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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
2. Finding Sports To Enjoy
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My absolute self-care essentials are natural sheet masks for the face and legs: Andalou Naturals Instant Brighten Facial Mask, Andalou Naturals Instant Clarity Mask, Acure Organics Eye Hydrogel Mask, and Moisturizing Foot Mask.
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).
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).
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).
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.
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.
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:
- The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp
- Motivation for Creative People by Mark McGuinness
- Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
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.
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).
For more inspiration check my Pinterest board – Travel From Home.
- Accommodation: For short stays, I usually book via Agoda, Booking, and Hotellook
- Tours&excursions: My favorites for guided tours are GetYourGuide and Viator
- City breaks&sightseeing: Go City helps to avoid multiple entry fees and paper tickets
- Travel Insurance: find the best trip insurance plans via VisitorsCoverage, EKTA, and Insubuy
- Flights: To find the best deals I like WayAway and Aviasales
- Airport Lounge: Get independent airport lounge access worldwide via Priority Pass
- Train&bus tickets: Currently, I book via RailEurope, Omio, and Busbud
- Car rental: To find the best deals I use Rental Cars, Discover Cars, and GetRentalCar
- Transfers: For individual transfer services I like Kiwitaxi
- For Foodies: Eatwith is great for finding culinary experiences with locals
- Cruise Reviews: To find the best cruise offer I check out Cruise Critic
- Suitcases&Luggage: To eliminate problems of early arrivals/late departures I find helpful Radical Storage
- Compensation for delayed/canceled flights: AirHelp is useful for all flight cancellation or delay claims
- To avoid roaming fees I use Airalo eSIMs around the world
- Budget-friendly stays: Check Hostelworld to find the best deals around the world
- Events: To find the best offers I use Ticketmaster and TicketNetwork
- Renting Bikes: to find motorcycles, scooters, quads, and bicycles I use BikesBooking
- Package Tours: head to CheapOair, Expedia UK, Tourhub, and loveholidays
- For Bloggers: To monetize my blog I use Travelpayouts