When it comes to feeling healthy, it’s important to focus on the physical, mental and social aspects of life. Here is a list of easy steps you can take today to help enhance your overall wellbeing without overextending yourself or breaking the bank.
- Eat your greens.
- Reduce your risk for certain cancers and other diseases
- Help prevent weight gain and help you maintain a healthy weight
- Help lower blood pressure
- Lower your risk for type 2 diabetes
- Lower your risk for premature death
- Aid in treating digestive issues
- Keep your eyes healthy and may help prevent age-related eye diseases
- Reduce your risk for developing kidney stones
- Help to decrease bone loss
- Help you get the vitamins, minerals, fiber and nutrients that are vital to your overall wellbeing
An easy way to sneak in a serving of greens is by adding a handful of spinach or kale to a smoothie. Drinking a smoothie first thing in the morning is a tasty way to start your day with a healthy serving of fruits and veggies.
Try combining one frozen banana, 1 cup frozen fruit (berries, mango, pineapple, etc.), 1 cup greens and 1 ½ cups milk of choice. Then blend and enjoy!
2. Spend time with loved ones.
Spending time with a close friend or family member can be a wonderful way to de-stress and have some fun. Today, make plans with a loved one and engage in a healthy activity together. Maybe go for a walk and catch up while you exercise, enjoy a healthy homemade meal and test out that new recipe you’ve been wanting to try, or if your loved one lives far away, plan a phone or a video call date.
Everybody has five minutes to take for themselves. Somedays it might take more effort than others to schedule “me time,” but today, make the effort. Try meditating, working on a hobby, listening to music or reading a book. Taking the time to connect with yourself, de-stress and do something you enjoy is an important part of functioning at your optimal level. Any time you spend pampering yourself can also benefit those you care about, too, because you will be happier and healthier.
Research has shown regular physical activity can maintain and even improve your health. For example, exercise can help you manage and prevent diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
There are plenty of different ways to get active. The key is to find activities that make you happy. If you prefer individual activities, try swimming, running or walking. If you enjoy two-person activities, try dancing or tennis. If team or group activities pique your interest, try a sport such as basketball or join an exercise class like Pilates or yoga. And if you don’t have time to devote a solid half-hour or hour to fitness today, try breaking it up into three 10-minute blocks throughout the day.
Regardless of which form of exercise you choose, remember working out is about showing yourself some love and improving your overall wellbeing – it’s not a punishment.
5. Pay attention to your added sugar intake.
To eat a diet full of added sugar, you don’t have to regularly guzzle soda or devour cupcakes. Added sugar is simply that: added. It is added to several products you wouldn’t suspect including foods considered “healthy,” such as cereals, breads, fruit juices, granola bars, condiments, pasta sauces and salad dressings. To be clear, eating fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy that contain natural sugar is part of a healthy and balanced diet. However, sugars removed from their original sources, refined and added to foods should be avoided.
The American Heart Association recommends:
- No more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) or 100 calories of added sugar for the average woman per day
- No more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) or 150 calories of added sugar for the average man per day
Reducing added sugar from your diet has the potential to:
- Enhance your mental clarity and focus at work
- Shrink your risk for developing type 2 diabetes
- Help you manage a healthy weight
- Encourage better sleep and quality rest
- Support healthy skin
- Reduce your risk for heart disease,
- Lower your risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Increase your overall energy
6. Spend some time outdoors.
Scientists are starting to unearth evidence that spending time in nature has a deep impact on the human brain and behavior. Spending time outside can be an opportunity for reflection that can enhance many areas of your life.
While scientists believe nature has an important role in supporting our total wellbeing, we live in a society where people spend an increasing amount of time indoors and online. Discoveries about how nature improves our brains adds legitimacy for spending more time in nature to lead happier, healthier and more mindful lives.
Below are some ways science shows how being in nature affects our brains and bodies. Being outside can:
- Decrease stress
- Make you happier and less brooding
- May help you be kind and generous
- Make you feel more alive
Being dehydrated can negatively impact your body and mind in a multitude of ways. Today, try drinking H20 instead of sugary beverages like juice or soda. If you must have caffeine, opt for black coffee or tea.
8. Eat mindfully.
Maintaining a healthy diet isn’t always easy. With limited time, it can be even harder to focus on what you’re putting into your body. Mindful eating is all about eating with intention – the intention to care for your health and pay attention to how food affects your body. Eating a meal should be an enjoyable process and should not be rushed, so avoid eating while multitasking, such as while watching TV or working on the computer. Try practicing mindful eating today and take your time to savor every bite. Here are a few ways to help you slow down the meal process:
- Set a timer for 15 to 30 minutes and take that time to enjoy your food fully.
- Chew slowly and take smaller bites.
- To switch things up, try eating with your non-dominant hand.
Save money and promote peace of mind by eating at home tonight. When you prepare your food at home, you know exactly what is going into your body because you can control it. It’s also a way to avoid highly processed meals full of empty calories, like fast food. Taking the time to cultivate your culinary skills and try out new recipes can be an enjoyable way to spend the evening.