I pride myself on making healthier choices, finding natural alternatives and maintaining fruitful activeness but the truth is that is not always the case.
Like many others, I find myself being inconsistent in my health journey. I do not consistently use natural methods to maintain health and prevent diseases. I don’t always make the best choices regarding my diet and how much I consume. Lately, I have not been dedicated to my fitness.
We live in a generation were outward appearance is the main motivator to work towards health goals. Truth be told, you can look amazing and not truly be healthy. My goal is to improve my quality of life and extend my youth. I will gladly get old but I never want to feel old. This goal requires me to make healthier choices now.
Many of my life practices are inspired and motivated by my goal to never feel old. If your goal is to always maintain your health and to grasp that youthful feeling, what are you doing today? Are you straddling the lines of healthy and unhealthy?
I have found that Consistency is key. I have not mastered this, yet I know that my inconsistency in my efforts towards health is a step towards sickness and dependence. We should all work to maintain healthy diets, weights, and healthy amounts of activities, and stress reducing practices.
If you have a tendency to be inconsistent like me, try thinking about your behaviors and practices when you’re dedicated to your health. Write it down and place it where you will see it regularly.
Imani’s best health practices (non medical):
1. Be intentional about your goals. Are trying to lose weight? Prevent illnesses, improve breathing, gain muscle, aid reduction in diagnosed diseases? Whatever the case, write it down and remind yourself why your health goal is important.
2. Use a calendar. For fitness goals, I’m best when I use a calendar. Everyday I work out and run, I mark my calendar. This calendar is posted on my door so every morning, I can track my activity and I am less prone to forget.
3. Find healthier alternatives to your favorite foods. Instead of regular burgers, make turkey ones. Try sweet potatoes over regular potatoes. I also try to eat 1-2 servings of a superfoods everyday. What we put in our body is the most important factor in wellness. Find ways to make foods that are good for you, good to you as well.
4. Participate in stress reducing activities. Stress is literally toxic to your body. It can cause illnesses and can be a significant factor in why you have been inconsistent with your health choices. Meditate, pray, do yoga, go for a run, journal. Do whatever helps you to reduce stress.
5. Have a no excuses attitude. When you’re off, admit that you’re off and that you dropped the ball. Yes, you work. Yes, you’re tired but nothing excuses your neglect to your body. In the long run, it’s worth the time to prepare a healthy meal. It is worth the time to try the holistic treatment to ailments. It’s worth your time to work out. Just do it.
I am not much of a planner. As I have said in previous posts; life rarely goes according to plan, so I rarely make them. This being said, I learned a lot while in Europe about traveling and making arrangements. My previous abroad experience in Ghana was somewhat structured by my university. Also, in Ghana you really don’t have to plan. Everyone there is very laid back and lively. Ghana is inexpensive so doing things last minute doesn’t harm your budget at all. Europe is polar opposite.
In Europe, the better you are at making arrangements in advance, the better your chances are of saving money and having a smooth trip. For Americans, traveling within Western Europe can be costly compared to traveling in other places (our currency is generally worth less than the Euro, Pound and Franc). Learn from my mistakes and plan ahead if possible.
1. Peeing is not free!
Most major European cities charge for the use of public restrooms. In most train stations, malls, and attractions, you will pay about one euro or franc to use the restroom. This being said, keep your coins. Many European countries have coins that value up to 5 (euros, franks, pounds), so discarding these coins are costly. You never know when you have to go. Most small business and restaurants do not have restrooms for the public, so be prepared.
2.The Eurorail is trash
This is obviously based on my own experience but the Eurorail is not the money saver it seems to be. The Eurorail pass is very complicated and has lots of fine print. It costs about $400 -$500 for about 8 travel days. The countries you choose must all border each other and if those countries are not a popular ticket choice, you will need to order in advanced or get it online. Most major cities require you to reserve a seat, which will run you about $60 USD or more roundtrip. If you do not reserve seats earlier enough, you run the risk of the train being booked. (You can still board the train, but you end up standing or sitting on the floor.) If you choose to use the Eurorail, I recommend using it for Eastern Europe. The countries tend to be closer together and there is less need for seat reservation. The train can be time consuming if your destinations are not close.
3.Flying is the way to go
Flying in Europe is a dream. It can be very cost efficient to catch a flight, not to mention time saving. I flew from Geneva, Switzerland to London, England for $70 USD round trip and booked my ticket only two weeks before my trip. There are several travel sites that make flying cheap. I booked my flight directly through EasyJet (European Airline). There is also Ryan Airlines and Skyscanner.com is also a great way find cheap flights. Note: if you use these airlines, the only bags that are free are carry-ons. They can be very strict about the sizes of the carry-on, so check for measurements and do not push it. Also, give yourself plenty of time to get through airport security, some airports are very small and cannot always get through people quickly.
4.Booking a Room or Hostel
Hostels are popular among young travelers in Europe. Hotels can be really expensive, so it is worth it for your budget to either book a hostel or rent a room or couch from someone. Hostels typically house anywhere from 3-10 people in a room. (You can get a private or two person room but it isn’t cost efficient.) It sounds scary, especially if you’ve watch movies about Americans in foreign countries but really hostels can be a great environment. In Barcelona, our hostel was very clean, had free breakfast, lots of young people and was in the center of town. I met some very cool people who recommended restaurants, tours and activities. I even met a girl with the same name as me! However, book ahead if possible. In Paris, we did not book a room in advance and boy, oh boy did we regret it. We stayed in a shabby hostel that was questionable in cleanliness and their idea of a complimentary breakfast was the vending machine. Needless to say I slept on my sweater.
If you aren’t a fan of Hostels and prefer a more private experience, try using AirBnB. It’s a great website and app that is growing. Locals rent out a room or sometimes their entire apartment. I didn’t personally get to use it but everyone who I know that did, enjoyed it. If the host was there, they often acted as a person tour guide. I tried to use AirBnB but my procrastination made it impossible for me to book anything. Just because a space is available does not mean they will agree to you booking the space. Remember these are people’s home. They usually want enough to prepare for you. They need to check their schedules, so give yourself minimum a week to book (and that may be cutting it close).
5.Always bring a Student ID
Even if you are not a student anymore. Europe is all about the youth. Most museums, attractions and activities offer a discount to students. This can really help you shave down the cost of your activities. Note; If you are in Paris, the Louvre will not give you a discount unless your school is located in the European Union. BOOOO! However, the Eiffel Tower gives discounts to anyone under 24.
6.Bring a Water bottle
Again, there are not a whole lot of water fountains and water in most restaurants are not free. If you do order water, make sure you ask for tap water, otherwise you get overpriced bottled water. It is better to just pack your own water and fill up on those rare occasions you find a water fountain.
*Paris smells like pee. In fact a lot of urban Europe does. *The toilets use very little water, so they smell as well. *Find the free beaches. A lot of European beaches don’t have sand. (Spain does, they import it). * Doing laundry is expensive. Learn to hand wash. *If you are there for an extended time period, know that you will not have an oven. Your refrigerator is miniature. *Starbucks is ridiculously expensive. *PB&J is always in style. *The European metro system is really good in urban cities. *Train Stations double as malls, don’t get sucked in.
I hope you all get the chance to visit Europe one day. Learn from my mistakes. I promise you will save soooooo much money and time.
I’ve always thought it was ridiculous that our society expects 18 -20 somethings to pick a career path for the rest of their lives. At 18, you barely know who you are. You haven’t had a chance to live life on your own and you most likely haven’t met the people that will influence you most yet.
I’ve come across this problematic expectation many times in the past year or so. Many of my friends are now in their mid-20s and for those who still aren’t sure where they want to go in life, they feel immensely left behind and stuck in rut. It’s so unfortunate that they feel like they aren’t living up to their potential because they haven’t met this ridiculous expectation of having it all figured out.
No one has it all figured out. No one has everything together. Some people are just better at making it look that way.
The only expectation we should have as young people is to continue to make progress and to actively reach for our goals. Sometimes, you find that what you thought you wanted, isn’t for you and that’s ok. There is no life contract binding you to that one choice forever. If you don’t like the career path you choose, change it. If your friends are negative, cut them lose, and if you’re bored in your hometown, move.
I know it is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of courage to change your situation but at the end of day your happiness and fulfillment is worth it. In our lives we will probably change careers many, many times. We will see our lives shift to different chapters on a personal level as well. Don’t feel bad about outgrowing things, choices or people.
So you got a little off track; you’re working at a job you don’t want and that will lead to nowhere. What’s stopping you from going after your dreams? The only person in your way is you. Don’t use bills, children, or other people’s expectation as an excuse to remain unhappy. It is never too late to follow your heart. You want travel, do it. You want to go back to school, go ahead. Change may require some temporary sacrifices but know that the sacrifices are worth the payoff.
Be okay with switching lanes. Sometimes life doesn’t stay on the path we intended. Opportunities sometimes arise in places we never expected. That awful job you have has prepared you for better. That negative relationship has taught you what not to tolerate. Remember that feelings of discomfort and failure are just the catalyst you need to go after better. The rough patches in your life are polishing you up for what you deserve. Do not be afraid to change your life. No one else will do it for you.