Being Consistent In Your Wellness Practices

  

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.

– Imani

  

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Barcelona, I love you

Paella.  Very common spanish cuisine.
Paella. Very common spanish cuisine.

Of the five European cities I’ve visited so far, Barcelona is hands down my favorite city. It has a culture about it that is very different than the other European cities I visited. It is festive, a constant celebration. It’s a city full of hustlers and the political history of this city runs rampant.  There is so much to do in Barcelona and so many people to meet. It’s an excellent place for travelers. Travelers in Barcelona have an agreed upon bond. When you embark on a journey in this city, you can never be alone, you have a traveler’s family.

Laughing in Spain
Laughing in Spain

“I am in love with [Barcelona]. Probably more than Paris. Barcelona has so many hidden beauties in all of its nooks and crannies. It is seriously like a concrete old world maze. The architecture is typical Europe but with more gothic finishes than you could image. It’s so urban and so festive. If I could live in a European city it would be Barcelona. The entire city is filled with old world charm. The city is built upon war, blood and corruption and the evidence of the differences in political views are everywhere. Even still there is something so mesmerizing about this place…” –excerpt of my journal while there.

City view in the Parc de Guille
City view in the Parc de Guille

Where I Stayed:

I stayed in a hostel called Equity Point Gothic. Equity Point has numerous hostels throughout Europe (The US also) and three in Barcelona. I highly recommend staying in Equity Point Gothic. It was a great location and a great hostel for young people travelling. The hostile itself is very clean. You get a complimentary breakfast (if you get up early enough). They provide you with clean linen and there are lockers for your belongings. You can choose to stay in large rooms by sex, mixed rooms or pay more for more private rooms. A lot of people use Air BnB in Barcelona and this is a great option as well. However, I think hostiles such as Equity Point allow you to meet and interact with other travelers much better. I also highly recommend storing some of the fruit and breakfast foods in your bag for snacking later in the day. Because we were in such a great location, we hardly used public transit. Location is everything, so do your research on where you are staying.

http://www.equity-point.com/our-hostels/gothic-point-hostel/general-information.html 

Catalonian musician
Catalonian musician

What I Did:

I did pretty much everything. I’m not big on the travel guidebooks. I find them to have too much fluff and they aren’t always current. Instead I used Google and Trip Advisor. I literally googled “Things to do in Barcelona”. Google will provide pictures of popular locations and activities at the top of your search. Trip Advisor provides you with prices, reviews and current hours. From these two methods, I found myself in the Parc de Guille, Sagrada Familia, Museu Picasso (museum), Santa Maria del Mar (catholic church), Casa Batllo and more. (Bring a student ID. Barcelona has student prices for pretty much everything).

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My first day in Barcelona, I went on a walking tour recommended by the front desk agent at my hostel. Walking tours are great. They are tip based, so it’s really affordable and because you are walking, you get to see more and you have more time to take pictures in front of sites. It was also a really great way to get to know other travelers. Through this tour and my awesome tour guide, I learned about Catalunya and Barcelona’s history. I was so amazed to see how few people in Barcelona/Catalunya identified as Spanish. There are Catalunyan flags hanging everywhere! We did the two hour tour, so I couldn’t begin to tell you everything I saw. There is also a strong Jewish history here, take a stroll through the Jewish Quarters and learn about their exile.

Again, I highly recommend being friendly with other travelers. Through word of mouth, I learned about an awesome Flamenco dance show, great restaurants, and received directions to the beach. There are so many hidden gems here, so be sure to talk to some strangers.

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What to Watch Out For:

Barcelona is a city full of hustlers. Watch your shit! It is the pick pocketing capital of Europe. I know so many people who have been pick pocketed while there. Ladies, I highly recommend you use bags with longer, thicker straps that you can wear across your bodies. Keep the bag in the front. Guys, I also recommend you invest in a nice man bag or a shoulder backpack that you can keep in front. Traditional bookbags can easily be stolen from so I don’t recommend their use. Also, do not carry all of your cash in one place. I recommend having a smaller amount in one place for use so that you aren’t pulling out large wads of cash. Barcelona hustlers are always watching, so be careful.

beach babes
beach babes

Also, there are a lot of street vendors. This is normal in Europe however, DO NOT BUY ALCHOLIC DRINKS FROM STREET VENDERS. It is illegal and unsafe. It is not uncommon for there to dangerous ingredients in these drinks. On the beaches, it will seem like its ok because there are so many and they have a legitimate looking set up but it is still not safe and still illegal. Buy your drinks from restaurants or shops only.

Also if you go to the Parc de Guille, do not be shocked if the loads of park vendors disappear at the sight of a cop. Buy from them while you can because they may be gone when you get back.

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There is so much more I could say about Barcelona and its treasures but I will stop here. At a later date, I can review some of the places I visited in depth. I will say that the top three places/activities I did in Barcelona were: The Parc de Guille, the walking tour and the flamenco show!

I hope this helps for those who are considering going to Barcelona. Feel free to comment with questions or your own Spanish stories.

-Imani

Life is a Journey

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It can be difficult to accept that our plans may not always workout.  It is even more difficult when accepting that your plans and goals for yourself are not in line with the purpose God has for you.

I am a notorious planner.  I like things to go as I planned and I like things to make sense but sometimes things don’t make sense.  Sometimes you have a calling for something you may not have foreseen.  It happens this way for most us.  Most of us fall into talents and opportunities we didn’t expect.  Not saying we didn’t work to earn this opportunity but we just didn’t plan for it.

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I am learning, like most of you, that it is ok to go with the flow.  It’s ok to fall in love with something that is outside of our plans.  Planning and goals can be good.  It makes us feel comfortable, it’s a great way to make sure you are always doing your best, but sometimes we have to let go of the plan.  I have a difficult time doing this but life is so much easier when you accept what is.

In the past two years, none of my original plans have worked out.  Not one.  There were so many points where this absolutely crushed me, or so I thought.  However, life has really played out in my favor.  In two years, I have managed to do quite a bit of traveling both domestically and internationally (though I would LOVE to do more).  I’ve strengthened friendships and built new ones.  I’ve grown so much closer to my family; immediate and extended.  I’ve found a love for running (my first half marathon is in a week).  I’ve had a slew of jobs, none of which were Ideal but I’ve learned a lot about my strengths, gifts, weaknesses and what I don’t want in a career.  I also earned another degree (MA in International Relations) along the way.

Last day as a Masters Student
Last day as a Masters Student

So no, nothing happened the way I wanted but thus far I feel pretty accomplished in most areas of life.  I will continue to plan because that is just who I am.  I’m sure there will be another time that I will be disappointed when they don’t work out.  However, I won’t let that disappointment crush me and I will be ok with what is.  Life is a journey and it is meant to be explored.  There will always be trials and errors but the best results will always come.

I would change absolutely nothing about my life or my experiences because they have made me who I am.  I like me and I hope you like and love the person you are and are becoming.

Enjoy the ride.

-Imani

s/o to instagram for the meme
s/o to instagram for the meme