This article was written by Alice Robertson of Tidy Home
The quest for a happy and meaningful existence is universal. Chances are you want to live your best life.
Unfortunately, misuse of the phrase has led many to use the aspirational life splashed all over social media as a yardstick for happiness and wellbeing. #Bestlife bragging only drives people to impress strangers while ignoring what’s truly important to them.
Your best life ought to be determined by your own unique values. It is the life that allows you to reach your full potential and make a real difference doing something that is truly important to you. It is also a life that connects you to community in deep and meaningful ways.
Above all, your best life is one that lets you share your gifts, passions, and personality with the world. Because who you are is just what the world needs.
Below, StyleWise shares some guidance you can lean on. Of course, income and social barriers can limit any goal toward self-actualization. While being mindful of these limitations, it’s still worth thinking about what we do have control over.
How to Live Your Best Life
1. Start the journey
Accomplishing your goals and feeling your best involves being intentional and living on your own terms. It starts with being determined to make things happen.
Picture yourself living a life of value and contentment. Pick a goal and start imagining it while being as specific as you can. Bring the vision to life by using all your senses. If you are struggling to get a clear picture, you can doodle, journal, or talk it out with a trusted friend.
Visualization begins with deciding what you want. It helps you develop the right mindset to work toward your goal of living your best life.
3. Don’t sacrifice fashion
Your style says a lot about you and it greatly impacts your self-esteem. The axioms “dress for success” and “dress for the job you want” have some bearing in reality.
As such, it’s always a good idea to wear clothes and accessories that make you feel incredible and speak to your identity and goals. Give yourself permission to revamp your wardrobe from time to time. Replacing your old clothes with more personalized options can have a very positive impact on your well-being. And there are a lot of good options on the ethical and secondhand market.
4. Prioritize self-care
You are the only person who understands the wants and needs of your soul so you should never be shy about prioritizing yourself. It’s good to pamper yourself from time to time.
Of course, self-care goes beyond Netflix marathons, spa treatments, and naps. It is about tuning in to your needs and well-being. Prioritize self-care by saying “NO,” setting boundaries, letting go of what you can’t control, being mindful of your body and mind, and creating a home space that feels like a refuge.
If you’re feeling down, overwhelmed, or isolated, do not hesitate to seek out therapy options. While there are barriers to affordable care, reaching out to local health organizations can help you find resources or access support groups.
5. Move your body
Exercise is often associated with strenuous activities like running and bench pressing. However, to feel your best, you only have to move your body in a mindful and enjoyable way regularly. For example, yoga can help to improve flexibility, increase muscle strength and tone, and improve circulation.
In addition, yoga can help to relieve stress, enhance the quality of sleep, and reduce anxiety and depression. Hot yoga, which is practiced in a heated room, is said to have even more significant benefits, as the heat helps to loosen muscles and promote detoxification.
Meditation is another practice that has been shown to be beneficial for mental health. By focusing on the breath and clearing the mind of distractions, meditation can help to decrease stress levels, improve focus and concentration, and increase self-awareness. For those looking to improve their mental well-being, regular yoga (or hot yoga) and meditation practices may be ideal solutions.
Last but not least, walking is also a great option, and it can be a wonderful way to move and stay grounded. More than likely you’re already confident in whether your neighborhood is walkable, but it never hurts to check its Walk Score. You can also use Walk Score to check out the walkability factor of nearby neighborhoods.
Whatever you do, make sure it’s fun and makes you feel good. This will ensure that you can make it a habit. Leah just bought a pair of roller blades!
6. Invest in yourself
Investment in yourself gives the best returns. You need to consistently invest in your personal and professional growth by developing your skills, setting goals, and working toward achieving them.
Investing in higher education can be an excellent option if you want to develop your skills and knowledge. Enrolling in an online program could help you develop your knowledge and enhance your career prospects. Some universities offer free online courses. And sites like MasterClass allow you to purchase courses from the world’s top experts in a huge variety of disciplines.
And don’t forget your local library!
7. Consider what you consume
Eating a nutrient-rich diet, hydrating well, and avoiding toxins like too much alcohol and sugar can do wonders for how you feel.
Eating plenty of organic food featuring fresh vegetables, fruits, and dairy products can help lift your spirits. Plan your meals ahead of time so you always have nourishing options ready to go.
If you are feeling low in energy, it may be a good idea to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to check for underlying health issues or nutrient deficiencies.
8. Take control of your finances
Money is typically a sensitive topic but it doesn’t have to be. Taking control of your finances gives you the freedom to live your best life.
You don’t have to have all the money in the world to live your best life. You only need to have enough to take care of yourself and your loved ones. This means taking charge of your earnings, spending, and investments. A simple budget spreadsheet can get the ball rolling.
9. Make time for your spiritual and communal needs.
We are social creatures with big feelings and big ideas. It can be incredibly meaningful to participate in spiritual/religious communities or spend some time each week serving your community. And people connected to their local communities have better health outcomes, too.
From after-school programs to food pantries, community organizing to local protests, think about what you value, then get involved. And don’t forget that virtual communities are just as real and important as in-person ones.
But doing isn’t everything. Take time to enjoy the people around you and thoughtfully develop your values by seeking wisdom and insight.
“Living your best life” starts with an honest and objective look at your values.
Only then can you determine what matters to you on an achievable level. Instead of looking for external validation, focus on what makes you happy and choose it every day. Combine this mentality with wellness-based actions like eating well, moving your body more, and investing in your personal development, and you set the stage for a pretty great life.
Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.