We all want a better quality of life and there are simple steps to get there and enjoy every moment along the way.
Intentional living is all about improving your quality of life! It's doing what you want with your life and doing it on purpose. Here I'll share with you some of the very best ways I've learned to improve my life and I hope they improve yours as well.
What Does Quality of Life Mean?
Quality of life is how enjoyable and fulfilled you feel in your life! It is very subjective and really depends on your attitude. No matter your circumstances, you can always make changes to increase your enjoyment and fulfillment in everyday life! You are in charge.
Quality of Life Vs. Standard of Living
This can be very confusing to think about since the concepts are so similar!
Quality of life is more a measure of a person's happiness and overall wellbeing, while standard of living is a measure of their circumstances (financial situation, comforts, material possessions, etc). Quality of life is harder to assess since it's measured by more abstract aspects of life, while standard of living is measured by very tangible things.
Standard of living is definitely a factor that contributes to quality of life, though.
Why Improve Quality of Life?
Um... is this even a question? I'm pretty sure I don't know anyone that doesn't want a better life. There are people that are unwilling to work for it, but I think we all want it. If you work on attaining a better quality of life, you'll get more done, have better experiences, a better social life and overall be satisfied with your life.
How to Improve Quality of Life
Learn to Be Intentional
This is why you are here. You want to make the most of your life by making deliberate choices. If you can think through your decisions and make them with a clear mind and the right perspective, you are going to be happier. This will allow you to live how you truly want to live- learning, working, creating and playing the way that fulfills you! Going through the motions of life just to get by will most certainly lead to regret. Live with intention every day!
Get Enough Sleep
No brainer, I know. We all know it's important, why is it so hard to do it?
Possibly because we live in a society with such a strong "go, go, go!" mindset, that we feel it's more important to get things done than sleep. Or we've been going all day and just want some time to unwind by watching a few shows.
It's recommended that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night. This is as important as drinking water, eating healthy foods and exercising, so we need to make it a priority. Remember that to have the best quality of life, you need to have energy, be aware and healthy. Sleep is critical for this!
Better Sleep Tips
- Avoid looking at screens for at least 1 hour before going to bed (or use blue light glasses). The light from the screen signals to your brain that its daytime/time to be awake, so it can be difficult to fall asleep if you go to bed after watching TV or looking at your phone.
- Doing some yoga, stretching or intentional deep breathing, even if only for 5 minutes, is the best way to wind yourself down right before bed. If you're a go-getter and have been running around being productive all day, it's really helpful to take a moment to catch your breath and physically relax before trying to sleep. If I don't do this, I find myself in bed thinking, "Okay, come on, time to sleep!" and it's almost as if I'm trying to get it done so I can check it off my list! Never leads to a great sleep.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This helps your body know what to expect and your sleep cycles won't be thrown off, leading to poor quality sleep and possible chronic health problems!
- Exercise during the morning or afternoon. This can help you fall asleep faster and have better quality sleep!
Move Your Body
It feels so good to hike to the top of a mountain. This is one of those experiences that always makes me feel alive. I want to be able to climb mountains for the rest of my life, because it contributes to my happiness! But if I don't get my body moving everyday, I won't be able to keep up the hiking.
Even you don't care about climbing mountains, exercise, or any form of moving your body, will 100% improve your quality of life. You'll be capable of so much more physically, but also enjoy benefits to your emotional and mental health, as well as your immune system! The less you get sick, the better the quality of your life!
Tips to Move Your Body
- Choose movement you actually enjoy! It doesn't have to be whatever you imagine when you think of exercise, like a long run or hitting the gym. Dance, play a sport, go for a walk, play in the yard with your kids, take kickboxing or jiu-jitsu classes. Heck, cleaning your house can even get your heart pumping! Just move.
- Start where you are. Don't jump into doing 60 minute workouts when you haven't been doing anything. Set a reasonable goal that will be EASY to achieve, like a 10 minute walk around the block. After giving birth, I committed to following a 10 minute yoga video on Youtube every morning. It was easy to do and quite enjoyable. Eventually, I felt ready to level up! You can always work up to a higher intensity but just focus on solidifying the habit first. This is a great way to make it stick!
Fuel Your Body
Food and water. Without it, we wouldn't survive. With high quality real food and water, we can actually thrive, and not just survive.
I know you've heard it before. "Your body is made of 60% water!" Water is essential in everything that happens within the body, from metabolizing food to flushing waste to keeping things lubricated to building new cells. It gives you energy, helps your brain function, prevents headaches and can assist with weight loss. All these things will drastically improve your quality of life.
Many of us are using water that's been highly treated and is full of nasty things. I use a Berkey water filter, which gets nearly everything you could think of, that's bad for you, out of the water. It's better to drink tap water than none at all but invest in a good filter as soon as you can.
What you eat is what you are, so choose whole food recipes, avoiding processed and refined products and ingredients. This will help you feel better now and work towards long-term physical health. I have plenty of delicious recipes that you can try if you're not sure where to start. Look for those here.
Tips to Fuel Your Body
- Choose water as your go-to drink. Make drinking water a part of your daily routine
- Make your food from scratch. You don't need to do this all at once, but just start!
- Meal planning and shopping with a list is a simple way to avoid impulse purchasing junk food
- Learn all the benefits of healthy eating to help you stay the course and remember why you're doing it
Groom and Dress Yourself
There's no question that there's a difference in mood and feeling from when you are well groomed and well dressed to when you haven't washed your face, or brushed your teeth and are still in pyjamas. Commit to get ready every morning, even if you aren't going out that day. It doesn't have to be fancy, but put yourself together. It will lift your mood, help you be productive and get the most out of your day.
Spend Quality Time With Family and Friends
Having strong relationships with family members and friends is one of the great joys of life. You will feel more connected and fulfilled if you make your relationships a priority. If this is hard for your to do, schedule time out to spend with loved ones. Even a 20 minute phone or video call! Life is busy, but when you put first what is most important, you'll have a good quality of life.
Do Things That Interest & Excite You
If you go through your days merely eating, cleaning, doing laundry, working and sleeping, your life isn't going to be very fun. You can drastically improve your quality of life by allowing yourself free time to figure out your interests and dive into them! Don't be afraid to try new things. Life is about learning and experiencing.
I never, in a million years, would have thought I would be interested in blogging. I have never considered myself a "writer". But I am interested in healthy eating, natural living and intentional living and figured out I wanted to share my recipes and tips on these subjects! Turns out I like blogging, but I wouldn't have known it without trying. Find a hobby or two (or more!) that get you excited and make you feel alive.
Pick One Thing at a Time to Work on
It's overwhelming at times to think about all the things we want to improve on. The key to success in making positive changes and gaining new habits is going in small steps. Sometimes these steps are so small, it doesn't feel like they're getting us anywhere. But they are! One step leads to the next step, then to the next. Trust that even if you improve just a tiny amount today, that is enough. Be satisfied with progress, not just reaching your end goals. If you are, you will always be satisfied with your life as you work towards improving.
Sometimes life is hard and it is difficult to be happy in certain circumstances. But remember, you are in control of your thoughts and feelings. You have the power to appreciate the good things in the best times and even in the midst of terrible times. There are always good things, even if they are very small things. And when we recognize the blessings in our lives, we are always happier. ALWAYS!
No matter your situation I believe gratitude = good overall quality of life.
Find Joy in the Mundane Tasks
There are tasks in our daily lives that just must be done over and over and over. The dishes, the laundry, the sweeping, the wiping, the mopping, the vacuuming, the list is endless. Imagine how much better your life could be if you were able to find enjoyment in these tasks, rather than dreading them. They aren't going away, so you may as well get over yourself and figure out how to get them done without complaining! Master appreciation of little things and you will live a good life.
Tips for Enjoying the Mundane Parts of Life
- Listen to music, podcasts (educational or entertaining) or audiobooks. The time will fly and you'll learn something or have a good laugh!
- Get it done first thing in the morning. You'll feel so happy to have your task done and it won't be looming over you all day. You'll be free to do the things you'd rather do!
- Just accept the fact that you'll be doing these things the rest of your life and be okay with that
- Appreciate the completion of the task. How does your room look? How do you feel now that you've accomplished it?
- Know that your efforts in the mundane things are contributing to building a happy and healthy home
- Remember that your kids are watching you... if you enjoy these little tasks without complaint, they'll likely grow up to be the same and will help you- no nagging necessary!
- Just smile and you'll feel instantly better!
There are many simple things you can do now to improve your quality of life. This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways to do that. The important takeaway from this is to pick something and just start! Life is too short to lollygag on your journey to happiness and fulfillment.
What are other great ways to improve quality of life? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!