We are continually bombarded with advice and tips on how to live a healthier life. Many of us end up doing nothing because we feel overwhelmed with making a change! Here are 10 simple and some not-so-traditional tips to get you started on improving your health and wellness.
The preparation may not seem like traditional health advice, but it really is the foundation on which to build good habits, which will then determine your results. Take a notebook and start “predicting your future” by creating an action plan that involves all areas of your life. Think about what parts of your life aren’t working and write down practical strategies for getting closer to your goals.
For example, exercising three times a week, eating more than 5 fruits and vegetables a day (write which foods and when), and managing my stress levels by reading for an hour a day.
This tip is all about making sure you know exactly what you need to do to achieve your goals.
Every time we start a new habit or routine, it may take a push to get started. I don’t like to use the words willpower and motivation because they are such fickle emotions that they can fluctuate from day to day. We don’t need willpower to brush our teeth every morning, nor to make healthy habits!
It is important to clarify your goals first with an action plan and then get into it. I recommended that you find a professional to help you formulate a plan of action and hold you accountable. This really helps, especially until the habit takes over.
3. Avoid “Diets”
Who hasn’t heard of the cabbage soup diet or tried some wacky diet that eliminated 90% of their usual foods! Dieting or following any eating plan that deviates drastically from your usual eating habits will only set you up for failure. Yes, in the short term you can lose a few kilos. But I guarantee you that within a few weeks after coming off your “diet” you will regain all, if not more, weight than before. The fact is that “diets” are neither pleasant nor convenient, therefore they are not sustainable. We really know what “good” foods are, but due to lack of time and knowledge on how to prepare some foods, we cut corners. Try to start introducing more “good” foods into your diet.
4. Eat right
Along with tip 3, it’s important to fuel your body with the right nutrients. Try to have a big breakfast full of protein, a small portion of carbohydrates and some fat. Example; 2 eggs, whole-grain toast, and 2 teaspoons of avocado. This type of breakfast will keep you going throughout the morning. Eat every 3-4 hours or as your body feels comfortable. Some people prefer high-protein diets as this helps them feel more energetic and some want lighter meals. Talk to a professional for additional help.
No healthy plan of action is without exercise! Exercise is very important to live a life full of energy, age better and be healthier. It can affect all areas of your life, including your stress levels, sleep patterns, and digestion. Experiment with various forms of exercise to see which one suits you. Try to do some form of cardio every day, resistance training and flexibility exercises several times a week (stretching or yoga) so you can create a healthier body.
As most of us lead extremely busy lives, it is often sleep that is sacrificed so that we can get more out of our day. Reduced sleep quantity and quality can lead to a suppressed immune system and make you more prone to lightheadedness, illness, and increased stress. Most adults need 6-8 hours of quality sleep a night. You are the judge of how much leaves you feeling alert and vibrant the next morning. Make sleep a priority by giving yourself time to wind down at the end of each night in the way that works best for you.
Digestion really is the cornerstone of good health. If you don’t have good digestion, then your body can’t absorb nutrients from food. A healthy gut can prevent disease and help you feel and look healthier. If you are experiencing constipation, you may have headaches and even muscle and joint pain. Your digestive system communicates with other parts of your body and has a significant impact on your overall health. If you feel like you’re clogged, start gradually increasing the fiber in your diet. Consume 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day to help get things moving and start looking at the areas of your life that contribute to an unhappy gut. Stress, eating while distracted, certain foods, and lack of exercise can all be to blame.
Stress in general can be healthy for us as it drives us forward and achieve our goals in life. Ongoing stress, on the other hand, can cause anxiety, headaches, insomnia, and fatigue when left to run rampant. Stress can arise in multiple ways; yelling at your partner, waking up at 3am every night, feeling tired after 8 hours of sleep, feeling depressed or just “blah”.
I’m not going to suggest soaking in a bubble bath or getting a massage to stop your stress, as they are not long-term solutions. The solution lies in examining your lifestyle and assessing which areas of your life feel out of control. Our happiness in life is in direct proportion to the amount of control we feel we have over our lives. If you are stressed about being overweight, then do something about it! If a relationship is leaving you feeling drained and unhappy, then you need to make a drastic decision for your long-term health. Stress management is an ongoing process of managing your lifestyle so that you feel in control.
More and more studies show that for humans to be healthy and happy, we need to build strong supportive networks and relationships. Having friends is good for our health! Take time each day to connect with your partner, children, and/or friends. As a woman, we actually release endorphins (happy hormones) by having good gossip.
10. Action and perseverance
Being armed with great tips and techniques is all very well, but unless you actually do what you learn and do it consistently, then you’re no different than if you didn’t know this in the first place!
Pick a few tips to incorporate into your life slowly. The more consistent you are, the better your long-term results will be.