As spring approaches, so does the promise of a fresh start. For many of us, that means taking on the challenge of self improvement and adopting new ways to help us be our best. We asked Coronadans what habits they feel contribute to a healthy, happy life.
“Maxed out, overworked people are neither happy nor healthy. There are no celebrations of ‘most stressed.’ Coronado High School has focused on teaching our students mindfulness and balance as part of a healthy life the last few years. But balance doesn’t mean finding a way to do all the things available to you. In my experience, students find the most success when they make a habit of choosing which options are most suited to helping them reach their goals and making them happy, and saying no to the options that don’t.” ~ Heather Bice, high school English teacher
“Willpower is a limited resource. If we exhaust our willpower, we exhaust the mental muscles needed to inhibit our impulses and persist in the face of frustration or failure. That’s why, when it comes to adopting lifelong healthy habits, small steps are more effective in the pursuit of permanent change.” ~ Wendy Kranz, life coach
“Make it a habit to have fun! Change up the routine; be spontaneous. Find opportunities to laugh and be playful and enjoy time with friends and family. Eating and sleeping well are important, but don’t forget how fundamentally important fun is for self-care. When you take care of yourself, you’re giving the best version of you to others, so it’s a win-win.” ~ Emily Kierce, Psy. D.
“Years ago I was living with chronic back pain and fatigue. I’d seen doctors, chiropractors and physical therapists, but no one could seem to ‘fix’ me. I sort of felt these things were my ‘normal.’ It wasn’t until I eliminated certain foods that I found significant relief — and had so much more energy. Now, when clients come to me to establish the best eating habits for their personal health, we aim to discover their ‘big why’ (which health goals are most important to them) and their ‘food truth’ (which foods help versus hinder their goals). Significantly changing your diet can be difficult, but when the changes are effective at making you feel your best, they become easier to adopt as habit.” ~ Jennifer Geiss, certified holistic health coach
“We’ve made a habit of philanthropy, hoping to inspire others to give of their time and financial contributions and encouraging the next generation to change the world. Giving makes us healthier just by the joy we get in making a difference.” ~ Dr. Joe Mullins
“Understanding the significance of bacteria living in our digestive track — the microbiome -— has been the greatest medical advance since the discovery of penicillin. For more than 100 years, we’ve believed microbes were the enemy, but now we know they play a critical role in health and longevity, as well as immune function, mood, vitality and brain health.
Protect the trillions of micro-organisms on which your body depends by avoiding processed sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and refined flour and starches. Befriend your bacteria by making a habit of eating foods that promote their health and diversity such as onions, garlic, carrots, tomatoes and fermented foods. Throw in a high-quality, lactose-free probiotic of 50 to 60 billion units per day for at least three months to jumpstart your microbiome back to health, especially if you have symptoms of constipation, bloating, weight gain or allergies.” ~ Dr. Patrick Yassini
“As a mom of three young children, my days are busy and sometimes chaotic. But I’ve learned that I can’t pour from an empty cup. When I make a regular habit of working out, I am happier, more centered and more patient, which in turn helps me be a better mom!” ~ Nikki Turley
“I have always believed that your level of happiness can do a lot to either help or hinder your health. Find a habit to be passionate about. For me, that’s traveling. I love it and try to do so at every opportunity. And, also floss.” ~ Suzanne Popp, DDS
“One of the healthiest habits we’ve enforced in our family is limiting electronics and social media. My kids didn’t get cell phones until they were 16. Their cell phones are turned off between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., so they get a lot more sleep than they would otherwise. We’re not staring at our phones or the computer during dinner, and as a result, we have such good communication as a family. On family trips we play cards and board games. And some of my best memories have been driving my kids to school in the morning. There’re no phones — we don’t even turn on the radio — we just talk. Since my youngest is a senior now, I’m really going to miss that time, but I’m glad we made the most of it.” ~ Erika Brancato
“I celebrated my 100th birthday on February 17 this year, surrounded by family and friends and, as I look back on my life, I think the one habit that I have always had was to ‘just get out there and do it.’ You should always try! I don’t know if that’s anything remarkable; it’s just the way I was raised.
“I’ve had a wonderful life, although it wasn’t without hardships. My father died in a mining explosion when I was just three years old, and my mother, my three sisters and I moved to Detroit where we lived with my grandmother. I started singing the blues and was on the radio beginning when I was just four years old on a popular show called ‘The Children’s Hour,’ and I continued singing on the show through high school. Then I started junior college, but I had to quit to help raise money for our family. It was 1935, during the depression, but I continued studies at night school. I had an opportunity to take a civil service exam and I thought, ‘Oh, I’ll never pass!’ But I forced myself to take it, and I did pass! I worked for the secretary of labor in Washington, D.C., and I kept getting promoted and then became administrative assistant to President Harry S. Truman. All my life I’ve forced myself to ‘always try’ — some might call it gumption — but whatever you call it, I’ve been rewarded many times over for getting out there and doing things.” ~ Irma Dayton