How To Make Value Based Life Decisions

How to make value based life decisions

How to make value based life decisions

When it is time to make necessary life decisions it is important to make value based ones. Whether it is changing careers, changing your diet or implementing a new exercise routine, value based decisions will ensure that you are doing what is best for your overall happiness and satisfaction.

If you are struggling to make healthy new habits stick, getting clear on your values is the first step. Prioritizing those values is the next step and then living in alignment with those values is the final step.

So let’s start at the beginning.  By answering these questions honestly we can start to find out what are values are.

What is truly important to you?

What do you believe in or feel strongly about?

What inspires you?

What makes you happy?

What makes you fulfilled?

When have you felt the proudest? Why?

What makes you sad or angry?

When do you most feel like yourself?

When do you not feel like yourself?

Do you often have feelings of regret or longing? In what context?

Do other people know what you stand for?

Do you “stick to your guns” or follow the pack?

Now let’s take it a step further and get really specific on how you are currently making life decisions.

How do you spend your time?

– How much time do you spend each day on work, self-care, your social life     and with your family?

– Are you happy with those percentages? Why or why not?

What do you spend your money on?

– How much of it is on experiences and how much of it is on material         things?

– Which ones make you feel more fulfilled?

What do you eat?

– When you make food choices is the source more important or is cost? Why?

– How do you feel physically and mentally after you eat? Do you see any patterns with the types of food you are eating and how you feel afterward?

– How much time do you spend on sourcing, cooking and enjoying your food?

Are you happy at work?

– Why or why not?

– What about it could be better?

– How do you feel when you explain to others what you do for a living?

How is the quality of your relationships?

– How much time do you invest in them?

– Do you have many friends or just a few and why?

How much thought or care do you put into your appearance?

– Why? What is the outcome?

– How do you want others to perceive you? (Think about first impressions.)

And what about balance?

Often times when you are thriving in one part of your life you are not doing so well in another. This may be because you are avoiding certain areas of your life or believing a story that you do not have time for them. Balance is about self-diversification. Investing time in all of the areas of life that you value. Give yourself a reality check. How much time are you actually really spending in all of the areas of your life that you care about.

How to tell if you are being true to your values.

Do your values make you feel internally rewarded or is your reward coming from an external validation? Determine your values based on what makes you happy, proud and fulfilled.

Prioritize your values.

The phrase “I don’t have time” is often associated with things that are not at the top of our list of priorities. Everyone has the same amount of hours in a day. The way you spend those hours is a personal choice.

When setting priorities ask yourself what is really true.

Are you working so many hours that you don’t have enough time for self-care? What would happen if you worked one less hour each day? Would you get fired from your job?

Is picking up take out instead of spending 10 minutes preparing your lunch at home before leaving for work actually saving you time?

Sometimes a simple act of re-organizing your schedule is enough to make time in your life for the things that you want to prioritize. If they truly are indeed a priority.

Living in alignment with your values.

When you are aligned with your values you enable yourself to live a happier more satisfied life. You are able to make clearer life decisions such as what job you should take, how to spend your time and who to spend your time with.

Although your own personal values may change over time, checking in on them and continuously prioritizing them can enable you to live a more balanced life and make healthy habits stick.

Values guide us to make clear life decisions with confidence and make time for the things that are important to us.

So what are yours?

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

It’s OK To Sleep

When did we start thinking that it’s uncool or lazy to rest and get a full nights sleep? I think the term “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” frankly, sucks.

Whenever I am under a large amount of stress or partying hard on vacation I get sick. And I usually stay sick because of one reason, I don’t have time to rest.

I can drink all the green tea with lemon, take all the Chinese herbs and vitamin C but if I don’t get enough rest my body refuses to get better. And why is that? Because getting good sleep is one of the MOST important things for your health.

Why getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night matters. You can exercise everyday and eat clean until you are blue in the face but if you aren’t getting enough good sleep you’re health is never going to be optimal.

Our circadian rhythm plays an essential role to our health. These rhythms, driven by our internal body clock, are the way our body reacts to light and dark (or day and night). They are on a 24 hour cycle and are completely thrown off when out of synch with environmental cues.

Simply put when you don’t have a healthy sleep routine it throws your circadian rhythm off and can impair your health and well-being.

So, how can it impair your health?

There are many things that are affected by having an irregular circadian rhythm…

  • Hormone release – Disrupting hormones like insulin, cortisol, leptin and ghrelin makes it harder to sleep at night, throws off your appetite making it harder to tell when you are full,  messes with your blood sugar,  and inhibits the ability to regenerate new cell tissue.
  • Body temperature  
  • Energy level  
  • Your immune system – Lack of time to repair and rebuild cell tissues inhibits your body’s ability to heal.
  • The speed in which you age – If your cell tissues are not regenerating than you are aging at a faster rate.
  • Metabolism – Not getting consistant good sleep has been linked to weight gain and not being able to lose weight.

Getting on a normal sleep routine can be challenging but ultimately can be pretty easy to maintain. It all boils down to habits. Do you have good ones or bad ones when it comes to bedtime?

10 tips to getting a good nights sleep:

  1. Don’t eat 2-3 hours before bedtime. Your body needs to be resting not digesting when it hits the bed.
  2. Remove all electronics from the bedroom. Yes that means the T..V and yes that especially means your joined at the hip cell phone.
  3. Take a warm epsom salt bath before going to bed. This will put your body in a deep state of relaxation primed for a good nights sleep.
  4. Meditate. Meditation will slow your mind down and get you breathing deeper, both essential to getting to sleep faster.
  5. Avoid caffeine after noon. It takes a very long time to rid the body of caffeine. Around lunchtime start thinking of ways to gradually start winding the body back down instead of amping it back up again.
  6. Exercise regularly. Having a daily physical activity of at least 30 minutes can help balance your circadian rhythm getting your body on a better sleep routine.
  7. Have the bedroom at the perfect temperature. Being too hot or too cold has been linked to poor sleep regulation.
  8. Avoid refined sugar and carbs at dinner time. These can spike blood sugar putting your hormones into overdrive making it harder for you to fall asleep and harder for your cell tissues to rest and regenerate while sleeping.
  9. Dim the lights in the evening. Bright lights tell the body it’s daytime and to stay awake. By turning down the lights as the sun sets your body starts to make more melatonin which will make you sleepy.
  10. Get on a sleep schedule, even on weekends. Consistency helps the body to know when to automatically shut down every night. If you are going to bed and waking up at different times everyday the body gets confused and it can be harder to fall asleep at your desired time.

What can you do to get better sleep? What are you doing already that works? If you have a fool proof plan I would love to hear it in the comments section below.

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.