5 Non-Negotiables to stay happy & healthy

March 29, 2018

The following is a guest post by Ling Cai, a New York-based wellness enthusiast & blogger. You can find Ling’s blog here.

Ling is a Health Coach certified in culinary nutrition, a wellness contributor and the creator of PRETTY BALANCED, a wellness platform that empowers women to live healthy, realistic and balanced lifestyles. In her free time, you can find Ling working out at ModelFit, sipping kombucha or matcha lattes, and trying new healthy restaurants in New York. Check out her blog here or follow her journey on IG!

Confession: working out and eating right weren’t always priorities for me.

Like many others, my college years were spent consuming copious amounts of alcohol, one too many slices of pizza and gyros at 5am, and running on very little sleep.

Thankfully, much has changed since then! I’ve noticed how much good food and restorative sleep affects me so I try to do what’s best for my body everyday. Some days that means eating lots of cooked greens, good fats and lean protein, and other days that means indulging in chocolate chip cookies because #balance.

Here are my 5 that keep me happy and healthy. There are moments where doing all 5 feel near impossible but I aim for progress not perfection :)

  1. Working out

As someone who used to avoid sweating like the plague, it’s amazing that I now exercise religiously. Working out is something I consistently prioritize because of how it makes me feel: mentally sharper, emotionally stable (goodbye mood swings!) and of course, physically stronger. No matter how I feel- tired, irritable, sad- heading to ModelFit, my favorite workout studio in New York, is a fail-proof way to ensure I feel refreshed and recharged.

  1. Sleeping before midnight

How I used to pull multiple all nighters is beyond me! I’ve reached the age where if I go to sleep after midnight, no matter how many hours I clock in, I’ll wake feeling exhausted and have a serious case of brain fog.

I try to put my phone down around 10pm to mentally disconnect from the day. One of my favorite tricks is rolling Palermo’s Enlivening Aromatherapy Oil on my neck and wrists. The subtle mixture of grapefruit, lemongrass and tea tree helps me quickly drift to sleep.

  1. Taking care of my gut

Scientists have described our gut as our 2nd brain because it affects many aspects of our health such as our digestion, weight loss, sleep, immune system, mood and complexion.

Foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha do wonders for our gut because they feed our gut good, beneficial bacteria. When good and bad bacteria in our gut is not balanced, that’s when we start to experience digestive issues, food sensitivities, disrupted sleep and many other unfavorable symptoms.

I drink kombucha multiple times a week to keep my gut healthy. I love Health Ade’s Cayenne Cleanse because of how refreshing and spicy it is. The cayenne actually satiates my sugar cravings!

  1. Journaling

A girlfriend of mine kept encouraging me start the practice of putting my thoughts to paper, no matter how random or insignificant they seemed. I’m thankful that she did because the incessant chatter in my mind has substantially diminished.

It’s so cathartic to put down in words whatever is frustrating, infuriating or troubling you.

  1. Spending quality time with loved ones

This is a no-brainer but unfortunately sometimes, those closest to me get neglected. Between grad school, my part-time job and wellness blogging, setting time aside for my family and close friends isn’t always easy.

Whether it’s a matcha date with my girlfriends or a dinner date with my husband, I try to give my undivided attention to those I’m spending time with because it’s these relationships that support me through thick and thin and bring me so much joy!



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