Living a healthy lifestyle does not have to look like the lives of picture-perfect people who seem to have endless hours in the day to prepare delicious-looking smoothie bowls or practice intricate inversions with their sculpted bodies.
We often get trapped in an “all or nothing” mindset—the fear that if we can’t lose 20 pounds, eat only raw, vegan foods and switch all our cosmetics to natural ingredients, we might as well give up everything. Go easy on yourself, you’re only human! Let’s take a look at five ridiculously easy ways to have a healthier day.
1. Make a Gratitude List.
Image credit: Mandy
Keep a small notebook next to your bed or in your kitchen and make a habit of taking three minutes in the morning to jot down two things you’re grateful for. Regardless of how trivial the things may be, the important part is truly feeling grateful.
Practicing gratitude can make you feel happier and more full. And remember, it is a practice! Don’t worry if it feels forced the first few times, as you begin to make a conscious effort, you will soon find genuine gratitude flowing.
2. Swap the Morning Coffee for a Warm Lemon Water.
Relax, no one’s telling you to give up your beloved caffeine. All I’m suggesting is that you savor your coffee later in the day, so that you really feel the benefit of the caffeine rush. By swapping your first morning drink to warm lemon water, your immune system gets a boost and your digestive system gets moving. It will help regulate your bowel movements and rehydrate your body too.
3. Get Outside.
Image credit: Mandy
Nature is beneficial and possibly even essential to our health. Sadly, many of us don’t have the luxury of being immersed in nature on a regular basis, but even just a few minutes of sunlight and fresh air can brighten your day, especially if you spend most of your hours indoors.
You know that late afternoon moment when your brain seems to be coming to a screeching halt? Researchers have found that nature is a restorative force for mental fatigue (Kaplan, 1995). So ditch the afternoon Facebook break and gain some focused energy by taking 5 or 10 minutes to sit or walk outside.
4. Drive Mindfully.
As humans with busy lives, we tend to project a constant sense of rush on the road, which usually makes driving a less than pleasant experience and we arrive to our destination frustrated or stressed out. Here’s a simple mindfulness exercise you can experiment with next time you drive. See if you notice a difference when you arrive home after a long day working.
Before you begin driving, get as comfortable as possible, take a few deep breaths and mentally state that you intend to arrive to your destination safely and relaxed. As you drive, engage all of your senses one at a time. Feel the seat supporting your body as you comfortably sit in a relaxed position. Hear the noises of the road without labeling as good or bad.
See everything around you clearly. When you find an emotion rising in you because of that jerk who cut you off, simply breathe and repeat your intention to remain relaxed and arrive at your destination safely.
If you’re stuck in traffic, try sending loving thoughts to the other drivers on the road. Throw out love like “may you arrive at your destination safely” or “may you have a wonderful day.” It may feel silly at first, but it can create a real shift in your mood and energy level.
5. Eat with Purpose.
Image credit Mandy
Ever have one of those moments where you suddenly finish the bag of chips and realize you forgot to breathe and actually taste the chip? Yeah, me too. Make a habit of slowing down for lunch. Familiarize yourself with your food. What color is it? Does it have a smell?
Take small bites and give yourself time to feel the texture, absorb the flavors, and breathe before you go back in for another bite. This will help to prevent overeating as you’re more likely to hear your body telling you it’s full (and yes, it will signal this!). Even more, paying attention to your food is such a simple way to inspire healthy eating.
The path to health doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Make small but realistic changes to living a healthier lifestyle; after all, progress is progress no matter how small the steps may be. You’re still moving forward. Cheers to happy, healthy living!