Small Changes to Improve Your Everyday Wellness
At the start of every year a lot of us have plans to make big changes in our health. We hit the ground running (literally) and make drastic changes to our everyday lives. But life happens and sometimes these great plans can fall by the wayside when work gets busy, or our home responsibilities seem overwhelming. The good news is that if you aren’t ready to commit to big changes a few small adjustments to your day can have a major impact on your health for the better.
Wellness is nothing more than small daily choices that lead to a healthier you. It simply starts with one choice after another. We’ve gathered some ideas on how you can make small changes that, increase energy, promote mental and physical healthy, and generally help you to feel your best every day.
1) Use a refillable water bottle
Try having a refillable water bottle at your disposal. You are more likely to get your daily requirement for water when drinking water is at the forefront of your mind. Keeping a refillable water bottle close by will help you to reach your goals and stay hydrated, which is crucial for performing at your best. Aim for 3 refills a day for optimum hydration.
2) Use herbs and spices instead of salt when cooking
By utilizing herbs instead of salt in your cooking not only will you get a more flavorful meal, but certain herbs are known to fight cancer and boost your mood. Plus cutting out the salt helps to reduce blood pressure. For breakfast try substituting cinnamon for that sweet flavor and for lunch and dinner try Italian seasonings.
3) Enjoy plain coffee or tea
Both coffee and tea are great sources of antioxidants but when you add things like sugar and creamer, it negates all the good parts of the coffee and tea. One 8 oz. serving of brewed coffee is only about 2 calories whereas 8 oz. of a Starbucks Caffe Mocha is about 180 calories. Taking your drink plain can help liver heath, heart health and mental health. So next time you make your trip to the local coffee shop take a moment to consider before you add even more sugar to your order. On the plus side your barista will love your uncomplicated order!
4) Eat a variety of proteins
On average Americans get plenty of protein in their diet, but it tends to be a lot of the same types of protein. Different sources of protein have different types of the 20 essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle, develop concentration and memory, regulate moods, and maintain sugar levels. Change up your diet by adding seafood, soy protein, nuts, and seeds to the mix.
5) Take a good multivitamin
The idea of taking a multivitamin may seem like common sense but it is something a lot of people don’t do. Finding a good multivitamin can promote optimal health and wellbeing. Some of the benefits include improved short-term memory, higher energy levels, restored sense of smell, boosted mood, and they even aid in preventing dental problems.
That being said it is crucial to know what you are buying when selecting your vitamins, don’t just grab whatever you see on the shelf of the grocery store. Vitamins are a largely unregulated industry. That means that producers do not have to prove the claims they make on their vitamin bottles. Fortunately, a site called consumerlab.com, which was started by a doctor, has taken on the task of testing vitamins and reporting on their quality. Simply look up a brand and they will let you know how accurate the brands claims were on the bottle.
6) Pack your lunch
I know it can be hard, you woke up late and are running out the door and it is quicker and easier to tell yourself that you’ll simply order from the restaurant around the corner from your office. The problem is there is often lots of sugar and salt hiding in foods that are professionally prepared. So do your body a favor and make a commitment to packing your lunch. Packing allows you to more closely monitor what is going into your body and saves you money. Now that is a win-win.
1) Try to stand more
It can be difficult when you have a desk job to make standing a priority, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great way to change a small part of your day to improve your health. Standing is similar to walking in the way that it increases energy, burns extra calories, tones muscles, improves posture, and ramps up metabolism. A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. So stand when you can. Instead of hitting reply to that email, take the time to walk to your coworker’s desk with your response. It is a small way to make a difference in your health.
Sitting in a chair all day can result in tight hamstrings and back muscles. This can make it harder to extend your leg or straighten your knee all the way and inhibit walking. Stretching keeps your muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. Starting your day off with a simple 10 minute stretch can be a great way to relieve muscle tension, improves blood flow and aid digestion. If you aren’t sure where to start you can search for videos on YouTube in an array of difficulty levels.
3) Get Outside-Even when it’s cold
It is never too late to take your mom’s advice and go play outside. Spending time outside helps to provide you with the vitamin D that your body needs. Vitamin D comes from the sun and is crucial in improving your mood and self-esteem. Many people experience a lack of confidence and even depression during the winter months, commonly known as Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and one way to rectify that is by getting outside and soaking up that vitamin D. Participants in studies have shown marked improvements in their daily focus when spending more time outdoors.
- 1) Try a new activity once a month
Some of us crave a routine. But there is a fine line between having routine and being bored. Going through the same motions day after day can lead to a sense of tedium, unhappiness and a loss of passion. Just doing something new once a month is enough to help lift your mood and get you out of that funk you may be feeling.
- 2) Do something nice for someone
Obviously when you do something nice for someone else they feel good. But research shows that you get just as big a boost to your spirits as the person you help. There are all kinds of ways to give back, including sending a card, an email, cooking food for someone, running and errand for a friend, taking someone to lunch or even just letting someone cut you in line at the store. Or consider volunteering at an organization that you support. Manual labor can do the body good, so go ahead and pay it forward and watch as positivity seeps into not only our mood but your life.
- 3) Plan a trip
Do you get a buzz just thinking about your upcoming travel plans? Well you aren’t alone. Many people see a spike in what is known as travel happiness more so in the planning stages of their vacation than during the actual vacation. So even if your vacation time isn’t for months, go ahead and start planning yours now. It can give you a pick me up and something to look forward to in the upcoming months.
- 4) Put down your Smart Phone
When that impulse to grab your phone strikes you throughout the day, resist. You might feel a wave of anxiety at first, but once that wave rolls through it will leave something good in its wake. Freedom. Freedom from the social drama and the constant buzz of notifications. Taking some time to unplug for even just a few minutes a day can give you the gift of silence and some peace of mind.
- 5) Boost your memory
Instead of creating a detailed grocery list, try thinking up a crazy story that features the items that you need to buy. This simple brain booster may seem a little loopy but can help to keep your mind sharp for years to come.
- 6) Quiet time each morning
If you work out in the morning, it is a perfect time to get some quite time to yourself, but even if you don’t, try to allocate a little bit of quiet for yourself each day. This can help to reduce a stress hormone called cortisol that peaks first thing in the morning. It also allows you some time to think to yourself before the busyness of the impending day begins. 10 minutes a day is enough to combat the cortisol. So sit down to drink your coffee or take a few moments for a quiet walk each day.
Many of these tips may seem like common sense or too small to make a difference but by making these small changes you are investing in your health and, in turn, yourself. Health is something we all take for granted until we don’t have it. These simple steps can give you a good start on your wellness journey.