Small things done consistently create big change.
So where can we begin. What baby steps can we take today to start to create healthy change in our lives? Here are 5 tips that we can all add in to our day today!
1. Water- Upon waking, before reaching for that first jolt of caffeine, take in some water. Water helps to flush out any toxins, to wake up the digestive system and I even find I need less caffeine because the hydration was really all I needed. Drinking water can also help to prevent kidney stones and protect your colon and bladder from infections as well as giving your skin a hydrated glow.
2. Breathing- While creating a regular meditation practice is great, it’s not realistic for everyone to practice on a daily basis. Breathing, however, we do every day all day whether we will it or not. So why not make it more beneficial!? Deep, slow breaths that expand the diaphragm (belly breathing) signals the brain that we are safe so we can begin to really calm our minds, lower heart rate and blood pressure. This is especially helpful in stressful situations – the morning commute, before a meeting or during an argument.
3. Sleep is perhaps one of the top 3 things we can do to improve our health. Getting enough sleep allows the body to recharge and it is involved in the healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Sleep can help to reduce depression and anxiety, allow the body to more effectively burn fat, and give us the energy to face our day with a clear, refreshed mind. When we are sleep deprived we tend to crave more starchy carbs and sugar and make poorer food choices. Going to bed and waking within the same 30 minutes each morning and night and getting at least 7 hours of sleep is the goal!
4. Technology- Turning off our devices and televisions at night has been proven to help us get a better quality sleep so that right there is a great reason to reduce night time technology. But what about your mental health? We are constantly bombarded with media- news media, social media, advertising and other messages that impact our thoughts. While staying current with friends, family and world news is important and encouraged, limiting the amount of time you allow media to access you is also necessary to keep a calm, present mind.
5. Movement – Can’t fit in 60 minutes of exercise in today? That doesn’t give you permission to throw in the towel and give up either. Black and White thinking when it comes to exercise is what keeps us sedentary day after day. Begin to think of a whole active lifestyle, rather than simply tallying up the minutes spent in a gym. Every little bit counts including the time spent cleaning the house, dancing in the kitchen, climbing the stairs and walking from your car. What about a plank challenge during commercial breaks, walking lunges while you carry the laundry basket or stretching in bed before your feet hit the floor.
These are such simple things we can do to create healthy long lasting change, and I encourage everyone to take a look at your habits in these areas. Even if you already have a pretty healthy lifestyle, I’d be willing to bet we can all always improve these areas!