4 Easy and Effortless Ways to Improve Your Health
Getting healthy doesn’t have to mean early morning trips to the gym or extreme diets that drain your willpower. Some of the simplest health-conscious actions tend to have the greatest effect on our overall well-being. Remember that health isn't an end goal. Think of it more like a path toward greater happiness and life satisfaction. Try to implement some of these healthy practices into your daily routine so you can build healthy habits that stick with you in the long run.
1. Stop Overeating
Whether you’re eating healthy or not, overeating can seriously impede your weight-loss goals. In fact, people tend to overeat healthy foods because they feel less guilty about reaching for a second helping. As with everything in life, moderation is key. The first step in curbing excessive eating habits is being aware of the internal and external cues influencing them. For example, we eat to ease boredom, improve our mood, and reduce stress. At the same time, how much we eat is highly influenced by food advertisements, social expectations, and portion sizes.
Try to be more mindful of how your body feels before grabbing a snack or another helping of dinner. Are you actually hungry? Or is something else influencing your decision to eat? While you’re eating, pay attention to the experience by turning off the TV and savoring your meals slowly. Digital scales and measuring cups for portion control can help you keep track of and restrict portion sizes. Fresh food delivery services can also help you stay in control of how much you eat because they provide pre-measured ingredients for accurate portion sizes.
2. Go to Bed One Hour Earlier
We all know sleep is important, but one-third of us don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis. The majority of us need at least seven hours of sleep a night for optimal health and functioning. Any less than this puts you at risk of developing chronic physical health conditions and mental distress. Going to bed just one hour earlier can make a huge difference in how you feel the next day. You can expect to worry less, get along better with others, and enjoy greater productivity in your work life. Plus, people who get more sleep tend to reduce their likelihood of sickness, weight gain, and car accidents. If you have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about getting treatment for insomnia. If you’re simply a night owl, try to ditch the late-night television watching for a week and see how you feel.
3. Spend More Time Doing Nothing
Who would have thought that part of a healthy lifestyle involves doing nothing? With a busy lifestyle, taking a timeout is one of the best things you can do to recharge your mind. According to HappinessMatters, some of your relaxation time should involve doing as little as possible, if only for five minutes of your day. This means no phones, no household chores, and no stressing over everything you have to get done. You might feel like you’re just wasting time, but you’re allowing your brain to rejuvenate so you can tackle your busy life with greater zest and efficiency.
4. Get Moving for 22 Minutes Each Day
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends we get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week—which is the equivalent of about 22 minutes every day. You can even break this up into two 10-minute sessions if you're having trouble finding the time to exercise. Just making an effort to walk whenever possible can help you reach these recommendations. Park a little farther away from your job, get off the bus a stop early, or take a short jaunt around the block on your break. Walking is great for your heart, helps stave off depression and anxiety, and reduces pain in the body. It also puts less strain on your bones and joints than other forms of exercise, so it’s one of the best options for people who have been relatively sedentary for a while.
Staying healthy on a busy schedule really is possible—but, you must be prepared for setbacks with careful planning and patience. Set goals, focus on the long-term, and realize that the small and easy steps you take each day can lead you to the greatest success.
- Jennifer McGregor