“Wellness” can feel like an intimidating concept. Navigating all those diet fads and cramming as many health routines into your already packed day can feel like a daunting task. Staying healthy has become a job in and of itself. And, it shouldn’t be that way. You shouldn’t have to feel like you have to go out of your way to boost your general well-being.
That’s why we’ve compiled 12 life hacks that will make staying healthy easy and manageable.
- Start Small
One of the reasons we fail at living a healthy lifestyle is that the goals we set are bigger than our capabilities. We decide that we will give up sweets entirely although we used to eat one chocolate every day. We tell ourselves that we will go to the gym four times a week although it’s been months since we got on the running mill. And, when we fail to meet our ambitious goals, we feel guilty and demoralized.
Instead of aiming too high and setting yourself up for failure, try to think small and take it one step at a time. Are you eating sweets every day after lunch? Eat fruit instead two times a week.
- Pedal to Work
We spend roughly 300 hours every year driving and about 40 hours per year stuck in traffic (80 hours in highly congested cities.) That’s a lot of time sitting and getting frustrated or worried that you will be late again.
How about you pedal to work twice a week instead of driving. Not only that cycling promotes weight loss, builds muscles, and cuts heart disease risk, but it’s also good for your mental health. Just make sure to plan your route ahead and estimate how much time you will need to get to your destination.
- Eat Your Veggies
We don’t want to sound like your mother, but you should try to eat five servings of vegetables a day. Countless studies show that a diet high in vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease, colon, lung, breast, ovaries, and stomach cancers as well as diabetes.
If you would rather eat your steak with mashed potatoes than with salad, give finger food a try. Pack carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, grapes and so on and munch on them throughout the day.
- Get the Rest You Need
You know that sleep is vital to a healthy life, so we’re not going to stress about that. But, what can you do if you have trouble sleeping? Here are some life hacks that might help:
- Try meditation;
- Eat sleep-inducing foods, like whole grains with milk or chamomile tea;
- Turn the clock away from you and don’t stress about the time;
- Write down your worries in a journal;
- Read a few pages from a book.
- Make a List
Write down all the reasons why you are having difficulties maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Take a close look at each of them to understand the root problem. Did you write that you don’t exercise because you don’t have time? As we will explain below, you don’t need to go to the gym to exercise. Stretch for five minutes after waking up, get down from the bus one stop earlier and walk to your office, and so on. It may not seem like much, but with each step, you are getting closer to creating a healthy routine.
- Schedule Some “Me-Time”
You take care of everyone around you, but how about yourself? The thing is, most glossy magazines have turned self-care into a lot of work – go to the spa, buy essential oils, light candles and take a bubble bath. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with doing all that, but it may make you feel like you are doing it all wrong if you are not proactive.
Self-care can be whatever you wanted to be. Read a few pages from a book, watch a funny video, go for a walk, meditate or just stare at the wall doing nothing. It’s up to you – just remember to schedule 20 minutes every day just for yourself.
- Physical Activity Is a Must
As mentioned already, you don’t need a gym membership to be active. Go for a walk during lunch, take a longer route to work, or just blast some music in the morning and dance in the house for five minutes.
- Buy New Shoes
According to The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, you should change your sneakers after 300-500 miles of walking or running or when you start noticing any creasing in the midsole. Most of us, however, keep our shoes for years on end, ignoring the occasional blisters we get. Do your feet a favor and go buy a new pair of shoes.
- Watch Funny Videos
Laughter is the best medicine. It may sound like a cliche, but it’s the truth. When you laugh, the body releases endorphins, which can help you reduce stress and tension. So, take a few minutes and watch a compilation of funny cat videos on YouTube.
- Eat Outside
You spend eight hours or more in front of a computer. Why not take advantage of your lunch break and go eat outside if the weather permits it. Your entire body will thank you – your eyes will get some rest, your lungs will get some fresh air, and your back and legs will stretch a bit after all those long hours of slouching in front of a computer.
- Cut out Toxic People
Sometimes it’s not the food we eat or the amount of sleep we get that cause us to feel bad, but the people we surround ourselves with. Cut any toxic relationships out of your life and focus on nurturing the friendships that help you grow on a personal and social level.
One Final Note: It’s OK to Indulge Sometimes
Don’t stress too much if you binge on a TV show instead of working out or if you eat one extra piece of cake for dessert. A healthy lifestyle is all about balance.