Every once in a while, we make a long list of resolutions to live happier and healthier lives. Exercise every day. Limit screen time. Have a home-cooked meal daily. However, a month or so later, the list is long forgotten, and we are back to our old habits. This is followed by a crushing sense of disappointment and self-pity. Are you also going through a similar slump because you are unable to bring a 180-degree change in your life?
Taking on so many big tasks often leads to failure. This is not because you are not good enough, but having such ambitious goals can be intimidating. It is always better to bite only as much we can chew. Simple and easily achievable goals are more effective when making a lifestyle change like buying eco-friendly and sustainable products such as Biome period cups. Small goals will also give you the confidence to achieve something and motivate you to do more. Here are 13 simple and realistic ways to improve and maintain your health.
- Hydrate your body
You must drink at least 60 oz. of water every day. Keep a bottle of water with you everywhere you go. On your grocery runs. On the bedside table. At your work desk. You can also infuse it with lemon, fruits, or some greens such as cucumbers.
An alternate way of taking in more water is to eat raw fruits and vegetables as they have a high water content that evaporates on cooking. Besides hydrating the body, they will also provide valuable nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, prebiotic fiber, and antioxidants.
- Avoid drugs
Drug abuse can harm the body in the long term and can even cause chronic diseases. If you struggle with cutting back on drugs, consider asking for help. There are plenty of free guides available online that aim to inform people about substance abuse and have a list of credible resources to help those suffering. Use these, or ask a professional if your addiction is severe.
- Get moving
Start with any kind of physical activity you will enjoy and be consistent with it. It can be going for a walk daily, hitting the gym, lifting weights, swimming, or playing tennis. The goal is to keep your body moving every day. Convince a friend or a family member to accompany you. It will motivate you to continue with the activity.
- Cut back on processed foods
Chips, frozen meals, cookies, canned meals are all examples of processed foods. They contain additives like preservatives, sugar, artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors while lacking in protein, fibers, or micronutrients and thus only provide empty calories. Excessive consumption of processed meals can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic diseases.
- Get a good night’s sleep
Poor sleep can reduce your performance during the day. In extreme cases, sleep deprivation can raise the risk of heart diseases and strokes. Set a regular sleep schedule and stick to it even on the weekends. If you struggle with snoozing off, creating a bedtime routine can help. Dim the lights an hour before your bedtime, tidy up your space, take a relaxing shower and get into comfortable PJs.
- Take your supplements
If you are deficient in vitamins and minerals or do not have a healthy gut, consider adding supplements while improving your diet. If you do not spend enough time in sunlight or do not eat foods high in probiotics like yogurt and sauerkraut, you might be deficient in these micronutrients. Get your nutrient levels tested and take the supplements on your doctor’s advice only.
- Use herbs and spices
Spices and herbs such as coriander or turmeric not only add flavor to your food, but also offer several health benefits. Adding these herbs to your food is more beneficial than having turmeric teas and ginger ales. It is better to incorporate a wide variety of herbs and spices in your meals to enjoy the varied health benefits they provide. Ginger, for example, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, while coriander helps lower blood sugar.
- Avoid sugary drinks
Sugary drinks such as fruit juices and sodas might be the main source of added sugar in your diet. Artificially sweetened beverages increase the risk of heart diseases and diabetes even in children. To overcome your sugar addiction, you can try alternatives such as water, sparkling water, or naturally sweetened beverages,
- Eat nuts and seeds
There is a misconception that nuts should be avoided because they are high in fat. However, nuts and seeds are packed with nutrients such as protein, fiber, and vitamins that may help reduce the risk of developing diabetes and heart diseases.
- Spend time with friends & family
Building a small but tightly knit community is important for both your mental and physical well-being. Spending good time with family or friends can decrease your stress and anxiety. Studies show that people with close friends and family live longer than those who do not.
- Don’t stress
Prolonged stress can cause ulcers, depression, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), high blood pressure, and migraines. Yoga, meditation, or breathing techniques are some activities that are recommended to reduce stress levels. However, developing simple habits you enjoy, such as reading, gardening, calling your mom, can also de-stress you. These activities will not require a lot of time or energy. You can read a page or two before sleeping or make a five-minute call to your sister, and it will make you feel recharged and refreshed.
- Use technology
You can use health apps, nutrition trackers, or fitness trackers to monitor your physical activity, menstrual cycle, sleep patterns, water intake, calories, heart rate, etc. It is not only helpful in building habits and also for tracking progress and any symptoms that may arise unexpectedly.
- Avoid restrictive diets
Diets such as keto are effective for rapid weight loss but rarely work well long term. Studies show that dieting can lead to weight gain in the future. This happens because restrictive diets lower the body’s metabolic rate, making it more difficult to lose weight. They also alter your hunger hormones, causing strong food cravings for foods high in sugar and fat.
Instead of opting for trendy diets, adopt a more holistic lifestyle. Love and nourish your body instead of punishing and depriving it. Nutritious foods are a better option as they contain fewer calories and are more filling.
A healthier lifestyle is more than just eating the right foods. To improve your health, you need to focus on wellness, including nutritious foods, exercise, sleep, and mental well-being. Take one small step at a time. Start incorporating these simple changes in your daily routine, and remain consistent, and you will definitely feel the results in your body.