On Redesigning My Life for Health

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Photo by Oleg Laptev on Unsplash

Earlier this week, I did a journal exercise outlining setbacks (mostly bad habits), that have continually gotten in the way of my personal growth and long-term goals. After materializing my thoughts on paper, it became all more a reality to change my behaviors into something positive.

Bad habits hinder our potential to form any type of success we think we can have for ourselves. We end up making excuses for why we can’t do them. The honest truth is that time continues on without us, it’s non-refundable.

I had to examine the most important question that I reflected on daily: why not now?

There’s always an excuse to put anything off.

“I’ll write tomorrow. I’m just too tired.”

I had trained my brain into believing that I was too tired then proceeded to spend hours watching Netflix or consuming Instagram feeds when I was perfectly able to sit down and write an article or edit a batch of photos. I fully understand the harms of allowing meaningless communications to take over. By the end of it all, I look at the clock and ask myself, “Where did all the time go?” I can’t get that time back. I made the realization that I don’t want to spend my waking life being in a constant consumer state. I want to be in an active, creator state when I actively and purposefully make time for those moments.

A few months ago, I had come to a crossroads in my life where I had to question what steps I wanted to take in my career in order to feel fulfilled and valued. In the months prior, I had felt stuck and undervalued. I spent the last 3 years working at a company in a digital marketing role that I didn’t enjoy and it took a physical, emotional, and mental toll on my health. On the job, I spent a lot of time on the road, away from family and friends. As human beings, we seek community. A sense of community fuels my curiosity and interests for the people and world around me.

It’s pretty common to spend the majority of our working lives doing things for other people and work on agendas that we don’t fully believe in. When it comes to ourselves, channeling the self-motivation can be challenging without any proper guidance, or in this case, a reliable internal compass. It can be scary to ask for help when you need it. It can be hard to manifest a dream without the proper skills armored in your toolbox. We have to give ourselves the ability to surrender and open ourselves up to the possibilities. Our choices have a wonderful ability to manifest those realities and hopes. It’s about taking action. It doesn’t have to be all at once.

Even though my life felt structured by a rigid work and travel schedule, I felt that I had no control over my sense of time outside of work. I spent so much of my waking hours catering my energy others and not take care of myself. It started to show in other aspects of my life: finance, love, relationships, and work.

During this time, I felt as though I was drifting away from feeling like my actual self, authentic self. I had a hard time staying positive and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. My focus was off. I wasn’t taking care of myself on a very basic level: nutrition, exercise, and proper sleep. These attribute to the overall quality of life.

I felt burdened by my inability to make the right decisions. I allowed creative blocks to manifest self-doubt. Self-doubt fueled my inability to create any form of writing that I was proud of or taking a photograph of anything worthwhile. This toxicity me feel small and ultimately lowered my self-worth and confidence.

The lack of control and inability to decompress my mind started to affect my physical health. The stress had built up and caused inflammation in my body, resulting in muscle soreness and a full-blown flare-up of nummular eczema and costochondritis. The causes of the conditions were unknown, but the stress was the diagnosis.

In addition, I wasn’t feeding or nourishing my body with a proper diet, which attributed to my health and ailments. When it came to food, I reached for take-out and rarely cooked healthy meals like I used to. When it came to sleep, I would sleep for 5–6 hours and nap for 2–3 hours when I came home from work. I lacked an overall balance. My body and mind were at war. I was feeding inflammation with stress, overthinking, and worrying.

I wasn’t building a meaningful or sustainable life or paving an environment to create anything. I was simply going through the motions. After leaving that job of 3 years, I had an opportunity to make things better for myself. It took some time and adjusting, but I changed my habits and still continuing to grow and improve from them. A few changes I have made over the past few months: eating mostly organic food, not consuming meat, reduced my sugar intake, meditate for about 5 minutes a day, and spend time with friends and family while being actively present. In order to read more, I replaced some time that I would Netflix by reading a chapter of a book. For me, these small changes will spread into other areas of my life and things won’t feel so overwhelming. It won’t be perfect and I’m able to accept that.

I have to embrace the responsibility and hold myself accountable that the time that is given to me is mine and what I choose to do with it is my choice. I’m giving myself permission.

Written by

Writer. mia@mia-nguyen

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