You've been contemplating about making your life "healthier"and you understand the concept and the benefits, but maybe you're struggling with consistency or knowing where to start. There are numerous ways to improve your state of being and overall health, but the thought alone can be overwhelming as you consider everything you would like to improve. The best way is to take these changes one step at a time! Start small; these actions will become routine, and begin to build upon each other until you're left with a strong foundation and a less overwhelming state of being and much healthier lifestyle.
Here are 10 small changes you can start with to jump start your healthier lifestyle:
Improve your body's circulation! Stretching will not only make you feel more limber, but will also increase oxygen to your muscles, organs, and your brain, making you feel sharper. You don't need to become an expert at doing yoga, just start moving in a way that feels good. Get that body moving first thing in the morning to alleviate any back and neck pain from sleeping and to aid circulation.
2. Stay Hydrated
Did you know that becoming even the slightest bit dehydrated can lower your mood, decrease your concentration, and mistakingly lead you to think that you're hungry? Women require 2.6 liters of water a day, Men 3.6 liters - that's over 80 oz of water per day! Not counting the fact we live in sunny Florida or that we constantly leech ourselves of water with our caffeinated beverages. Drinking water consistently each day will help your body stay in balance, promote better quality sleep, and keep your skin looking healthy and radiant.
3. Unplug From Your Device
We're all guilty of being overly dependent on our devices, especially now more than ever. Start small, give yourself a minimum of 20 minutes a day where you're not in front of a screen. Enjoy the great outdoors! Take in the sights and all that nature has to offer.
Have a real conversation with your spouse or loved one. Reconnect and give that individual your full undivided attention. Those 20 minutes will go by so fast you're more likely to not even notice. But you will notice how enjoyable those last 20 minutes were with the person you shared it with.
4. Protein For Breakfast
Exercise is important, but in order to look and feel your best, what you fuel your body with is crucial! Your diet can dictate how you feel all day long and dictate other decisions throughout the day. For example, a poor choice in your breakfast selection can lead to a missed workout or a couple extra hours of tv binging at the end of the day instead of getting to bed at a decent hour. Processed foods riddled with sugar and saturated fats will leave you feeling sluggish all day long and you will find yourself reaching for more and more to eat throughout the day to reverse the groggy feeling. Forget counting calories; instead, focus on fueling your body with whole foods higher in protein.
5. Make It A Point To Move More
Adding steps to your day and getting your body moving is a sure-fire way to get your endorphins flowing, which will put anyone in a better mood. Even moderate activity, like taking a walk or a light jog around your neighborhood, can provide the mood-boosting effects of a natural endorphin high. Set a realistic goal, such as “10,000 steps” a day. Choose the stairs over the elevator, park in a further parking spot, or walk during your lunch break. If you don’t hit your goal by the end of your day, try walking up and down the hallway a few times. That should do the trick!
6. Incorporate Herbal Tea
Herbs have many different healing properties. Drinking a cup of hot herb tea can help restore balance and promote a healthier state of well being. I personally enjoy a cup of lavender and chamomile tea before bed as part of my getting-ready-for-bed ritual. Incorporating a comforting cup of hot tea after dinner can also help with night-time cravings and help you unwind from the stressors of the day, preparing you for a much more restful nights sleep.
7. Put A Positive Spin On It
It's normal to feel stressed from time to time, but high amounts of stress can leave you vulnerable to a number of health conditions. You may not always be in control of what's happening, but you can control how you react to it. Positivity attracts positivity, the next time you are faced with a difficult situation remember, "this too shall come to pass." Practice gratitude and appreciation, no matter how small the gesture, vocalizing and communicating your appreciation can impact someone's day in a very big way. Above all else, try to stay open to problem solving and not reactive based on emotions you may be experiencing. You never know what someone is going through and we should all practice patience, kindness and understanding towards one another.
8. Plan Your Meals
How often have you found yourself unsure what to have for your next meal, let alone having the energy to prepare and clean up after? Plan ahead and skip the burden of excessive decision making. With the decision making out of the way, you're less likely to go out of the way to make a poor choice, making it easier to stick to your healthier lifestyle. Planning and preparing your meals in advance can help reduce your spending and minimize food waste in your home.
9. Stay Organized & Clean A Little Everyday
Keeping items in a designated spot makes it easier to navigate, minimize cleaning time and ensure you never run out of something you need. When your environment is well organized you won't waste excessive time cleaning up after yourself or grow overly frustrated searching for something. This will give time back into your schedule and allow you to invest your time into what really counts. Set goals to clean small areas each day so your to-do list stays light and doesn't consume all of your home time.
10. Quality Sleep
Never underestimate a good night's sleep! Keeping yourself on a consistent sleep schedule will ensure you get your recommended 8 hours and will also keep your body in a rhythm. If you've struggled with falling asleep or have a hard time waking up at the sound of your first alarm, try keeping a strong routine when you go to bed and when you wake up. Wouldn't you like to wake up naturally, to not have the first thought in your mind be "how many more times can I hit the snooze button" or "I need coffee" because you already feel energized and rested?!
In making these small changes remember your self-importance, remember you are doing this for you. Only through repetition and consistency will these small improvements become routine. You hold the power of choice - in making, upholding, altering, or stopping these small changes to help you build a healthier lifestyle. It's not about perfection, it's about progress, and each day will bring you one step closer to the best version of yourself.