How to Make A Healthy Lifestyle Sustainable

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How to Make A Healthy Lifestyle Sustainable Title Card - In the background a women adds salkt to a pot as she cooks a meal. Cooking is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Hello Sweet Friend:

Sure, we all know that a creating a lifestyle that supports our health is kind of a big deal.

But are healthy lifestyles even sustainable?

I mean, nothing lasts forever right? But, since it takes a ton of time and effort to create a routine that makes you feel awesome, is there a way to make it work long term?

Heck yes there is! But it’s not what you might think.

So let’s talk about it sweet friend! Because you definitely deserve a life that makes you feel fan-freaking-tastic. And I’m here to help!

I Talk A Lot About Thriving With Graves Disease

Sara of mshealthesteem.com stands in front of a brick wall smiling. In her arms she holds a pile of fresh vegetables.

And maintaining a healthy lifestyle has a ton to do with that.

I changed everything to best support my well-being. I’ve created a self-care routine that would have baffled me pre-Graves. Trust me, past-Sara was not hitting the yoga mat, meditating or hanging out with tons of veggies. Things changed a lot.

It’s something I’m sure many of you can relate to. Embracing your health leads to a ton of awesome changes. Trying out new self-care activities. Testing new recipes. Eating new vegetables (that was a strange experience. I mean, the first time I tried romanesco was life changing! Food with a fractal pattern… how freaky is that?!)

Related: Working On Awesome Lifestyle Changes? Avoid These 5 Mistakes

A close up of romanesco. Discovering and trying new foods can be a great part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

My healthy lifestyle revamp, coupled with an awesome medical team, allowed me to regain my sense of well-being. I will never look back.

Everyone has the ability to create a healthy lifestyle that makes them feel awesome! But does that work in the long term?

Is Maintaining A Healthy Lifestyle Even Possible

A woman looks up while holding her hand to her chin, as if pondering something.

My honest answer here is yes and no.

I know you’re probably thinking: “Hey… Sara, you kind of have to pick one answer!”

And I feel you! But I can explain!

Yes, a lifestyle that is built on a foundation of self-love and respect is totally sustainable. Because, if you love yourself enough to live in a way that allows you to be well you’ll make choices that help to sustain that.

Personally, feeling good and supporting my well-being are two incredibly important things, and prioritizing that allows me to have the energy and joy needed for all of the other wonders in my life.

Those priorities will not change because they stem from a deep sense of compassion and respect for myself. That’s one of the wonders of self-love baby! You need and deserve that goodness too!

Related: How To Make ‘Self-Partnered’ Your Awesome New Relationship Status

However, even with self-love at the foundation of your healthy lifestyle, the answer is also no. Because change is inevitable.

The State of Your Health Will Never Be Set In Stone

Graves Disease has taught me many things, and a very big part of that lesson is to embrace change. Because change is truly the only constant in life.

I admit that this can be really hard. But in order to create a lifestyle that best supports your well-being you need to embrace change.

It took change to get you here after all. And it’s going to continue to take change to keep it going.

A direction sign points in many different directions.

It’s important to make sure that you aren’t holding on to a lifestyle ideal and instead continue to listen to your body as you grow and your needs change. You will likely have to make tons of adjustments as you go.

A lifestyle that flexes and changes with you is one that’s truly healthy and sustainable.

A Permanent Daily To-DO List Doesn’t Work

Your wellness doesn’t depend on you doing yoga 5 days a week, eating salad once a day, meditating every morning… yes, those are all awesome things. But they’re only truly awesome if they’re working for you. And even if you adore them, they won’t work for you every single day forever.

A flatlay of a paperpad and a sign that says "things to do today." Maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn't about checking off the same to-do list day in and day out.

Some days the healthiest thing you can do for yourself might be resting. It might be avoiding that yoga class and going for a walk instead. Or maybe the usual salad just doesn’t sound right and your body is trying to tell you that it needs something else.

You see what I mean? Yes, lots of activities are great building blocks when it comes to creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But so is flexibility! Flexibility allows you to listen to yourself, respond to your needs and, most importantly, change when you need to.

It’s ok to change. In the long term and in the short term. In fact, it’s necessary. And the only way to create something that’s sustainable is to allow room for all of that change. That’s the real secret to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Related: Struggling To Make Time To Take Care Of Yourself? Do This.

What Happens When You Don’t Let Your Healthy Lifestyle Change With You

A man stands at a fork in the road and stares at his two possible paths.

In short, it stops working for you. And, if it conflicts enough with your needs, it may eventually become a not-so-healthy lifestyle.

I may have a little experience in this area…

When I first set out to do everything in my power to be well, I was overjoyed at the improvements I experienced.

I started to eat in a way that made me feel good. And I created a stellar self-care routine full of good things like daily yoga, meditation, gratitude journaling and more. It all supported my health in such an incredible way.

I was amazed and I was hooked. And who could blame me? After experiencing over a year of poor health and feeling like crap, things were finally starting to look up. Within 6 months of making these changes I hit remission for the first time.

I’d like to note that this was thanks to medical care and self-care. I can never stress enough how important it is to couple those two things together.

Related: 10 Powerful Life Lessons I Learned From Graves Disease

A man jumps from one edge to another. Embracing change is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

In my mind’s eye, I had found the perfect lifestyle for me and it was set in stone. But that idea failed. Miserably.

A year later I relapsed. There were definitely a lot of factors that went into this, but a stressful “self-care” routine wasn’t helping anything!

My life had changed, but I made absolutely no lifestyle adjustments. I was stressed, I was taking on more than I could possibly handle at a new job, and yet I held on to the expectation that I had to achieve every single thing on my self-care list. Every day. No excuses. It was exhausting.

Kind of takes the care out of self-care, doesn’t it? #nothankyou

A woman sits at her kitchen table enjoying a tea.

I pushed myself and I cut myself no slack. I thought that I was doing all the “right” things, but I forgot to be gentle with myself and to reassess and address my changing needs.

When I crashed, I crashed hard and it was a HUGE wake up call. I was being way too stubborn and holding on to something because it had worked so well for me in the past… but I realized that if I wanted this to work long term then I needed to be flexible.

Why am I sharing this?

Because your life changes, your health changes and you change. Constantly. There has to be plenty of room for adjustments in your lifestyle to respond to all of that change.

Final Thoughts

Someone holds out a reusable bag of vegetables

Over the years, I’ve had to make plenty of adjustments. I still eat in a way that makes me feel good, but I’ve been listening to my body and making choices that make sense in the moment.

I continue to do yoga, but if I need a day (or two or three) of rest, I take it.

And I still believe in trying to accomplish what I can every day, but if I need a lazy day that is spent mostly in pajamas, huddled under blankets with a good book then I provide. Because that’s an act of self-care too. Which counts as an accomplishment in my books. The list goes on.

The only thing set in stone is the desire to support my well-being and the love required to make that happen. Everything else falls into place around those ideals.

And that’s exactly what you need when you’re creating or maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

A woman eats a grape while looking at the camera

You deserve a foundation of self love that promotes a desire to care for and protect your well-being (even if it means being flexible sometimes). If your intentions exist from a deep sense of love and respect for yourself, your actions and choices will come from a loving place. And your flexible healthy lifestyle will always have your best interests at heart. Even when your best interests are changing. And that’s truly what it’s all about.

I’ll never claim to have discovered the perfect lifestyle for you to copy; there’s no such thing. The next best thing is one that suits your individual needs and changes and grows with you.

When you’re open to discovering new ways to thrive and making adjustments as needed then you’ve truly created a lifestyle built on self-love and respect. That’s what sustainability looks like. And you really deserve that!

How has your healthy lifestyle grown and changed over time? Have you struggled to embrace this kind of change? Share your goodness with us in the comments below.

Health and love,

sara-signature

Thought of the day: Be patient and kind to yourself.

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Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

Sara Flanagan is a wellness writer and the creator of www.mshealthesteem.com, where she shares her story of being diagnosed with Graves Disease, a chronic autoimmune disease, and empowering herself to do everything she can to thrive in spite of her diagnosis. She writes articles on self-love, acceptance, wellness and nutrition. Join the Health-Esteem Family today and share in the journey.

30 Comments

  1. Reply

    Jane Gammage

    March 13, 2016

    Hi hunny, your words always resonate deeply with me and this post is no exception. My journey started a little after yours and I am still making a lot of the changes I need to make but on the whole my lifestyle and diet changes have been the biggest contributor to my recovery. The one thing I think we all struggle with in this day and age is the simple act of resting; doing nothing and being with ourselves for no other reason than to be kind to ourselves. We are so ‘programmed’ to be busy, working, socialising, doing chores and an endless list of other things, that we have forgotten that we need down time. We all need to remember to take a moment, be kind to ourselves and listen to our bodies. There are always going to be bumps in the road but that is to be expected on any journey – enjoy the ride.
    Love and strength
    Jane
    ajourneywithgraves.wordpress.com

    • Reply

      Sara

      March 23, 2016

      Hello darling! Thank you so much for your kind words! You’re so right – learning to take time for yourself, to be kind to yourself and to rest, is so taboo and strange, but we are all so deserving of it. Your words and beautiful and inspiring. I am so glad you are sharing your journey. ♡

  2. Reply

    Maryann Auger

    May 6, 2020

    Such a wonderful blog post as usual! I love your take on things! A healthy lifestyle and self-care routine have to be flexible and evolve with you! That’s the beauty of listening to your body and listening to what you need physically and mentally, it changes from day to day and overtime too. Thanks for sharing your experience, it’s so needed <3

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      May 9, 2020

      Thank you so much honey! I’m so grateful for your love and support. It means the world <3. And I couldn't agree more - when we listen to ourselves and our bodies we find our own way. And that's what matters. Even if we change directions a bunch as we go :). Big hugs!

  3. Reply

    Bill

    May 6, 2020

    I think this is something that everyone could use, especially now. These past months have been hard on all of us.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      May 9, 2020

      Oh goodness, they absolutely have been Bill! And I think we all need to know that any changes or adjustments we’ve had to make in order to support our well-being through this is perfect! If it makes sense for us, then we’re rocking it!

  4. Reply

    The JOYOUS Living | Influencer (@thejoyousliving)

    May 6, 2020

    I have a chronic lung disease and other autoimmune diseases and have never thought of “embracing” my health. I like it. That would definitely give me a new outlook. Thanks!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      May 9, 2020

      It was definitely a strange and sometimes very difficult transition for me, but so incredibly worth it! I hope it’s lovely and helpful for you too <3 Big hugs! Always here if you ever want to chat with someone who understands 🙂

  5. Reply

    TheSuperMomLife

    May 7, 2020

    I definitely think it’s sustainable. The biggest problem I have is that it’s expensive compared to what we normally buy.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      May 9, 2020

      That can absolutely be a big change! There are ways to save, but it’s certainly a very different experience and it all depends on what you have access to as well. I’ll have to write a post on ways to save :). Thank you for the inspiration!

  6. Reply

    Ann

    May 7, 2020

    You have some good tips for sure, my problem has always been to keep the healtier lifestyle. I seem to be a winner at quitting that 😀

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      May 9, 2020

      I hope that allowing room for change and flexibility helps you create something more lasting and fun. It can be hard to create something sustainable, but I think that when we allow ourselves to create something with space for change, growth and things that make sense for us it works a lot better in the long run <3. I hope that helps bunches!

  7. Reply

    Warp Speed Odyssey

    May 7, 2020

    I think that the healthier your life style the better. But i’m so good at it. Seems like the doritos are just so hard to quit.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      May 9, 2020

      There’s no one size fits all. If you’ve created a balance that makes sense and works for you (and makes you feel good) and Doritos are part of that balance, that’s ok! 🙂

  8. Reply

    Nilakshi

    May 7, 2020

    I am trying hard to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. Your post helped me a lot.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      May 9, 2020

      I’m so glad to hear that Nilakshi! There is always room for flexibility and change. I think it’s important that whatever lifestyle we create makes sense and is joyful for us! 🙂 Thank you bunches for sharing your experiences with us <3

  9. Reply

    forkwardthinkingfoodinista

    May 7, 2020

    It certainly has been a strange time. I always try and eat as healthy as I can and will continue to do so xx

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      May 9, 2020

      All we can ever do is our best. And that changes day by day. Especially in these strange times! I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself in a way that makes sense for you <3

  10. Reply

    Sarah Meh

    May 8, 2020

    Thanx for sharing the informative post. Adopting a health life style is must for both physical and mental health but the main thing is to maintain it.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      May 9, 2020

      I couldn’t agree more Sarah! I think it’s so important that we know that maintenance can include tons of flexibility and change when necessary. It truly makes things so much more sustainable! Thank you tons for sharing your lovely thoughts with us 🙂

  11. Reply

    emman damian

    May 9, 2020

    I think it is possible. This post is a great reminder for all of us especially during these challenging times. I’ll share this to my close friends!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      May 9, 2020

      I’m so glad this spoke to you Emman! I think it’s so important that we know that it’s ok if our lifestyle flexes and changes with us. In fact, it’s really necessary and the only way to sustain it in the long term <3. We deserve tons of room for change!

      I hope you are doing well 🙂

  12. Reply

    katrina Kroeplin

    May 9, 2020

    health is so important and self care is part of that. self care if part of our mental health. i know when i do even the smallest self care i feel better.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      May 9, 2020

      Heck yes! I love everything about this Katrina! Self-care is so important. And there is truly no health without mental health. It’s so important we take care of ourselves in whatever way makes the most sense for us. We deserve self-care <3

  13. Reply

    RHT_Stephen

    May 9, 2020

    This lockdown is making living healthly a challenge, but If I can do it now I’m sure I can when everything goes back to normal

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      May 9, 2020

      I can absolutely appreciate that Rose! I’ve had to make changes and adjustments and have struggled too. That’s why I wrote this – to remind all of us that it’s ok if our lifestyle needs to change and be flexible. That’s really the only way to make it work long term. So whatever is working now is ok! If you’re supporting your well-being in a way that makes sense for you at this moment, you’re rocking it <3. And when this is all over, you can figure out what will work for you then. Big hugs!

  14. Reply

    Jessica Collazo

    May 11, 2020

    I think that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is just a matter of choice of thinking before eating of thinking before eating out and thinking about the way you are improving. And maybe you are not in your ideal goal but you are not where you were first started.

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