Creating a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be stressful or impossible. You don’t need to overhaul all of your habits at once and plunge into a lifestyle that you barely recognize. Spare yourself the anxiety and shock of a sudden shift in habits by incorporating changes into your life, one small step at a time. The trick is to feel successful. If you feel successful, you will continue down the path of wellness.
Let me introduce you to our short list of wellness tips that you can incorporate into your own life in order to make health a top priority for you and your family. We have boiled it down to five simple steps that you can take every single day to start feeling better immediately.
If you aren’t quite ready to tackle all five tips at once, add one each day until these habits feel effortless. As the old saying goes… “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It’s just fine to lay one building block today and maybe another one tomorrow.
Once you get the hang of these basic steps and have incorporated them into your daily life, you can continue to add to this list to create a daily plan that works for you.
Make a Meal
Ideally, you’d make all of your meals at home, but I know that life is busy. Some nights, it’s easiest to just order from a local restaurant or to meet friends for dinner. Yes, you can find healthy options and do quite well at restaurants, but at the end of the day, no one will take as much care with your food as you will. At home, you can control the amount of sodium, oil and sugar that goes into each dish. And at home, you can be sure that your produce is scrubbed and the ingredients are fresh and offer a variety of nutrients. At a restaurant, you lose all of that control, so I encourage you to commit to making a meal for yourself at least once a day. For those of you who don’t like to cook or don’t know how to cook, start out with an easy meal. Breakfast is a great place to start. If you don’t have the kitchen prowess to bake an oatmeal cake or make a vegetable frittata, blend a smoothie. A fruit smoothie mixed with greens and chia seeds (or hemp seeds or flax seeds) and maybe some almond butter is a great healthy choice for you.
Getting some fresh air is the quickest way to change your mood and clear your mind. It’s amazing what a little sunlight and air can do—and it’s not all in your head! Your mood really is changing, as sunlight increases the production of the mood-lifting hormone, serotonin. Whether you’re walking, doing yoga, gardening, or sipping your morning coffee/tea, make an effort to set aside 30 minutes every day to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.
Unplug from Electronics
I know that this is a tough one. Right now, I’m fully immersed in the current season of Game of Thrones, and there’s just no way that I’m giving it up. I get it. I’m not asking you to give up all of your favorite shows or asking you to cancel your phone service. I’m simply asking you to limit your time with your electronics by unplugging from it all each day. Start by being more mindful of how many precious hours you spend in front of your television, your iPad and your cellphone. Can you turn it off at a set time each evening? Can you limit yourself to an hour of television every other night? Can you pare down the list of shows that you watch? Can you limit your social media interactions to a 15 or 30-minute block of time? Decide on limits that seems reasonable to you, and enforce them. I know that when I turn off my electronics, I am more productive. I read more, cook more, sleep more, write more, and feel more connected to my own life. I bet you notice the change in your own life, too.
Do Something for Yourself
Make a commitment to do something for yourself each day. Let it be an activity that you love. Let it be an activity that you do purely for pleasure and not out of obligation. I happen to love exercising, but if I’m being honest with myself, there is definitely a component of obligation to my health when my alarm clock buzzes each morning. When I curl up in my bed with a favorite book, there are no strings attached. It’s pure pleasure reading. Find your own activity that brings you joy and do it each day— even if it’s for just a 15-minute block of time. This is one simple way to bring balance into your life.
Move Your Body
Get into the habit of moving your body each day. If you are not already in this habit, start out small. You don’t need to start training for a marathon today if that’s not what floats your boat. You can start with a few minutes of push-ups and crunches on your bedroom floor. You can go for a walk. You can attend a yoga class or go for a bike ride. You can go to the gym or jump rope in the park. The possibilities are endless, and you don’t have to start with an overwhelming exercise regimen. Lay the foundation by building healthy habits. Once the habits are established, continue building upon them.