I’m a social person. People have even been know to replace the word person with “butterfly.” Which I’ve always taken as a compliment. But, on this health journey of committing to the things I know make my body feel the best, the social butterfly in me has had to pull her wings in a bit. And I haven’t liked it.
The truth is, as much as green juice in the morning and going to bed at 9:30 makes me happy, so does laughing and dancing and getting wild with my friends. In fact, if being healthy meant I had to cut the joy of friendship out of my life, I’d opt for unhealthy.
The good news is I’ve figured out that I can be healthy and still get my social butterfly on! It’s been a process of trial and error, guilt and lonely nights, introspection and coercion, but I’ve realised just this week I’m finally at a really good place with it.
I’ve had a number of conversations this week about how the social aspects of old habits are often the biggest hurdle for people when trying to shift into healthier living.
We want to cut the coffee habit and suddenly feel like we can’t meet up with our friend for a “coffee” catch up, or enjoy the morning ritual of chatting to the barista and other regulars.
We want to enjoy a Friday evening with a cold drink, have a good laugh with our friends AND go to bed by 10pm but know the rest of the crew will stay out until 2am, so we opt out and feel lonely.
We want to cut the sugar and suddenly birthday parties, mother’s day, baby showers, hens nights and every little corner cafe become our own personal hell.
The social norm is not that healthy, and being social creatures, it makes living a healthy life that much harder and frustrating.
I want to tell you something, YOU’RE NOT ALONE!
One thing I’ve learned as I’ve worked to develop healthier habits is that it’s amazingly easy to lead by example. EVERYONE actually wants them and when you stick to yours it’s like you’re giving them permission to admit they don’t like the social norm either.
We all want to feel good and not suffers from hangovers, sugar binges and over-caffeinated stress, but our desire and need for community is often what’s really driving the cultural rituals around alcohol, sugar and coffee (not to mention a powerful, advertising savvy “food” industry).
As my lifestyle has changed, so has my community. I’ve attracted healthier people into my life, influenced many people in my life to get healthier and tapped into socialising in a way that also make by body, mind and spirit thrive.
I’m not claiming to have figured it all out, but here are a few things that have helped me transition into being a social butterfly with a healthy lifestyle:
Don’t be afraid to tell people you don’t want to drink and that you want to go home early. Often they actually want that themselves, and then you can have a super fun early night and wake up the next morning feeling great.
Go to the coffee shop!! They do serve chai, tea and juices you know. It get’s easier each time to not order the cappuccino, and realise how much of the habit is about connecting with community, which is a beautiful thing. I used to feel like I couldn’t justify buying a tea because it didn’t “do” anything for me like a coffee did, but now I see that it’s more the social ritual that’s actually doing something for me.
Hang out in the day more, share in cool activities and be the one to organise it. I’ve always been bored with sitting around drinking and had much more fun doing activities like surfing, hiking, checking out a performance or going to an event. I realised I need to be the one to reach out and organise these things to get my social butterfly on, and then I didn’t really care if I sat home on a Friday night because I’d had my friend and fun fix.
Bring the food you want to eat to the party. This one is easy, we’re insuring there’s an option we can enjoy and that means enjoying the party more.
Surround yourself with like minded people. Taking on something alone is a hard path, but as soon as someone is in it with you life gets a whole lot easier (and more fun). I cherish my yoga community, and I can tell you they are some of the most fun, wild and playful people I’ve ever met. Yogis love to buzz on a natural high, chant and dance for hours, hang upside-down on each others feet, go on big long trippie shamanic journey’s together just through meditation and support each other with laughter and love. My life would not be as rich or healthy without this tribe, and the more I commit to my health, the bigger this tribe around me becomes (but it has taken some time). If you’re at the beginning of committing to your health, trust and know it’s inevitable that you’ll build a tribe that share your values.
Realise there’s a time and a place to stay out late, have a drink or eat a cake, and when you do enjoy it 110%. Everything in moderation, including moderation. It’s the things we do on a regular basis that have the biggest impact on our health and life. Keep the cultural sugar, coffee and alcohol rituals for special occasions (and every weekend is NOT a special occasion!), and then enjoy them to the fullest without guilt!
Share with us some of your tips for staying healthy AND getting your social butterfly on!