Don't Strive for a Flawless, Healthy Lifestyle

It's such a bummer we've been conditioned to think there's always something to fix or improve when it comes to our physical and mental well-being. This constant striving for something more, something better, and that it might come in a bottle or a new method of living is exhausting and unrealistic.

Want to loose weight? Try this diet. Want to be less stressed? Try this breathing practice. Want better sleep? Try this natural supplement. Constipated? Do this yoga pose for 10 minutes.

I'm no superhuman and have caught myself (more times than I'd like to count) looking for an answer outside myself to feel better. It might look like I'm poking fun at my own profession (and I am) but there's a more instinctive and sustainable way to feel balanced and vibrant.

Start with what you know.

I know that looking at this picture, dinner was a delicious combination of fresh salmon, mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables after an epic day of surfing. I also know that there is whiskey in that bottle I'm holding. And it was good. I know some alcohol paired with whole foods, in a pretty rad outdoor scene with wonderful company is not only nourishing to my body but also to my soul.

What does your body want to feel good? What foods? What time should you go to bed? Wake up? How can you have more energy?

You know more than you give yourself credit for. Don't wait for a doctor or magazine to tell you what you need.

Aim for repetition, not perfection.

Once you know what habits serve you best, keep doing them. Everyday! No matter what the day throws your way. Let's say you know 20 minutes of movement before breakfast makes you feel connected to your whole body and prevents possible injuries, but this particular morning is nuts. Just do 5 minutes of squats and planks and call it. Another day you might feel 30 minutes and have set aside time to really tune in.

Do the habit. Don't worry about if it's picture perfect. The doing of the practice has greater impact.

Love yourself through it all.

Cut yourself some slack! I'm also saying this to myself. We are all our own worst critic.

Allow for grace to enter in and take over. Express compassion and care towards your beautiful self. It can be a loving phrase like, "Wow, Natalie. You drank lots of water today. Nice work!" Or, "It's ok to be angry with someone, it just shows how much you care about them."

Love yourself by saying, "I love you."

It can also be an action like going to bed early or practicing self massage with sesame oil.

When you can self soothe and regulate your own emotions and actions, the stability you'll experience is unparalleled. Your relationship with yourself is the longest, most consistent relationship you'll have, might as well make it a good one!