Tips on Making Small Healthy Improvements in Your Day to Day
It's #nationalpublichealthweek, and let's be real: the past couple of years have been anything but healthy. Aside from attempting to manage your health and the health of those around you through Covid-19 mitigation efforts, the way our lifestyles have changed have generally been detrimental to our health. We spent so much time being locked inside of our houses for fear of getting sick that our collective health has declined in other ways. From sedentary weight gain, to cognitive strain from navigating politics, to blue light overdosing, we haven't been kind to ourselves. If this sounds like what you've been going through, then guess what? You are certainly not alone as this has been a societal decline.
Now that the sun is trying to come back out and shine some light on the bit of good that the last couple of years have yielded, it's time to begin making moves towards improving our collective health. We're also two years out of practice and it feels insanely daunting to attempt the feat of "returning to normal" because we all just want to blink and have it happen. I absolutely get that! I just want to wake up and have my pants fit better...trust me. I don't want to put the work in because if everything had stayed the same, I wouldn't have to. It's frustrating! However, there are small adjustments we can do in our day to day that will make *huge* improvements vs trying to jump right into the deep end, and we'll talk about them. Here are some easy tips you can use to regain that healthy confidence you may have lost:
- Take a short, ten minute walk! - Walking for just 10 minutes a day can help you regain focus and improve mental health, improve your blood flow, and even lower your blood pressure over time. Generally speaking, even a small increase in exercise can even help you sleep better through resetting your circadian rhythm!
- Drink Water!- Yeah, I know...DUH. Right? However, staying hydrated has more benefits outside of just being hydrated! Drinking water can help you stay alert and can refresh your energy levels. Staying hydrated also helps aid in digestion and naturally helps flush toxins out of your body (you know, it's why your urine has a yellow tint to it). Being hydrated is what all the cool kids are doing :)
- Limit your device time! - As bad as social media has the potential to be, there are benefits as well. Social media and device related entertainment helps keep us up to date with world events, neighborhood events, and keeps us connected with friends and family while also allowing us to give our thoughts a break. However, too much device time is bad for our health. Try to limit the amount of time you spend on your devices and see how you feel! Too much time online can lead to muscle issues through too much sitting, and it's easy to become depressed through the absorption of bad news. Stay aware but don't obsess.
- Eat the rainbow! - You've probably heard this term before, but eating the rainbow refers to eating more fruits and veggies, many of which offer a spectrum of attractive color. The biggest draw with eating healthy in my opinion is the time it takes to prepare something. But guess what? You're about to cut down on your device time which will give you more time to food prep :) Also, keep in mind that there are things that are perfect for snacking that require very little prep! Like, baby carrots or cherry tomatoes with a good fat-free ranch dressing is a great snack. Or, aim to use substitutes: using rubbed kale in a salad over iceberg lettuce is a great and easy substitute that will add fiber and vitamins to your meal (to make rubbed kale, just use baby leaves or cut kale, dress with a little lemon juice and olive oil, and massage the leaves! This helps cut down on the bitterness and toughness of the leaves making them more palatable.) Start small and don't overwhelm yourself :)
- Be nice to yourself! - It's super easy to set goals for ourselves, and it's also very easy to miss those goals and be super hard on ourselves. We're all a work in progress and we need to remember that. If you schedule a 10 minute walk and can't make it out, don't beat yourself up: compromise. Maybe you want to walk for 10 minutes but it doesn't happen. Instead, just do sit-stand exercises instead! Just stand up, then sit down. Then, repeat 10 times. It's truly better than nothing and better than being angry at yourself for failing. You aren't failing, you're growing. Learn what works for you and make adjustments where need be.
Do you have other helpful tips to add? Let us know in the comments below!