching for excuses, motivate and encourage you when you feel like quitting and may also be a valuable source of information to help you with your wellness goals. You can also use apps to set up reminders and track your progress.

6. Track Your Progress

At some point during your wellness journey, you may feel like nothing is happening or that very little has changed. This is why it is vital to track your journey from the very start. Using an app, making notes in your journal, taking photos, and recording any stats are just some of the ways you can monitor your progress daily.

When starting out, pick only one practice to focus on. This will increase your chances of sticking with it and make it easier to follow your growth. Doing 5 or 6 things on an ad-hoc basis makes it extremely difficult to measure your results and to know for sure what's working. Once your weekly yoga class or daily meditation practice becomes integrated into your daily life, you can then look at introducing something else. Start with the practice you feel will have the biggest positive impact on your life but also that you can realistically fit into your daily routine.

7. Be Resilient

As I've already said, despite your best intentions, you may encounter obstacles along the way. Perhaps things get worse before you begin to see an improvement. Maybe you get an injury or life becomes overwhelming and depression strikes. When you skip a day, a week or two of your wellness practice, it's tempting to think that you're a failure and that's there's no point trying to restart. Or maybe beginning again feels too difficult. You will stumble. You may even fall off completely. And that's OK. Simply dust yourself off and restart where you are.

8. Love Yourself First

Yes, of course, push yourself to be your best self but ensure this comes from a place of love. Be kind and show yourself compassion and encouragement. When you fall, focus on your achievements. When you have a breakthrough, acknowledge your progress and reward yourself. Celebrate your wins.

Self-love is critical and should form the foundation for your wellness journey. Subconsciously, we often don't feel worthy of love and therefore you may find yourself prioritizing other things or other people's needs over your wellness practice. Taking care of yourself - mind, body and soul - is not selfish, self-indulgent or a luxury, it is essential to your overall wellbeing so you must consciously choose to treat yourself like you matter.

9. Use Inspiration As Motivation

Who inspires you in the wellness world? Obviously, BGIO, but who else? There are people who have already mastered what you want to achieve or who are at least further along the wellness journey than you are. They'll share what has worked for them, challenges they've faced and how they've overcome them. You can learn from their experiences and prepare yourself for what your journey may look like.

Don't just wait for days when you feel like your wellness journey is not worth the effort to look to these people for inspiration. Incorporate them into your life. Listen to their podcasts, read their books, blog posts and newsletters and watch their YouTube videos. What beginners tips do they suggest? What advice do they have if you're short on time or money? Apply anything that resonates with you. At the same time, be mindful of anyone who makes you feel inadequate. You want to feel inspired, motivated, encouraged and empowered.

10. Focus On Your Own Journey

Don't get caught up with what other people are doing. Choose a wellness practice that you actually want to do and that meets your needs. Don't do something just because your favorite celebrity is doing it, because it looks good to others or simply because you feel you should. Also, remember, your wellness journey is about the mind, body and soul so while a cardio session might be what one person needs, pulling a tarot card or reading a passage from your bible each morning could be exactly what you need.

As you can see, kickstarting your wellness journey is a process and like any journey, it takes planning. Of course, some journeys are spontaneous but when it comes to wellness, following the tips outlined above will help you to get the most from your journey.

*Originally published on Black Girl In Om

Leanne Lindsey was born and raised in London but currently lives between London and Tenerife. She spent her early twenties being all things to everyone, her late twenties learning the importance of self-care and her early thirties shedding the guilt of prioritizing her own needs. As a certified life coach, she now supports women on a similar journey by promoting self-care, self-love and wellness. Leanne's go-to self-love practices include journaling, getting lost in a good book and baking. Connect with Leanne in The Self-Love & Wellness Lounge, at www.leannelindsey.co.uk.

Featured image by Shutterstock

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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