Guest article from Nestapple.com
It may seem overwhelming to think about changing your daily habits to include healthier ones, but there are actually several small ways you can achieve this. The key is not to focus on one area, such as eating better, but break it up into many different tasks that cover the needs of your mind, body, and soul.
It also helps to get creative when thinking about the best ways to incorporate healthy habits into your everyday activities. Here are a few of the best ways to get started.
Invest in some good appliances
If you’re like most Americans, you work long hours and can’t seem to find much free time; many families feel rushed at the end of the workday to get dinner ready, which results in a lot of fast food dinners. Not only is this not the healthiest option, it also gets expensive. Instead of relying on the drive-thru, find some good crock-pot recipes, prepare the pot the night before and set it in the fridge. Then, set it to cook before leaving for work in the morning. This way, you’ll have a nice pot roast with veggies ready to eat when you get home.
It’s also a good idea to have a blender and food processor on hand, as these are great tools for making smoothies and chopping up salads, respectively. You can also make homemade guacamole and salsa, which have a whole lot of healthy ingredients and can be taken to work for a snack.
Get some rest
Ensuring you get enough good sleep is imperative, no matter how busy your schedule is. It can be tempting to stay up late in order to get in some extra free time once the kids go to bed, but if you have to get up early you’ll be burnt out by the end of the week. Set a bedtime and stick to it, and do something relaxing before you lie down to make sure you won’t have trouble falling asleep.
Drink more water
Most of us don’t drink the recommended amount of water every day, which (depending on your body type and activities) can be anywhere from 64 to 70 ounces, so it’s important to keep a water bottle with you all day long. That way, you can continuously drink water and keep track of how much you’re taking in.
Make things easier on yourself
If you want to get up earlier in the morning in order to go for a run before work, set out your workout clothes, shoes, phone, and earbuds to make it easier to get ready.
Set small, achievable goals
If you want to start cooking healthy meals but don’t currently cook at all, don’t come out of the gate expecting to suddenly begin cooking 7 nights a week. Instead, create a goal you’re likely to achieve: start with 1 or 2 nights a week and increase from there. Similarly, if you want to start working out, but don’t currently get any exercise, start small: stick to at-home workouts where you can focus on proper form and build a healthy foundation. Master the basic push-up, plank, lunge and squat, then build upon that and consider joining a gym where you can incorporate more fitness equipment into your routine.
Create obligations around your workouts
If motivation is a problem area for you, one way to overcome that hurdle is to tie an obligation to your fitness time. There are a few relatively easy ways you might do that. For example, you could start a physically active side gig, perhaps as a mover. Or become a workout buddy with a friend. When you have plans to go on a Saturday morning hike with your friend, it will be a lot harder to let yourself sleep in. You won’t want to let them down and you’ll look forward to hanging out with them. You could also sign up to participate in an upcoming 5K or fun run. Don’t make it too intimidating, but knowing you have a deadline for getting in shape will give you a boost when you’d rather sit on the couch.
Take your lunch
You’ve likely seen those weekly meal prep videos online, and maybe you liked the idea but didn’t think it would work for you. It’s easy to whip up a meal on Sunday night, however, and freeze portions for the entire week. Chicken and rice with veggies, homemade vegetable soup, and vegetable curry are just a few of the tasty options you have to choose from, and it will save you money if you’re not eating fast food on your lunch break. Don’t forget to pack healthy snacks, too, such as fruit, nuts, and whole grain crackers or pretzels.
Stress can make or break even the best efforts to improve one’s health and can cause physical issues, such as headaches and fatigue. Do your best to identify and eliminate areas of your life that may be contributing to increased stress levels.
Making strides to improve your health can be easy if you break off small pieces at a time and set reasonable goals. You can do this!
Photo via Pixabay
Tips to Help You Practice Self-Care During Your Workout
Too often self-care is mistaken for self-indulgence. Instead, self-care and mindfulness are about self-awareness and the ability to address your mental health needs. While many people can justify prioritizing exercise, for some reason, the same logic cannot be applied to self-care when emotional health is equally as important as physical health.
Not that much time is required to practice effective self-care on a daily basis. In fact, there are many ways that you can incorporate mindfulness into your routine.
During Your Workout
If you are someone who is serious about their health, you may already hit the gym or take workout classes. Health.com says that the gym is one of the best places to practice self-care and mindfulness.
Limiting distractions is a great place to start. Turn off your phone and stay present in what you are doing. This allows you to fully pay attention to your body so you can keep from overexerting yourself. Knowing that you need to allow yourself some recovery time after an intense workout is an excellent example of self-awareness.
Be sure to take advantage of your warm-up and cool down, too. Use this time to practice breathing exercises and work on emptying your mind.
Making Time in Your Day
If you do not have an established weekly workout routine, it may seem like an impossible task to create one. However, building a well-rounded exercise and self-care routine will help increase your physical and mental health. You should be aiming to exercise for about 20-60 minutes a day about 3-6 days a week.
In fact, there are plenty of opportunities in your schedule to carve out time to work out. You can set your alarm an hour early and hit the gym before you start your day, which has the added bonus of not having to worry about it later. Or, take advantage of an hour lunch break by going for a walk in a nearby park, working out at a local gym, or attending an exercise class. Stepping out of the office will also help clear your head and mentally prepare you for the second half of the day. Or, if you live in an area with good weather, consider turning your commute into a workout by biking or jogging.
Mark It on Your Calendar
After establishing how much extra time you have in a day, pick a few days and times of the week that work best for you, and add them as repeating appointments. This will reduce the risk of over-scheduling and help you visualize and mentally prepare for the workouts.
This may mean learning to say no to your friends or telling your boss that you cannot take on any extra work. Remember, there is nothing wrong with prioritizing yourself. Use your “you” time to do something you enjoy. Indulge in a long bath, insist on taking your full lunch break, eat that delicious slice of cake, or take that exercise class you’ve been dying to take.
Self-care should be a daily practice. If you cannot make it to the gym one day or if you take a down day to rest your body, this does not mean you should take a day off from mindfulness as well. No matter how busy your day, you can step away from what you are doing for 15, 10, or even 5 minutes to check in with your emotional well-being.
The Huffington Post recommends doing self-care sprints for busy schedules. This can be taking a 10-minute walk to clear your head, using 15 minutes to declutter your desk, or spending 5 minutes before you go to bed to meditate.
Putting Yourself First
There is nothing selfish about taking time during your day to practice self-care. It is necessary for creating a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle. Make it a priority to carve out time in your daily routine to practice. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
Photo courtesy of Pexels.