When I was a teenager who knew everything, I was certain that by the time I turned 30, I would have this life thing mostly figured out.
I mean, what more could I learn after surviving a strict Catholic upbringing, high school, and my early 20s?
<Insert my adult self rolling my eyes and laughing at my teenage self here.>
Well, I’m a few weeks away from turning 30 and, let’s just say, I still have loads to learn.
As a human who experiences anxiety and depression, I often feel overwhelmed knowing there’s more I can do to contribute to my life experience, but lack clarity about where to begin or what to do. So, as a total type-A, I opted to make a list.
My goal was to make it easier for myself and others who want more out of life, right now, but aren’t really sure where to begin.
This list does not have to be followed in sequence, nor does it ever have to be completed. Rest easy, there is no right or wrong way to implement these “starts” into your life. Each nugget offered below is simply a tool to help you generate inspiration and hope in moments of your life when they are otherwise missing.
1. Start taking deep breaths. Before you get out of bed each morning, as you drift into sleep each night, when you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or stressed, and even in moments of pure bliss, take more deep breaths. Right now is a good time to start! Go ahead. Take a few deep breaths before moving on with this list.
2. Start living in shoes less. Go barefoot and let the bones of your feet stretch out. Connect to the earth and massage your feet by simply walking outside or in your home shoe-free.
3. Start putting your feet up more often. It’s good for your body to invert. Whether you practice headstand or legs up the wall, or by simply propping your feet up with a pillow while sitting on the couch, you are actively increasing circulation and blood flow when you put your feet up, and this is good for you! So do more of it!
4. Start loving your body. Inside, out, and every stretch mark in between.
5. Start spending time with people. Go get connected. It’s okay that you are uncomfortable.
6. Start trusting your intuition and living your life from a place of inner wisdom.
7. Start being honest with yourself. See number six.
8. Start putting yourself and your needs first. It isn’t selfish to take care of yourself. It’s necessary. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
9. Start empowering yourself. Whenever it is needed. My go-to mantra: I am kind. I am worthy. I am loved.
10. Start letting go of the past. You don’t live there anymore.
11. Start making mistakes. Fail is not a bad, four-letter F-word.
12. Start learning from your mistakes. There are always two sides to the hand—the front and the back—and they are always connected. My teacher refers to this concept as the student/teacher. Keep making mistakes and learning from them, so as to not continue making the same mistakes over and over.
13. Start cleaning up your messes. Leave things how you find them or better. This works well on people too.
14. Start creating happiness where you are, with what you currently have.
15. Start looking within yourself. Generate balance in your life by making the inside of who you are match who you are being on the outside.
16. Start taking risks. No matter the size. Some days, leaving my cave of a home and going to the grocery store feels more risky to me than leading a group of people through a yoga class!
17. Start knowing you are ready now. Be in action.
18. Start choosing relationships wisely. See number 15.
19. Start creating realistic and healthy boundaries. It’s okay to say no and yes when you want. Trust your inner guide.
20. Start accepting new relationships and letting go of ones that didn’t work. I believe the old saying goes, “people are in your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.” Let seasons be seasons, reasons be lessons, and lifetimes be full of wonder and passion.
21. Start listening generously. Practice not interrupting and start listening from a place of compassion and openness. It’s easy to say your ears are open, it’s another to be in the practice of opening your ears.
22. Start giving up the things you don’t need. Those clothes collecting dust in the back of your closet, the half-used notebooks under your bed, the samples of bath products under the sink, anything that no longer brings you joy—toss it or give it away!
23. Start nourishing your body with foods and beverages that support your overall health. Feed yourself from a place of loving yourself.
24. Start drinking enough water to achieve hydration. If you’re anything like me, you may have spent the first 25 years of your life dehydrated. As a kid growing up in the south, my go-to drink of choice was sweet tea and I didn’t even consider drinking water until my early 20s! Yikes. These days, my re-fillable water bottle goes with me everywhere.
25. Start using less plastic. It’s a simple, doable effort that we can all make in order to preserve our planet.
26. Start meditating daily. Meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety. It can help generate focus, conscious breathing, and a deeper sense of awareness. Even one minute is beneficial.
27. Start giving yourself enough sleep. Like water, nourishment, and healthy movement, your body also needs rest and sleep. When in rest mode, your body can heal and repair itself from the day-to-day stresses that you encounter. If you, like many adults, have trouble sleeping, try listening to a sleep meditation to induce restful sleep.
28. Start laughing more and embrace the act of being silly. Let yourself get messy, smile, and have fun.
29. Start sharing yourself. You have numerous gifts, abilities, and talents to offer the world, so get on with it! There’s no need to be perfect or even the best at what you do to share what you have—just share.
30. Start doing what you love. Life is too short to just pay bills and die. Keep paying your bills, sure, but start adding in things that set your heart on fire. Contribute to your own happiness and set the example for others around you to do the same.
Author: Megan Howe
Image: Annabelle Blythe “Your Body is Not a Battleground.”
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis