I recently attended a one-day seminar in Argentina on Style and Fashion.

One of my goals for 2015 was to take control of my style, feel great and get educated on fashion. Being in my mid-30s and a mother of 2 young boys, I felt drabby most of the time, and it was time to make my style (and me) stand out.

For the last 3 years, I have been working from home a lot. When you don’t really have very many people to see on a daily basis and work out of the comfort of your own home, it’s very easy to let your sense of style slip. The most style I had was a collection of comfy pajamas I was working in.

I learned a lot in this one-day seminar. But fashion tips aside, something the stylist said really resonated with me. She kept reiterating, “It doesn’t take a lot of time to look and feel wonderful.”

That got me thinking. Time, in fact, was my primary excuse for having a lack of style. Where would I find the time to be “stylish”? When on the topic of improving my style or making an effort, I would say, “I don’t have time to do this”.

I guess I said it often enough that I believed it to be true.

The stylist went on to explain that our clothes say a lot about ourselves – it reveals what we really think and how we feel about our own selves. Our clothes tell a story.

I started to realize how true that was. Not being a slave to fashion is one thing, but completely not caring how you look and dressing down or drabby is something else altogether.

It got me thinking about what kind of story I was telling with my clothes and fashion sense.

I’m not drabby, but I would just wear the same type of thing again and again – a t-shirt/top and jeans. I wouldn’t spice up my wardrobe. I wouldn’t change my look. I saw myself in one way, wearing almost the same thing everyday. I didn’t have more than one side to my “look”.

In that moment I decided that life was too short to postpone looking and feeling good, so I decided to take charge.

Here’s to sticking to New Year resolutions. Yeah!

I started to think about my wardrobe. I loved to shop just like every other woman and did indeed have too much clothes as the next person, but I was saving a lot of these for “when I go out” or “when I have an event” or “when I have a special day to celebrate”.

As a result, because I was always waiting and saving it for something, I never got round to wearing those pieces, or I’d wear it once and not wear it again. I decided to stop waiting for a special or important occasion, and decided that dressing up for me was the special occasion.

Honestly, it’s not like it would take much time. I just had to select something pretty and put it on. It was a small adjustment to my lifestyle and by making the effort on a daily basis, I noticed a huge improvement in the way I looked and felt.

That also got me thinking – I think it was also easier to make this mental shift because there were a few things I had also recently made habits in my life. Simple tips that have been scientifically proven to make one feel good and in the end, look good.

If I had tried to grasp this fashion concept a year ago, I might not have had the same A-ha moment. I think because I was already working on other areas on my life and was already starting to feel good all around and also starting to appreciate my body a lot more, it made fixing my fashion the next logical step.

So what about you? If you’re already fashion savvy, good for you! If you’re not, a good way to start is to first start to feel good inside and out. It’s tough to want to care about fashion when you’re not completely in alignment with and don’t feel happy with your body.

Here are some quick tips to help. I’m convinced these simple and basic habits (yes I’m sure your momma reiterated these a lot!) will make a huge difference in your life.

Do it little by little every day, and it will become easier. As you practice these more and more, you will indeed start to feel happier on the inside, and I promise you, it will start showing on the outside.

From there, you can do the relevant work it takes to continue to feel good, be it fixing your fashion, dealing with past issues, and even working on some of your insecurities, to name a few.

“Get on a daily routine… Working is a process not a product. Success comes from the word, succeed: Latin: ‘to under go.’ You must keep moving.” Nicoletta Baumeister

1. Drink lemon water

It’s easy to forget that our body is made mainly of water and that it’s important to have the right amount as it really helps us keep everything running from a biological and physiological standpoint.

And I mean water – not juices, smoothies or sodas. Yup, water. Plain good ‘ol water.

If you can do that, great, and if you can add some lemon to your water here and there, even better.

Drinking lemon water helps you clean your system (great especially after a big feast or during the holiday season); lose weight (it is not a magical quick fix solution, but if you are eating healthy it helps maintain a good metabolic rate); and it makes your skin look wonderful.

Read more in an article I wrote about lemon water for ideas and inspiration.

2. Sleep more

In January we ran an article on sleep where I wrote about the wonders a good night’s sleep can do for your beauty, but also how important sleep counts toward overall health.

Not having a proper sleep can affect your health by increasing the risk of heart attacks and can make you put on weight (there is a strong relationship between lack of sleep and eating unhealthy food), among others.

But, what is considered “proper sleep”?

According to the National Institute of Health, the average adult sleeps less than seven hours per night. To some of us, seven hours a night sounds like a lot and a luxury, but the truth is, for a lot of people, seven hours may actually not be enough to feel good.

While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between seven and a half to nine hours of sleep per night to function at their best.

Are you getting enough of sleep? Answer these 3 questions to find out:

Do you have a hard time waking up?
Do you feel sleepy during the day?
Do you have intense mood changes?

If you answered Yes to these questions, the chances are you sleep deprived.

Here’s a great article to shed more light on how much sleep we may need throughout our lives, and here’s a quick reference below:

Newborns (1 to 2 months) – 10.5 to 18 hours
Infants (3 to 11 months) – 10 to 14 hours
Toddlers (1 to 3 years) – 12 to 14 hours
Preschoolers (3 to 5 years) – 11 to 13 hours
School-aged children (5 to 12 years) – 10 to 11 hours
Adolescents (12 to 18 years) – 8.5 to 9.5 hours
Adults (18 years to the end of life) – 7.5 to 8.5 hours

The amount of sleep you get is important, but equally important is the quality of sleep you get. So take note of your daily night routine, see how you feel each night before you go to bed, and how you feel as soon as you get up. Are you tossing and turning a lot? Do you have a lot on your mind?

To help improve the quality of your sleep, try sleeping at regular times, make your bedroom dark enough and sleep in comfortable clothes. You can read more about sleep and tips to help you sleep better here.

3. Exercise often

A study published in The Lancet in 2011 got people in the exercise world looking at fitness from a new and interesting angle. It in it said that in a Taiwanese population that exercised for 15 minutes a day, or 92 minutes per week, extended their expected lifespan by three years compared to people who are inactive.

Read the full article here.

It added that if you want to look toned and fit you need to exercise more than 15 minutes a day. General recommendation is 30 min a day 5 days a week.

The most important message to get from all of this is that it only takes 15 minutes a day to keep generally fit. This is something that sounds doable for a lot of busy people.

So, to exercise or to not exercise? The answer is yes.

Exercising 15 minutes per day is a good start, especially for those who get little to no exercise at all. Note though that while exercise definitely has its benefits, these will plateau when you exercise up to 90 minutes a day. More exercise doesn’t necessarily mean better.

Bottom line – we know we need some movement and exercise to increase our overall health and to feel and look better. Start small, 15 minutes works.

“True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.” Wilhelm von Humboldt

Do you have any other ideas and tips on how to feel good on the inside? Share them with us below!

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