Feeling good about yourself can be hard at times. I have always been relatively confident in myself and who I am, but it is inevitable to not feel so hot about yourself at certain times. Whenever I don't feel so great, there are always two things going through my head. The first is that I can sit around, lay in bed, and continue to feel how I do. The second is that I can do something about it to feel positive about myself. Although it can be hard at times, I always try and do the second option because I know I will like the end result better. These are six of the steps I take to feel good about myself by living a healthy lifestyle.

1. Work out because you want to, not because you "have to"

One reason I really enjoy working out is that it gets my mind off of what is going on in my life for an hour or so, and I can just focus on myself. During the school year, working out was a really good way for me to relieve any stress I was feeling from schoolwork. Now that it's summer, one thing I love about working out is being able to focus and feel good about myself. Although working out is great and a good step to take to living a healthy lifestyle, you should never force yourself to. If there is a day when you aren't feeling it, then don't force yourself. Similar to this, never push yourself to the point where you won't feel good after working out. Work out because it makes you feel GOOD!

2. Try and walk as many places as you can 

One thing you do a lot at a big school like UIUC is getting those steps in. For real though, the first semester I had a class a mile away from my dorm. At first, this seemed awful to me because the class was at 9:30 a.m., but it was really a blessing in disguise. Walking around is a great way to breathe in the fresh air and start off your day strong. It is also a great way to help the environment. One thing my family loves to do over the summer is walking to dinner, even to the other side of town. Walking with people is a great way to catch up and enjoy the outdoors.

3. Eat foods that make you feel good 

Eating food that makes me feel good is something I have really gotten into this summer. Crappy dorm food came with a lot of not being satisfied after every meal which made me feel "bleh" quite often. This doesn't necessarily mean eat healthy 24/7, but just eat foods that make your mind and body feel good. One way I have done this so far is by grocery shopping once a week to buy foods I know I am going to enjoy eating as opposed to ordering in or going out for a lot of meals. Making myself a home cooked meal has gotten me into a good habit of eating foods that make my body feel great instead of "bleh" or in a food coma.

4. Don't restrict yourself from the things that are "bad for you" 

When I was in high school, I was not a dessert person at all. I was the lame friend who never wanted to get ice cream because I didn't like it, or I would complain at family dinners because I did not want to sit there while everyone else ate dessert. Ever since I got to college, I have developed a sweet tooth. Although things like ice cream, donuts, cake, and other sugary delights may not be good for you, it isn't realistic to cut them out completely. I mean, you have to treat your self every so often. When I try and have the "will power" to not get ice cream, it just makes me want it even more. We do all want what we can't have. I believe it is important to let yourself still have some of the "bad" things. As long as you eat them in moderation, there is no reason you should cut out some of your favorite late night treats out of your life.

5. Do things that make you happy 

I believe this is one of the most important things to living a healthy lifestyle. What makes you happy differs from person to person, but make sure you are doing it. Some things I personally like to do that make me happy is hanging out with friends, spending time with my family, working, watching my favorite shows, driving around with friends, and so much more that I am looking forward to doing this summer. Allowing time for yourself and the things you love is super important. Most importantly, do it all with a smile!

6. Get enough sleep 

Sleep is so important for the body. I know for myself personally, I need a good nine hours of sleep to be a somewhat functioning human. That being said, if that means going to bed a little bit earlier on days when I need to get up early, then that's what I do. It is okay to stay up late. I am guilty of that now that it's summer, but always make sure you are getting enough sleep so you don't feel gross the next day.

I may not be an expert in any of these areas, but I believe it is important that you do things for yourself that allows you to live a healthy lifestyle. Healthy does not just mean eating healthy, but physically doing things every day that makes you smile and feel good about yourself. Feeling good and loving yourself is one of the best feelings and everyone deserves to feel that way.