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How do I combine eating on the road with a balanced healthy routine at home? – These 5 healthy habits have completely changed my life while helping me to improve every aspect of it. Also, in this post, you will find all of my healthy self-care essentials.

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My 80/20 Healthy Lifestyle

Creating a Healthy Lifestyle

This post was originally published back in 2016 when I created the At Lifestyle Crossroads blog. In those early days, I simply enjoyed writing about everything that inspired and motivated me – so my first project was a lifestyle blog. Then, I had two kids and the travel dynamics started to change… Slowly and organically the content on Spanish travels took over my lifestyle blog. So, I removed everything off Spain’s topic from the site.

Nevertheless, this personal interest in healthy habits & self-care essentials has always been a huge part of my daily life. So in 2023, I decided to update and re-publish this old post about 5 Healthy Habits That Changed My Life and added some of my self-care essentials.

If this post has already been published once, there´s no reason to keep it in the drafts or delete it. It´s not my blog niche and I a am not health expert: my aim is not to recommend or prescribe anything. But at the same time, I hope that some of you might find interesting or even handy things that worked for me.

Fresh seasonal fruits at the Valencian countryside house of my in-laws

Building Healthy Habits

To begin with, building healthy habits for me is not about starting a new life on Monday. It is about going step by step, constantly trying new things, and adopting new routines. I constantly try things myself, and some of them end up adding to my health and well-being.

With food, I try to follow the 80/20 rule, where 80% of the meals I eat are natural, organic, and sugar-free, and 20% are cravings and occasional junk meals on the go. I do cook a healthy Mediterranean-Diet menu at home, but love trying new cuisines on the go (salty, greasy, fried, sweet – literally everything). So, I never seriously limit myself on what I can or can not it. Especially since I have noticed that my brain takes revenge on me after every strict diet: I eventually bounce back to worse weight & skin conditions after those.

Daily, I religiously add leafy greens and berries to my meals, shop for natural & organic food in eco-shops, use natural skincare & essential oils, and constantly search for new self-care essentials. But the focus is always on doing more things that nourish and nurture me, not on forbidding myself the guilty pleasures.

Let me tell you more about my favorite healthy habits and self-care essentials.

healthy habits that changed my life
This is Spain in winter

5 Healthy Habits That Changed My Life

1. Educating myself on the topic of nutrition & trying new things

With new scientific studies and innovative products, things and opinions on healthy habits change fast these days. Like for instance, some will say you need to eat often to keep your metabolism working, while others will swear by intermittent fasting. I have learned that often there is no such thing as absolute truth, so I always keep trying things and see how they work out for me.

Nutrition courses

It all started when I took a 4-month course on nutrition and as a result, was able to prepare smarter meals. When you know the basics, it is easier to understand books on nutrition. Additionally, you can ask your doctor the right questions about how your organs are working after the blood test. Taking food intolerance is another handy tool to build your healthy eating habits.

Drawing with my favorite Bruynzeel Expression Graphite Pencils and Charcoal Sticks

Books

Over the past 10 years, I´ve read tons of books on healthy lifestyles, but have never implemented anything fully. Yet, from each new read, I took something handy.

From Grow A New Body by Alberto Villoldo I learned about lots of plants used in the Ancient medicine of the Americas. Through Medical Medium, I discovered celery juice and a heavy-metal detox smoothy (love taking both every now and then).

The books Deep Nutrition, The Mind-Gut Connection, Transcend, Habits of a Happy Brain, What Happened to You?, It Didn’t Start with You, and Women Who Love Too Much, have all recently left an impact on my lifestyle, relationships, and mental health.

Thanks to Atomic Habits, Essentialism, The Creative Habit, and Motivation for Creative People I was able to embrace new routines that simply add to my well-being.

Good physical condition for me goes side by side with mental health, therefore I keep learning more about meditations, affirmations, and any other self-care practices essential to keeping the balance and reconnecting with our inner-selves. Heal Your Body by Louise Hay, Becoming Supernatural by Joe Dispenza, and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle are the basic reads on this topic.

You can check out more of my reads via this IG highlight.

Favorite Healthy Foods

Healthy foods I always have at home: Wild Blueberry Powder, Amazing Grass, Turmeric Latte Blend, Raw Cacao Nibs, Coconut Manna, Teeccino Hazelnut Chicory Coffee Alternative, Chia Seeds, Flaxseed, Manuka Honey, Nutritional Yeast Flakes, Black Sesame Seeds. I constantly use Sprouting Jars for broccoli and radish (which I add on the top of almost every meal).

India books and movies
Experimenting in the kitchen with one of my Indian cookbooks

2. Finding Sports To Enjoy

Yoga Classes

While I loved the effects of gym and running on my body, it has all mostly felt like a duty. At the same time, light sports routines with breathing and stretching have always felt extremely nurturing and relaxing in my case. Nowadays, I take classes in beach yoga and aeroyoga (fly yoga) weekly.

At Home

Sometimes at home, I turn on a class Back Care Yoga or dance Kaoshiki (it is an ancient yoga dance, which somehow helps to balance out the whole hormonal system).

Also, back when I lived in Hong Kong, I developed a passion for Tai Chi and Qi Kung. The DVD Qi Gong Five Elements Energy Balance by Lee Holden is my all-time favorite. I try to turn it on at least once a week.

Sometimes I also walk backward on the treadmill, while watching Spanish TV shows or documentaries. I discovered this technique via Dr Berg´s YouTube channel. This helped me to forget about my heel spur.

Hiking

Another healthy habit I try to embrace is hiking. There is nothing like walks with nature – as a family, always try to escape somewhere weekly. You can find out more about my hiking essentials in this post.

beach yoga spain
Embracing my inner yogi during the Beach Getaway in Benicassim, Spain

3. Natural Skincare & Essential Oils

The most radical change in my healthy habits over the past few years has been a switch to organic & natural skincare. You can learn more about my favorite products in this post.

Essential Oils

Years ago I took a course on Aromatherapy and started to create my own mixes of essential oils. But whenever I am short on time, I usually get something from Pranarom. An essential oil diffuser is another must-have in my home.

When it comes to glam-looking makeup, natural brands rarely give you the same results as commercial ones (even though the eco industry is evolving fast). But by changing my beauty routine, I got rid of the constant acne breakouts: I had those for 10 years and no doctor around the world was able to help.

Sheet Masks

My absolute self-care essentials are natural sheet masks for the face and legs: Andalou Naturals Instant Brighten Facial MaskAndalou Naturals Instant Clarity MaskAcure Organics Eye Hydrogel Mask, and Moisturizing Foot Mask.

Hair Treatments

Also, I can not live without hair treatments (current favorites: Australian Bodycare Sculp Treatment and Australian Bodycare Scalp Brush). Sometimes I enjoy this homemade natural mask ( 1tbsp of aloe + 1 tbsp of organic honey + 1 tbsp of castor oil with a few drops of essential oils; mix it all with a glass/wooden spoon and apply on the scalp; cover with a microfiber towel and leave for a few hours, then rinse off and wash your hair).

beauty products for travel
Read more – My Travel Beauty Essentials & Hacks On The Go

4. Cold Baths & Showers

Throughout my teenage years, I was always curious about winter swimming, but my parents would really scare me off with comments like: “Go have kids first and do those weird experiments with ice hole swimming”. With time I settled down for the fact that immersing oneself in freezing cold does not sound enticing anyway.

Only after having my two girls did I get back to this childhood dream and discover the popular Wim Hof Method. I started gradually with quick contrast showers and moved to winter swimming in a cold pool.

After a year of cold exposure, I could say that it´s probably been one of the most life-changing healthy habits in my entire life. I feel like cold showers have had a huge impact in eradicating from my life heel spur, acne, and vertigo ( from neck stiffness), as well as reducing cellulite.

But the biggest outcome of the Wim Hof Method has been better sleep and higher stress resilience. After having kids, working, cooking, and doing housework, I have somehow slowly evolved into living in a state of constant stress & anxiety. Only with regular cold showers I have noticed myself more calmed down and balanced.

These days every time I feel tired at the end of the day, I immerse myself in cold water and immediately feel the endorphins boost. Afterward, I literally go to sleep like a baby.

Currently, I think of getting an ice tube (will update you on this one ASAP).

swimming in cold pool
Swimming in a cold pool

5. More self-care rituals

Body & Wellbeing

Other important self-care favorites that constantly embrace my health & well-being are acupuncture (once a month), baths with Epsom salts (at least once a week), Infrared Sauna Blanket (weekly), Pranamat Eco Mat (at least once a week), Foam Roller for Muscle Massage (a few minutes almost every day), Lavender Heating Pillow (for stiff neck relief), and Pranarom essential oils & diffuser.

Also, every 3 months I visit chiropractic for neck and spine adjustments and enjoy occasional relaxation massages (however, I always bring my own essential oil mix to make sure the quality of what they put on my skin is excellent).

Candles

After learning about the Danish Hugge, I have started taking candles at home seriously – they bring a cozy feeling anywhere. I love Woodwick, Hemlock Crackling Wood Wick Candles, Aroma Naturals, and sometimes even make my own candles with the kids.

Crystals & Stones

Even before reading Sadie Kadlec´s book, I enjoyed being around crystals. They would always bring me some additional harmony. It was something I could not explain and used to buy them intuitively. However, I plan to get more books on crystals (especially Crystal Healing for Women and The Modern Guide to Crystal Healing) to learn details about their properties.

The best place to search for unique crystals is Etsy. My dream purchases for home would be a Purple Amethyst Geode and a Copper Pentasphere.

Via my IG stories, you might have also seen a Salt Lamp, a Selenite Crystal Lamp, and this Tree Orgone Pyramid.

Wisdom Cards

Wisdom cards are such a joy whenever I need extra inspiration: Power Thought Cards, The Four Agreements, Mystical Shaman Oracle (the most visually stunning cards I have ever had), and Mudras for Body, Mind, and Spirit (use them for yoga & meditation). Currently, I plan to get these Creativity Cards and Positive Affirmations Cards.

healthy habits at home
Pranamat Eco Mat, Yoga Blocks, Manduka Yoga Towel, Foam Roller, Pranarom Purifying Spray, Ceramic Diffuser for Essential Oils, Myhappygoods Smudge Kit

Creative habits

I deeply believe that everyone is born unique and creative in his/her own way. However, it takes time to try things and figure out what boosts your inner potential. Doing creative activities every week, embracing new artsy techniques, and bonding over them with my kids – it´s what constantly brings me inspiration.

The best thing about creative activities is that they can be easily combined with motherhood. My kids enjoy Collage Cut Out Book (for more ideas, check out this Collage Ideas Book), Watercolor Workbook, Mandalas Coloring Book, Botanist’s Sticker Anthology, Art Masters Sticker Book, and even Lettering as much as I do (if not more). To be fair, sometimes I get inspired by their activities too: especially when it comes to the international illustrators, 1930-s Fashion Sticker Books, or vintage Flower Fairies of Cicely Mary Barker. Also, this summer in Ireland, we bought a unique Coloring Book of Kells, which was a success in our family.

I try to read a new creative book every few months. Current favorites:

On my Creativity Reading List: The Creative Act, Creativity, The Artist’s Way, and Ending Up Creative. Also, I recently got How to Be a Super Awesome Artist by Henry Carroll, cause I ran out of creative ideas for kids.

Neuropraphics & Art Therapy

Every week I try to find time to paint my neurographics. This technique is both about sparkling creativity and having an art therapy moment at home. Years ago, I took a course on Neuropraphics, and this artsy method has been one of my self-care essentials ever since (doable even with the kids around – that´s why now I need so many different markers & pencils lol).

If you do not know where to start, it is easy to get one of the workbooks: Art Therapy Exercises; 250 Brief, Creative & Practical Art Therapy Techniques, Healing Trauma with Guided Drawing, Art Therapy Card Deck, and Neurographic Art Step by Step.

art therapy at home
My Neurographics Essentials: Canson XL Watercolor Pads, Watercolor Pencils Set, Ecoline Brush Pen Set Pastel, Pelikan Fineliners, Marker Pens similar to mine (sometimes I also use Faber-Castell Metallic Colour Pencils, STAEDTLER Pastel Textmarkers, Bruynzeel Expression Graphite Pencils, and STAEDTLER Coloured Pencils)

Gratitude & Journals

Keeping a journal is one of the best ways of self-expression and dealing with any toxic emotional state. There are lots of inspiring journals you can get depending on your needs & lifestyle: Self-love Journal, Guided Anxiety Journal, Self-Care Journal, Food Journal, Vintage Journal, Travel Journal, and even Camping Journal.

My current must-have is a Gratitude Journal. It is one of the best self-care essentials to keep the focus on good. On a subconscious level, it somehow balances my negative beliefs: after a few minutes of writing, I feel ready to take on the world again. The truth is that I used to struggle to find time to write down my gratitude. But lately, I set for it a daily alarm and have no excuses. No life-changing healthy habits work without a bit of discipline. But it’s been all about enjoying the benefits of a positive mindset ever since.

I also plan to get a Reading Journal ( to keep track of my favorite quotes and thoughts), a journal for goals and dreams, like Big Life Journal or The Book of Dreams Come True, and a new Calm Journal. For kids, I love Empowering Journal for Girls (but they are only starting to read in Spanish, so I will probably get Eres Increible first).

My Creative Chaos: a few of my things that you can get only in Spain – Momentos Felices, Vacaciones para el Alma, Collage Creativo, and Tiempo para mi

 

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healthy habits self care essentials-2
This smoothy was made with frozen banana and Amazing Grass Green Superfood (drinking it from Double Wall Glass Coffee Mug)

For more inspiration check my Pinterest board – Travel From Home.

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