The Bible begins with a grand introduction to the planet we live on.
But the first two chapters of Genesis outline more than the beginning of a universe. They contain the basis for a healthy life and healthy relationships.
Using the acronym CREATION, eight simple steps to a better life are found tucked into those two chapters, as well as the rest of Scripture. As Jesus said, “I have come that [you] may have life” (John 10:10).
Each choice we make may seem insignificant at the time, but it could determine our health and happiness in the long run. While we are young, we strive to make choices, even beg to choose for ourselves. The idea of choice is exhilarating and exciting—then we grow up and realise choices come with consequences and burdens.
Many choices keep us up at night considering the multiple outcomes, contingency plans, financial implications, time factors and much more. We wonder if this choice is selfish, how it will affect those we love and how exactly we will make it through.
One of the most important aspects to consider when it comes to choices, is the peace of mind that comes when the options have been considered and a decision has been made. Focus on that peace, reminding yourself that things may get difficult, but in the big picture you have peace and the right choice has been made.
Sleep doesn’t always come easily.
But rest isn’t just about sleep. Rest is a pause in an overfilled day, such as sitting on a park bench and watching the ducks or going to a cafe with friends.
Rest happens in moments of madness when you willingly allow yourself to slow down and appreciate where you are and what you are doing.
In the busiest of times, rest is hard to come by. Assignments are due, work needs you, the house is messy, your spouse is busy, the children are tired and hungry, and you have so much to do you don’t know where to begin.
Stop, breathe and attend to those who need you first. Don’t allow yourself to stay so focused on the doing that you neglect feeling and responding.
Rest is a choice you will have to make personally. Don’t wait until your body makes you stop or slow down.
The best way to address sleep is to get it! Getting the rest your body and mind deserve may be difficult—it may mean missing your favourite TV show, skipping a social engagement or just going to bed earlier.
Organise yourself, your day and your schedule—take control of your life and then go for it! Rest equals calm, calm equals peace, peace equals a more productive and successful life.
Our environment—the place where we spend most of our time—is incredibly important. Yet many people refuse to admit the role their surroundings play in their wellbeing. One’s environment can be turned upside down in a matter of moments—from peaceful to panicked, from quiet to noisy and from organised to chaotic.
The place where you spend the most time must be a place where you love to be and feel comfortable and safe. Our lives are a jumble of overlapping environments that don’t easily fit together.
Unfortunately, you are often the one to hold them together, attempting to create a seamless union between unmatched fabrics.
Take whatever small steps possible to acknowledge and address each environment that fills your life. If the car’s dirty, clean it. If the kitchen is messy, make a roster for dishwashing, if possible. And if you don’t have a place to quietly reflect or study, create such a space.
One of the first things to go when you’re busy is activity. It’s so easy to give 100 per cent to everything and forget about ourselves and our need for daily physical activity. Don’t make this mistake, as the consequences may follow you for a long time.
The first reaction, though, is to say, “I don’t have time!” And you are probably right. But daily activity doesn’t mean you have to join a gym. The “experts” advise that 10,000 steps a day is a great way to get on the road to better health. Get a pedometer and start counting those steps— you’ll be surprised at how many you do! Walk whenever possible, using the time to relax if necessary. Exercise is a great way to relax and let your body burn off some of the stress and frustration that comes with living.
When life gets tough, whom do you trust? Probably yourself to make good decisions, those you love to support you and maybe God to protect you. Trust is something that slowly grows to maturity, yet can be lost in only a second. Hard to give when not received, one must also trust to be trusted.
An important aspect of trust depends on whom you trust. Those who live a life of faith tend to live happier lives! Put your trust in God, and trust becomes an easier aspect of your everyday life.
There is so much to be said about trust, but the most important thing is to trust yourself and the choices you’ve made. One could continually second- guess, rethink, contemplate and examine how you got where you are— instead of just being thankful for the journey and focusing on the present.
Trust Someone greater than you to have the big picture under control.
Our lives weave in and out of the lives and journeys of others in such a way that it can be difficult to know where that influence begins and ends.
Regardless of how closely connected we think we are, family, friends and acquaintances are deeply connected to our feelings of success, accomplishments, stress, frustrations and complete exhaustion.
To stay well rounded, take time out to be with the people who love, encourage and sometimes frustrate you! Have family dinner at least once a week—or whenever it works for everyone; meet friends for lunch or a walk around the park; phone a friend or family member just to talk; and be open to all the wonderful, unexpected moments of happiness that being human and having family brings! Build healthy connections and you will have more than great friends; you will have family!
Did you know the way you think about what you see is more important than what you actually see? It’s more important to have a possitive perspective than to sink into the sometimes unhappy and unhealthy reality around us. That’s not to say you should be in denial of reality—please, be aware of it and involved in it—but your attitude is the key.
Make a quick mental checklist of what you see, think and feel when you hear the words family, time, money, holiday, study and grace. Did you think of faces—people who love you and are cheering for you to succeed? Did you feel the quickening of your pulse as you thought about time you have wasted and time you have used wisely? Did you pause and smile at the unimportance of things you have thought to be so crucial in times past? Keeping the right perspective is incredibly important.
Outlook is how you decide to see the world in which you live. You can choose to worry about every aspect of your life—which will lead to stress and illness (studies prove this)—or choose to be thankful, put a smile on your face and find the best in what comes your way. Your outlook means being aware but not settled, involved but not satisfied. We often ask, “Is the glass half-empty or half-full?” when the best thing is to say it’s got something in it to start with—and that’s fantastic!
Your body is just as important as your brain, so what you eat and drink are significant. When balancing a diversity of things—family, work, study and other commitments—one must remember that nourishment may mean the difference between success and failure. The choices you make about your diet have a huge impact on your overall wellbeing— more than you probably thought! Take a moment to think about how you’ve eaten today. Did you eat breakfast? How much caffeine are you drinking in a day? Are you doing all you can to get several fruit and vegetable servings in your meals? Working toward a healthy diet doesn’t mean changing your eating habits just in one day. More importantly, it means adding a piece of fruit to breakfast, a vegetable to lunch, starting your day with a glass of water and carrying a water bottle with you throughout the day. Small changes to your diet slowly lead to a more balanced diet.
Unfortunately, we don’t always think of eating. You may not always feel the hunger, but your brain will work slower, your temper will react quicker and your alertness will dwindle. Nutrition is purposeful and takes time—but the benefits are astounding, exhilarating and important.