If you’re struggling to maintain a healthy lifestyle or just don’t know where to start, I have some good news for you–being healthy doesn’t have to be hard! For me, it’s all about forming better habits. There are myriad healthy habits you can incorporate in your daily life to improve your physical and mental wellbeing. You already know you should eat better and exercise more, but as important as those things are, they can take months to develop into a regular routine. Listed below are my top 5 healthy habits that you can incorporate immediately into your daily life. They may seem simple, but by starting small, it will be easier to work your way up to bigger changes.
1. Get up 30 minutes earlier than you need to.
A common piece of advice I see in health articles and on social media is to get up early (around 6am) every single day. This advice stems from research that shows that our brain functions at its peak capacity in the morning. Therefore, by getting up earlier we can maximize our productivity before noon and carry over that sense of accomplishment into other tasks throughout the rest of the day. If you’re already an early riser, good for you! For the rest of us, myself included, getting up earlier than necessary can be a real challenge. That’s why I suggest, at least initially, to get in the habit of giving yourself an extra 30 minutes every morning. It’s a small enough amount of time to be doable, but it also allows you to tap into some of the benefits of getting up early–whether it’s taking extra time to meditate, prepare a healthy meal, exercise, or write out a list of goals for the day. If you’re able to appreciate those extra 30 minutes, you may soon find yourself motivated to get up even earlier.
2. Drink a full glass of water as soon as you wake up.
Not only does this feel extremely refreshing, it will also stimulate your digestive system and help you feel more awake. Just be sure to stick to clean, fresh water. Bonus points for adding a squirt of fresh lemon juice to further aid digestion. Extra bonus points for adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, which can have many benefits, including weight loss, lower cholesterol, and lower blood sugar.
3. Take short breaks throughout the day to move.
This is especially important if you work at a desk all day. Don’t have time or energy to exercise outside of work? Incorporating small bursts of movement throughout your day will not make up for a total lack of exercise, however it’s certainly better than doing nothing at all! It can be as simple as taking 5 minute breaks every hour or so to stretch, do some squats, push-ups, and/or tricep dips. Another great option would be to go for a walk during your lunch break. Whatever your preference is, there is really no excuse not to move throughout the day.
4. Take a power nap.
Without fail, my energy drops every afternoon between 2-3pm. Sound familiar? While it’s tempting to grab a cup of coffee and try to carry on, I have found that I feel much better if I just listen to my body and take a quick nap. So long as you keep it under 30 minutes, napping can be a great way to refresh your mind and acquire a little extra energy. Personally, even just 5 minutes is enough for me on most days.
5. Raise your feet to improve circulation.
After a long day of work, one of my favorite things to do is to lie on my back in bed raise my feet up against the wall. This is a great and easy way to boost circulation and reduce swelling in your lower extremities by counteracting gravity, which forces everything downward throughout the day. For an added bonus, grab a dry brush and brush your legs toward the direction of your heart to increase circulation even more.