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30 life lessons at 30

Updated 17 July, 2018

Hitting the big 3-0 is a big milestone in your life. Your twenties are over and, like many people, you might be analysing how your life is going.

Our doctors know exactly what goes through people’s minds at this stage of life. Whether you’re happy with where you are, or feeling a little self-critical, here are 30 pieces of tried and tested advice to help you keep things in perspective.

1. Worries lie

That thing that’s bothering you? Consider whether it’s really as big a deal as your mind is telling you.

2. It’s never too late

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Sometimes, it can take a long time to work up the courage to pursue what makes you happy. Some people take years to get there. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s never too late to make a positive change in your life. In other words...

3. The right time is right now

Create that bucket list and start ticking it off. Don’t save things for a special occasion. Every day is special and life is short, so you need to make the most of it.

4. Don’t be afraid to cry

Sometimes, having a good cry is the best medicine. Don’t keep your emotions bottled up.

5. Mistakes are normal

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Growing up, we’re often told that mistakes are bad and should be avoided. This isn’t true. We’re all human and mistakes are a normal (and essential) part of growing and learning.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, take the time to reflect on your mistakes and apply what they’ve taught you.

6. Give sleep the respect it deserves

Prioritise sleep as much as you can, because it really does make a huge difference to health and happiness.

7. Perfect your morning routine

Start the day off right and everything builds from there. By developing a consistent sleep routine, you’ll find it easier to get up at a similar time each day, which in turn will ensure you have time to eat a healthy breakfast and prepare yourself physically and mentally for the day ahead.

8. Make time for family and friends

I sometimes have to provide end of life care for patients. No one has ever said ‘I wish I’d spent more time at work’.

9. Create your tribe

While we’re on the subject of friends, choose yours carefully. Hang out with those who make you feel good and scrap those who don’t.

10. Make sure social media is a positive influence

Nobody’s perfect, and you don’t have to be either. We live in a world where we often don’t see the reality of people’s lives. Instead, we see the constructed identity they want to share through social media.

Take a step back and see this for what it really is - a reality filter. Connect with real people, so that you can support each other through the ups and downs of life. When inspiration turns into comparison, envy or any kind of negativity, it’s time to unfollow.

11. You don’t have to be perfect

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You just have to be yourself and do your own thing. You are unique, and that’s a cool thing to be.

12. Your best is good enough

Be kind to yourself and do your best. That is more than good enough.

13. Make exercise part of your life

If exercise was a drug, I’d prescribe it to all my patients! The science-backed health benefits of exercise for your body and mind are incredible, both in the short and long term.

14. Change your attitude to exercise

One of the biggest obstacles that stops people getting the exercise they need is their approach to it. Don’t think of exercise as a punishment for what you eat. Think of it as something rewarding that will improve your long term health.

15. Your body is your temple

Make sure you respect it and give it the attention it needs.

16. Keep it simple

Despite what some people in the wellness industry would have you think, looking after your health doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive.

Just make time to exercise, sleep enough, eat healthily most of the time, connect with those you love and don’t forget to relax. It really can be that easy!

17. Embrace your unique path

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Remember, there are no ‘rules’ about where you should be in life when you hit 30. Everyone is different and even with the best laid plans, you can’t control what life throws at you. Life isn’t a race, so try not to compare your journey with others.

18. Change takes time

Making a positive change to your lifestyle won’t happen overnight. You don’t need to wake up tomorrow and live your life in a completely different way. That’s unrealistic and unsustainable.

Try changing one thing at a time in a way that works for you and take time to notice the benefits, as this will help motivate you to stick with it.

19. Be grateful

Thank the Earth every morning for all that it gives you. It’s important not to take anything for granted.

20. Spoil yourself

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While it’s important to look after your body, an occasional treat won’t hurt, so don’t be afraid to cut loose every now and then.

21. Look after your mind as well as your body

Remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Staying happy is essential to a good quality of life.

22. Eat the rainbow

We all know that fruit and vegetables are healthy, but it’s important to get a good variety. Focusing on colour is a good start. Getting red, orange, green, yellow, purple and white fruit and veg onto your plate will give you a healthy balance of vitamins and minerals.

If you have the space, growing your own fruit and veg is a very rewarding way to add healthy plant-based elements to your diet.

23. Spend time in nature

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We lead such busy lives, but it’s important not to spend all your time stuck behind a desk. Studies have shown that being in the great outdoors can have huge benefits for your mental health.

24. Reflect and grow

Self-reflection can help you learn from both positive and negative experiences, so it’s good to make it a part of your day.

25. Don’t change everything at once

Making positive changes in your life is a good thing. However, you have to stay realistic. Changing too many things at once is setting yourself up for failure, so make smaller changes over longer time periods and set yourself more achievable, sustainable goals.

26. Don’t think in extremes

If you think you’re eating too many unhealthy snacks, rationing them is a better system than banning them outright. Making these things seem like forbidden fruit will only make you want them more, so allow yourself an occasional treat.

Similarly, pledging to go for a run after work every day might not be practical. When you inevitably miss a day, you’ll be tempted to give up entirely. Instead, commit to going out a couple of times a week and hit this more sustainable goal.

27. Don’t think of it as a diet, think of it as living healthily

Ask yourself whether eating to lose weight is really the best way to approach healthy eating. Rather than worrying about your weight, simply make healthy choices with the goal of being healthy. Any weight goals you have will naturally follow from this.

28. Not all fat is bad

When planning your healthier approach to food, this is one of the biggest myths you should ignore.

Including Healthy Fats in your diet is one of the best ways to boost your brain performance, productivity, and energy levels. Foods that contain healthy fats include oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds.

29. Look after your gut

When thinking about your long term health, your gut health is one of the biggest areas to focus on.

There’s evidence that the gut microbiome (the trillions of ‘good’ bacteria that live our digestive tracts) plays a role in managing the symptoms of many diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome, dementia, obesity, depression and anxiety.

30. Enjoy your journey

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Life isn’t a destination. Remember to be mindful and grateful, otherwise the best bits will pass you by.

Get more expert advice from our doctors here.

Topics: expert health advice