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8 simple habits for longer-term natural living

Making green and eco-friendly choices in our everyday lives is not an easy task. To live a green life for the longer term, we need to make green living a lifestyle. When we start living a more natural life on an daily basis we damage the environment less and benefit our bodies and souls more. And as we adopt more ways to live naturally, we train our minds and bodies to be happier that way.

Here are a few simple but powerful ways I have adopted a more natural lifestyle. They’re mostly ways to calm the mind and the body, and they contribute to long term health. And why do I think these really contribute to long-term health? I picked up most of these ideas from my dad, who continues to lead a healthy and happy life, one that I am incredibly grateful for.

1. A morning journal and a sketchbook

Wake up and spend your first ten minutes writing in your journal. With an actual pen and paper. Just ten minutes. The minutes right after you wake up can be magical, and it doesn’t really matter what you write as long as you just write.

If you’ve never done this before, start today. This little habit will clear up your mind and give you a rush for creativity that could possibly last you the whole day. Your thoughts might flow more easily as you write what bothers you, expressing yourself in little bits.

People believe sketchbooks are just for artists. I believe sketchbooks exist to bring out the artist out in everyone. A sketchbook is YOUR book – you record your thoughts and drawings, your daily inspiration, thoughts about your kids, and just about anything you like. Doodle and have fun. Make it a place for your creative spirit to pour.

2. Meditation

Meditation is a powerful tool for reducing stress and improving your health. My dad has been meditating every single morning for as long as I remember. I practice meditation to focus on my breathing and to quiet my mind. It’s more essential than ever as we balance multitasking and information in our overloaded lives.

It’s important to remember that there is no one right way to meditate. The goal is simply to quiet your mind and slow down the chaos.

3. A morning walk

Photo by Bex Ross

A morning walk is a great habit for any person, especially if you’re a family with dogs and/or older children. Breathe that morning air and get a few minutes to connect with nature — it’s incredibly refreshing and therapeutic.

If your kids are old enough to stay home by themselves, take a walk with your spouse in the morning while the kids sleep in. For over 45 years, my parents have shared a 20-40 minute morning walk right after their individual exercise routines every single morning. To this day, they say it’s their most favorite thing to do together.

4. Yoga and exercise

Yoga, or some form of exercise that both stretches and strengthens your body, is a great habit to develop early in life. Kids love yoga, and it’s an exercise regimen you can keep no matter where you are – all you need is a mat and you’re set to go.

I also carry a yoga DVD with me when I travel. When I am on vacation, it takes just ten minutes of deep breathing and yoga to get in a quick exercise.

5. Massage

Photo by BékiPe

Massages are a favorite in our family. They help rejuvenate the cells and relax muscles, and body and head massages are wonderful for the skin and scalp. Massage times are a special time for my girls — I think that besides a healthy diet, the massages have been the reason for their healthy, problem-free skin and hair.

In our home, we use pure olive oil to massage the skin and coconut oil to massage the scalp. We let the oil soak in for a few minutes, and then jump in the shower.

6. Unplug

We are so wired with technology and online access all the time. As a family, we practice device-free dinners and short vacations — they are incredibly refreshing for the mind. Most importantly, unplugging gives our kids an example of how to deal with their overwhelmingly device-filled lives, and to connect more with nature and the people around them.

In fact, I think unplugging might be one major way to reduce a number of stress-related problems we see these days.

7. Drinking lots of water

Water is such an important component to maintain good overall health – skin, digestive system, a healthy weight and overall energy. Drink a long glass of water as soon as you wake up.

I have had a warm glass with lime and honey for years, and I think it might be my one of my tools for maintaining a healthy body weight.

8. Natural remedies before anything else

If you have chronic issues, explore some natural remedies before jumping off into strong medicines. Sinus issues are often resolved with the neti pot, and migraines can often be controlled by a combination of reduced stress and diet.

We use honey the minute we notice our kids having throat issues. A little while ago, I did a post on natural remedies. See what natural remedies work for you, and stick with those.

What are some habits that help you live a natural everyday life now, and hopefully for the future?

by Maya

Reading Time:

4 minutes





  1. Alison @ Femita

    Just reading this post makes me feel relaxed! I’m afraid I am one of those always-busy people, especially at morning. This is because I feel the morning is my most productive time and it would be a sin not to make us of it. What I like about articles like this is that they challenge my routines and remind me to reflect on my lifestyle. The massage and morning walk tips are my favorite, because they allow you to connect with the people you love in an emotional and physical way. For me, that’s the key to a happy and healthy life.

  2. Brittany

    I would be interested in getting some recommendations from folks regarding yoga DVDs – for use at home, for use while traveling, and for use with kids. I saw a review of one a year or so ago that people really liked because there were multiple routines included that could be mixed and matched, but I can’t seem to find that anymore. I appreciate any suggestions that you all can offer!

  3. Aimee @ Simple Bites

    I appreciated this post, Maya.

    I used to be a morning person before I had two kids with sleep issues! However, now that my eldest is about to start kindergarten, I’m planning a healthy morning routine that will work for us all.
    I’m going to include your suggestion for keeping a journal and meditation. Thanks!

  4. Jackie@Lilolu

    #6 Unplug is a must.

  5. Emily

    I could really use a better start to my days. I like the idea of taking a drink of water, going for a walk, then journaling and sketching, all the while being unplugged. And having a massage before bed.

  6. Keya

    Great post!! And so important to living a whole and balanced life to take time to take care of ourselves in this way. One thing that really helps keep the stress down in my day is my pray of gratitude. I try to take 15 minutes each day (sometimes its in the morning, sometimes its when my kids nap) to be grateful for all that is in my life and all that is coming into my life. I also use this time just to connect with God and contemplate/meditate. Yoga and a daily workout is my energy souces and I’ve been keeping a journal since I was 13. Its the times in my life when I don’t have time to do these things (like right after having a baby) that I feel even more stressed, so now I see just how important and helpful they are. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Amanda

    Really enjoyed this post and intend to adopt these suggestions. The first picture of the mountains and valleys is inspiring- can anyone tell me where it was taken?

  8. Robin

    All great ideas! Massage is my favorite!

  9. Lynda

    ahhh! In our high-tech world it’s good to remember that some of the lowest-tech activities lead to great peace and happiness. Mornings can be rough for me, so it’s great to ease into the day with some gentle yoga, a walk, and a little quiet time.

  10. Janna @ Mommy's Piggy TALES - Record Your Youth

    Thanks for the idea of a sketch book, I was believing the myth that only true artist’s can have one.

    I mainly journal online right now. I’m recording stories from my youth for my daughter with about 40 other women. It’s brought back so many happy memories. I’m realizing how much the world has changed and stayed the same in my 30 years of life.

    And I might just have to try the neti pot:)

  11. Emily

    I put several of these into practice this morning! Drinking water, taking a walk, and being unplugged.

  12. Karly

    Keep the TV off! Oh and read in bed as much as possible.

    • Maya

      Read in bed. Yes, Such a precious experience!

  13. shelle

    My favorite way to start the day is to check on my garden, and then sit and observe my own natural habitat. When finished being at one with the garden I give thanks for the day and pick some greens for my morning smoothie. I find a green smoothie or two a day has given me tons of energy and I have lost my sweet tooth. Thanks for the reminder to slow down, now if only I could unplugged the computer more often.

    • Maya

      Yes, Shelle, greens from the garden for a smoothie is SUCH a great idea.
      Thank you !

  14. Jenna

    What a great post! I’m all about the unplug and getting outside my city, cubicle and laptop and cell phone and just spending time hiking and enjoying nature.

  15. Morgan

    These are great. As for natural remedies, we use tea tree oil for everything – mixed with water in a spray bottle with flannel squares instead of baby wipes, on any infected sores or bug bites.

  16. Molly

    I love the idea of using massage more in my household, but don’t feel naturally good at it. Can anyone recommend a good resource for getting started… like a good basic book on amateur massage? Thanks!

    • Maya

      Molly – any basic massage book will give you basic movements.
      I learned by following them and practicing on myself to make sure it does not hurt and such. Massaging with some sort of oil is always good to help fingers move.

  17. Vina

    What a great list of ideas, Maya. I love every single item on this list! I love your approach to a more natural lifestyle – start from within. It resonates very well with me.

  18. Tina@RideOnToys

    What a great post considering the fact that we’re such an incredibly techno world. I love the concept of going green but do struggle with implementing the steps. I love the sketchbook idea!

  19. Ramblings of a Woman

    I love this list and I just recently wrote a similar one at my blog! It is interesting though, that I am writing from a different perspective as I just recently basically had a mental meltdown and now I am trying to rebuild and renew and keep from ending up in the same place again! I have done several of the things you mention, one of which is yoga. I am not very good, not very strong, and I am not really enjoying it yet, but I am beginning to feel a difference in my body and in my soul.
    I am also going on a personal retreat for a week this Saturday, and will be having a massage, walking and sitting by the beach, journaling, and I will either find a yoga class in the locale, or will do something online. Looking forward to it!
    I am blogging about my journey and other issues that women over 40 face, love to have you visit!

  20. vegeater

    At my house, we take Sundays off as much as possible. We do go to church, but after that, we veg out or take a nap or snuggle on the couch with a movie and a cup of tea. No chores, no major cooking, no business. Sometimes I go so far as to shut down my phone and computer altogether, depending on how the week has been. This weekly day off helps us stay sane. It’s our version of the old concept of Sabbath. And we consider it invaluable to our health – mental, physical, emotional.

  21. Tori

    This post offers an important reminder of what great things nature can do for your mind, body and soul.

  22. Nadene

    I love your ideas ~ I’m determined to add some more stretching. Like massage, stretches help soothe, refresh, invigorate and restore one’s body. I am also inspired to add sketching to my journaling.

  23. Toni Turbeville

    Great article! I included it my blog’s weekly Reading Roundup!

  24. Mary

    Maya-You have some incredible ideas especially on meditation, yoga,walking and drinking water. My life is stress free thanks to yoga.

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