Everywhere you go, there’s something that could harm you: environmental pollutants, automotive accidents and natural disasters. There’s one thing in your life that you can control to keep you safe: your health. Maybe you’ve been putting off a healthy lifestyle because it seems like there’s too much to give up and too much to change. Well, you can adopt a healthy lifestyle without much effort by incorporating these strategies into your daily life.
Self-care is simply about taking daily actions that nurture your overall well-being. While that looks different for everyone, it’s important to come up with a strategy that works for you. In addition to sleep, exercise, and nutrition, you can take extra steps to ensure that your needs are met. Unplug from electronics for an hour or two. Practice yoga for exercise and meditation benefits. Take time to relax and unwind. Your physical and mental health will be better off if you care for yourself.
Nutrition Is Life
Since nutrition has a big impact on your overall health, the best place to start is how you eat. You don’t need a complete overhaul on your diet, but slowly dropping bad eating habits and picking up good ones will get you on the right track.
Try these five simple actions:
- Don’t drink your calories. A 16-ounce soda has 187 calories and 52 grams of sugar. That’s more sugar than you’re supposed to have in one day! A glass of water will satiate your thirst more without adding in the junk, and you probably need to drink more water anyway.
- Add an extra serving of vegetables to your plate and subtract half of your carbs. It’s an easy way to get in more nutrients while reducing your calorie intake.
- Make the better choice. Eat your vegetables raw, or steam them if you want them cooked. If you’re given the choice between salad or fries, go with the salad. Choose vinaigrette dressing instead of a creamy dressing. You’ll never regret making the healthier choice.
- Eat your food on a smaller plate to reduce your food consumption. A smaller plate means a smaller serving size and fewer calories. Just don’t go back for seconds, or you’ll defeat the purpose of using a small plate.
- Eliminate one bad food habit per week instead of quitting everything cold turkey. Trying to give up all junk food at once will likely lead to failure. Gradually weed out the junk, and when you reach a point of strong willpower and established healthy dietary habits, have an occasional treat.
Make Exercise the New Normal
Exercising shouldn’t be a chore or a big event that takes up a chunk of your day. Keep it short, and make it part of your daily schedule. If your alarm goes off at 7 a.m., your workout could be scheduled for 7:15 like clockwork. Not a morning person? Then schedule some gym time after work in the evening. It might cut into dinnertime, but not if you prep your food for the week on Sundays or put dinner in the slow cooker before work. Make it a point to exercise everyday, and make it part of your routine so it becomes the norm instead of the exception. Do it everyday until it becomes a habit. Shorter HIIT workouts will maximize your calorie burn without taking much time.
Get More Zzz’s
While we’re on the subject of time, maximize the time that you’re in bed by actually sleeping in it more. Many people spend a half hour in bed scanning their phones at night and first thing in the morning, but you could spend that time sleeping instead. Try this deep breathing and body awareness technique to fall asleep faster. You don’t have to take time away from your day to sleep more. You just have to give up late night Facebook posting so you can sleep longer.
It doesn’t take much sacrifice to be healthy. The key to a healthy lifestyle (when you’re far from it) is to make incremental changes and easy substitutions. One step at time, you’ll get there. One day, you won’t remember a time that you weren’t living your healthiest life.
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