14 Small Ways To Improve Your Life
1. Prayer & Meditation
I grew up with prayer and it’s easily something I’ve used to continuously feel connected to my higher power. In the last couple of years, I’ve learned how to practice meditation. Meditation means many different things to different people, but for me where prayer helps me to connect something higher, meditation helps me to connect to myself. The more I meditate, the calmer and more aware I feel. The more I pray, the more guided I feel. So together they are a lethal combination. Check out a couple of my favorites meditation podcasts:
2. Dress up more often
I love dressing up. To start my travels I decided to sell almost everything I have, which included the majority of my clothes. At first it felt like a great idea but as time passes, my inner fashionista cries. Even with my limited wardrobe, there are times where I look for the cutest thing I have, throw on some makeup and simply go for coffee or nice walk. Don’t take the saying, “If you look good, you feel good” for granted. Taking pride in your appearance can be a serious confidence booster.
3. Dance more
Dancing is one of my favorite things to do, but I don’t do often enough. Let’s be clear I love a good party. Like LOVE. A me seh road. And the main reason I like parties is to catch a nice dancing vibe. I feel so alive when I dance, so connected to my body, and so feminine. It immediately gets me in a good mood and all cares go floating out the window. I don’t care what I look like, cause in my head I am Beyonce mixed with a likkle Spice.
You would think with all the joy it brings me I would dance every chance I get. But nope, I barely dance at home. It wasn’t until recently when I was playing the latest DJ Private Ryan mix that I realized that I need to dance more. After taking an amazing feminine energy workshop with my girl Silfath Pinto, I was inspired by her morning movement ritual and have incorporated sensual dance to my mornings. LOVE IT!
According to Everyday Health, dancing can boost memory, diminish depression, reduce stress, and help you lose weight among other things. When was the last time you put on your playlist and just let your body move? For booty popping inspiration, check out this playlist.
4. Start or end your day with a little yoga
Similar to meditation, yoga has helped me connect to myself. Yoga is the closest I get to daily exercise. I consider it part of my devotional aka worship practices. (I can already see my mom pick up the phone to pray for me after reading this.) I get an intense sense of peace after I practice - I feel calmer, stronger and more in-tune with myself.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned while practicing yoga is that if you lose focus on yourself or your breath then everything falls apart. Whenever I take a class and I’m trying to hold a pose or get my body to flow into the next position, the minute I lose track of my breath or start looking at how the next person looks amazing while I feel like a hot sweaty uncoordinated mess that's when I lose balance.
Another thing I love about practicing yoga is that we are taught to accept ourselves wherever we are in our practice. And I don’t mean month to month progress, I mean moment to moment. Every day you touch the mat is different, so we are taught to let our bodies lead and only push as much as we can handle. If your body is screaming to rest in child pose, then that's exactly what you need to do. I love that. Mostly because it translates to everyday life. Some days we are pushing through our to-do lists like absolute rockstars and other days getting out of bed seems impossible. But guess what? You have to accept and love yourself equally at both places.
Yoga is not the easiest thing for me to keep up with and there are many days where I forget to hit the mat. But when I do come back, I’m always like, “Why did I stop doing this again?” For some inspiration to get you to the mat, check out my favorite YouTube Yogi Brett Larkin.
5. Drink more water, like for real
As I am preaching to you, I am preaching to myself. I am not good at drinking water, but I am definitely getting better. And if coconut water counts (which it should), I’m actually killing the game! One of the best ways I’ve been able to bring my water intake up is by walking with my water bottle. Admittedly, this started as a way of saving money while traveling. If I walk with a water bottle, I won’t spend money on sugary drinks and sodas. (Wine and beer don’t count!) In addition to saving money, drinking water keeps my skin looking healthy, makes it easier to go, boosts my immune system, and makes me feel like I am being a real adult. For more benefits of drinking water, check out this article.
6. Take your “Me Time” seriously (no phone, no tv, no distractions)
You would think that being a solo traveler would mean that I am a pro at taking my self-care seriously. But like the best of you, I falter all the time. I constantly watch Netflix to keep me company, my phone is never more than an arm’s length away, and I find myself scrolling through my social media feeds in the down time that I could be using to develop a skill or catch up on reading. Even so, it doesn’t take long for me to feel the consequences of my actions. My spirit will feel unsettled and my anxiety will spike….then I’m like, “Oh snap, I’m not doing the important things I need to keep my soul healthy.” Then I have to rein it in, practice self-compassion, and re-prioritize. (By the way, that’s how I ended up writing this post. Way more productive than getting lost in the social media minefield.)
7. Jot down 3 things you are grateful for every night before bed
Maintain an attitude of gratitude. This one is sooo important. It’s so easy to let the pressures and obligations of the day distract you from all the blessings you do have. So before you close your eyes at night, write down 3 things you are grateful for. Make sure you go in depth about each one. No slacking and no two word lists. As my sister says, “When you take the time to dig deep and unearth your gratitude, your perspective begins to shift and you create even more blessings in your life.” Listen to my sister! She is smarter than me. FACTS.
8. Keep a Journal
I try to take my journal everywhere; it’s probably one of the most important things I own. There are many benefits to journaling, but what I enjoy the most is having a private space where I can be my most vulnerable. In my journal, I can work through thought processes and situations, and, of course, I get to document my experiences.
Most recently I’ve started bullet journaling, which has stepped my journal game up like WHOA! Along with my thoughts and reflects, I keep track of my goals, habits, budget, new words I learn and so much more. My personal accountability has gone through the roof. Everyday I go to my daily habit tracker and check off what I’ve done. Every Sunday I re-read my goals and reflect on all the things that brought me closer to my goals and the things that I can improve upon.
9. Fall in love with podcasts
I LOVE podcasts. They are a great way to keep up with the news, learn new things and listen to amazing stories and interviews. Check out my favorite podcasts here:
Serial - Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story — a true story — over the course of a season.
S-Town- S-Town is a from Serial and This American Life, hosted by Brian Reed, about a man named John who despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks Brian to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, and the search for the truth leads to a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.
Up and Vanished- Atlanta filmmaker Payne Lindsey of Tenderfoot TV originally envisioned Up and Vanished as a true-crime documentary. Lindsey selected a missing-person case from his home state, Georgia, and embarked on a journey as an amateur investigator. After starting his research and initial interviews, he decided to present the project in audio form as a podcast.
On Being with Krista Tippett- The groundbreaking Peabody Award-winning public radio show and podcast. Conversation about the big questions of meaning in 21st century lives and endeavors — spiritual inquiry, science, social healing, and the arts.
Revisionist History- a podcast from Malcolm Gladwell and Panoply. Each week for 10 weeks, Revisionist History will go back and reinterpret something from the past: an event, a person, an idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood.
10. Schedule some time to hang out with your most encouraging friends
Who are the friends that encourage you, listen to you vent, remind you of your potential, and make you laugh? Call those friends, set dates, and keep them. Life doesn’t seem to get any easier the older you get, but the people you keep around you can make the journey more bearable and worth taking. It’s easy to get caught up in career, relationships and the day to day grind but don’t forget to be there for your friends and make sure to ask for help when you need it.
11. Read more
I’ve always had a love affair with books. For a short period of time during and a little bit after college, I totally forgot how much reading used to be a part of my life. Lately, I’ve been craving my old love so I went crawling back into her binding arms (see what I did there?). Reading opens up new worlds. Whether it’s a novel where I can get lost in a fantasy, or a nonfiction book that teaches me something new, I am always a better person after I turn the last page of a good book. Recently I discovered that if you get a library card you can access your library’s eCatalog online and, using apps like Libby or Hoopla, you can send books directly to your Kindle for FREE. How amazing is that? Check out my Goodreads book list for reading inspiration.
12. Learn something new
The internet is a beautiful thing when it comes to expanding your skill set. We are so blessed to live in a world where you can learn almost anything while chilling at home in your pajamas. Over the years I’ve used Coursera, iTunesU, and online course offered by bloggers to learn everything from the history of color in film to how to set up affiliate marketing. Also, once you get your online library card, some libraries offer access to different learning websites! I swear the library is the gift that keeps on giving.
13. Go For Walks
When people ask me what I do for a living, I like to say, “I take long walks in different cities.” This is not just a cheeky way of not telling people what I do for income, but it’s a very true statement. Going for walks everywhere I travel is one of my absolute favorite activities. In addition to discovering new nooks and crannies, meeting new people, and mapping a new location, walking helps to clear my mind, exercise my body, and daydream. According to Harvard Medical School, walking also reduces the risk of developing breast cancer, boosts immune function, and helps tame a sweet tooth. WINNING!
14. Keep A Budget
People, people, people. This is me walking into my 30s claiming financial responsibility for my life. Money/budgets/fiscal planning are all things that I am not so good at...yet; things that make me a not so great Taurus and a so-so budget traveler. But in the name of owning property one day, I rebuke the spirit of overspending, anxiety laden bank account checks, and paycheck to paycheck living.
This year I decided that enough was enough. One of the simplest ways to keep my account from the “crying over dry rice” zone is to maintain a monthly budget and keep track of my daily expenses. I know this sounds tedious, but once you get into the groove of things you will get so much satisfaction in meeting your budget goals. Because I have to jot down every dollar I spend, it makes it super hard to justify a splurge. If you budget in your self-care expenses and small luxuries here and there, then random spending can be drastically reduced. When I look at something I know right away if I can afford it and which category it falls in my budget. I’m not saying that my budget will make me Warren Buffet overnight but I feel like getting financially free one day can be a reality if I continue to take small, responsible steps.
So there you have it! What are your favorite small activities that greatly improve your life? Share them with me below.