One of the greatest habits that I picked up since the start of the pandemic was learning how to slow down. In the most formative years of my life, I thrived in a fast-paced lifestyle, always two steps ahead and thinking about what comes next. 

When that freedom to live life at full speed ahead suddenly stopped with quarantine, I struggled to adapt. While the pandemic has been a time of struggle and many uncertainties, it also taught me many lessons about gratitude, patience, and how slowing down can help you gain greater perspective, focus, and insight. 

This stage of life allowed me to work on a wellness routine. In the past, I did not have time to prioritize wellness and its benefit to my overall health. Presently, I am intentional with how I utilize my personal time to invest back into my happiness. 

One of my favorite ways to slow down is to unplug and go on a walk outside. As simple as it seems, spending at least thirty minutes a day walking in fresh air without the distraction of my phone has significantly boosted my mental health and positivity. Living in Chicago, I am a brief stroll away from Lake Michigan and have a beautiful view of the city’s skyline. Taking frequent walks to go sit and observe my surroundings clears my head and allows me to think about what I want to achieve that day. 

As important as that walk is to start my day, I find it very important to end my day on a positive note as well. Another habit I have recently incorporated into my wellness routine is making an intention to charge my phone far from the bed and write in a journal before going to sleep. 

Journaling is an extremely effective way for me to slow down and be introspective. My entries can be very simple, detailing my day and how I felt—Or relatively complex, reflecting on my stage in life and how many great things I have. Clearing thoughts from my head out onto paper has not only helped me practice gratitude and self-reflection, but I’ve also found that I also get much better sleep! 

The greatest lesson I learned these past few years about wellness is that it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Creating a routine that allows you to slow down and appreciate the good in your life will positively impact your mental health, work ethic, and how you choose to interact with the world. My routine is shaping me to be a better and happier person, and I am so thankful to be part of a company that places such high value on and rewards healthy wellness habits of all shapes and sizes.