The SOVA Project is happy to feature this blog post written by one in our team of fantastic SOVA Ambassadors—these are young people who help create meaningful blog posts from adolescents’ perspectives. We hope you can use their post to start a conversation with your adolescent.
I have always struggled with health and wellness, from now to even as a little kid. I have tried every diet in the book, every workout, every tip, you name it; but still, nothing works. I notice that I do have discipline in other aspects of my life such as personal finance to save money, but lack that discipline when it comes to my personal health.
During college, I noticed that I have turned more sluggish than when I was in high school, fine-tuning my food diet, and also lack in drinking water. My personal goal is to just live a general healthier lifestyle. The following are a few things I’m trying in order to achieve that.
I have never been vegetarian or vegan, but have always admired the cooking that both groups did. I come from a family that loves carbs and meat, and big quantities of food. I never really was a snack eater, and never really ate “junk” food. I watched recently the documentary Game Changers on Netflix that debunks plant-based eating and the health benefits from it. This automatically made me have a light bulb moment where I decided that I would try a version of plant-based eating (but not hardcore cold turkey). I have tried my version of plant-based eating for about 2 months now, and it has improved my health in not only weight, but also energy levels, and endurance. Since I live at home with family, I made a rule to just not be causing my family extra groceries, so for me I chose to still eat certain dairy products and fish in limiting amounts (I barely ate these food groups to begin with). If you watch Game Changers, it talks about the science of why veganism and vegetarian is just so much better for our bodies, and I can totally confirm how helpful just cutting out meat was for me.
I have a horrible time with drinking enough water. I started to use the FitBit app to start tracking just my water intake. I think the best piece of advice I have is that water is so important to make you have more energy, but also purify your body so to say. When you drink beverages other than water, they are definitely more delicious, but I guess water just overall makes me feel better wellness wise. I am a huge coffee drinker, so I usually get up every morning and start drinking coffee, and then could go until like 11pm until I finally had my first drink of water (which is horrible, I know). I started to drink one glass of water every morning before the coffee, and seriously just that caused me to want more water throughout the day. This got my daily water intake from literally 16oz of water to about 80oz within the timespan of only two months. The tracker is definitely helpful to track progress and is super motivating to see the numbers in front of you and how you feel different based off just something like a few glasses of water.
I used to be insanely active in high school because of cheerleading. When I started college, I lost that and turned pretty sluggish by not having that dedicated time for practice or workouts. I actually got the Freshman 15 (let me tell you that it is real). I always had a hard time sticking with the fitness regimes between the gym equipment, or home workouts. I started to try out different fitness classes to see what worked for me. I tried HIIT classes at my community center, yoga, cycling, and even Burn Boot Camp. Trying out these different classes were 1. fun to get back in the workout mode, 2. helped me see what I liked and disliked, and 3. made me get so much more energy in my day.
I majorly struggle with mental health between relationship stress, school/work stress, and even personal stress that I just get of myself. This pandemic has made things incredibly tough on me mentally, so I missed having an outlet. I tried a lot of different things to try and relieve stress like adult coloring books and journaling, but what ended up working out the best was actually just walking. I started to go for walks a few times a week with my mom and we would just walk for about 45 minutes to an hour during our lunch break, or after work. We would walk, talk, and sometimes just walk in silence. This was both good exercise, and also a way to clear our minds in nature. It was great to have my mom to talk to and bond over our walks, but also talk about everything on our minds. I do go bike riding by myself and use that as an outlet as well and it helps in the same way. I have friends that do this with a treadmill, walking their dog, and even yoga.
I think it is important overall to work towards a healthy and maintainable lifestyle for yourself the more we get older. A healthy lifestyle is crucial to a lot of health determinants that can affect our day to day lives – especially mental health across the board. My ending point, is to just do a self check-in to see where you currently and where you want to be. Making a small change will make a ripple affect across other areas of your life, and the main key is that we just need progress in our lives to continuously be improving and being a better version of ourselves.
Have you made any lifestyle changes during quarantine for your physical and mental health? What are things that you want to incorporate to have a healthier lifestyle? Would you do this with your child?