Healthy living is made up of the things you choose to do every day. These things might not feel momentous in the moment, but when done consistently over time, these actions form the foundation of your health. In this article, I’m going to share with you my top lifestyle suggestions for good health, broken down into five areas. When incorporated into your daily routine, these tips can help you live a healthier, happier, more peaceful life.
- Start your day with 1-2 glasses of warm water. This helps warm the body and promotes healthy bowel function.
- Eat regular, sit-down meals. Taking the time to sit down and eat your meals, preferably at the same time each day, makes healthy eating a habit and encourages you to consume your food in a mindful way.
- Avoid overeating. Eating too much can trigger discomfort, digestive issues and weight gain. Aim to feel satisfied and not hungry anymore, rather than full.
- Minimize snacking. Don’t make snacking a habit. If you must have a snack, opt for protein-rich foods to maintain your blood sugar.
- Eat slowly. Chew your food thoroughly and make mealtimes relaxed and pleasant.
- Eat cooked foods first. If you’re eating a combination of cooked and raw foods at a meal, eat the cooked foods first. This keeps your stomach warm, which promotes better digestion.
- Don’t drink liquids with meals. Consuming beverages with your meals dilutes your digestive enzymes—a crucial component to good digestion.
- Avoid eating cold foods. Don’t eat food directly from the fridge. Allow it to warm up before consuming. Don’t drink ice water, cold water or drinks, or smoothies. Always eat a warm breakfast.
- Eat organic. When possible, choose organic foods over conventional.
- Eat a variety of foods. Don’t get in a rut of eating the same foods every day. Switch it up. This prevents nutritional deficiencies, promotes good gut health, and prevents food intolerances.
Rest and Sleep
- Get enough sleep. Aim to get 8 hours or more of sleep a night. Most healing takes place while you’re asleep.
- Retire early at night. Be in bed before 10 p.m. to help rejuvenate your body.
- Make time for rest. Do your best to rest lying down for 10-20 minutes midday.
- Stay off screens. Blue light, which electronic devices such as smartphones and laptops, emit in large amounts, can affect the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone). Stop using your cellphone, iPad, computer, and TV an hour before going to bed. If you must use devices, wear blue light blocking glasses or install an app that blocks blue light.
- Avoid bright lights in the evenings. Bright lights can affect your circadian rhythm by tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Dim the lights in your home in the evening.
- Create an optimal sleep environment. A quiet, cool, and dark room can help promote a sound slumber.
- Write out your thoughts. Try writing out whatever thoughts are occupying your mind in the evening. This helps to clear your mind before bed so you can more easily fall asleep.
- Practice deep breathing before bed. Taking a few minutes to practice deep breathing before bed can help reduce anxiety, relieve tension, and induce sleep.
Exercise & Movement
- Avoid vigorous exercise. Vigorous exercise can make a person feel better initially, but over time, it can overstimulate and wear down the adrenal glands. Mild or moderate exercise is preferred. Stretching, Pilates, rebounding, walking, gentle hiking, and bicycling are all good to include.
- Stop exercise before becoming exhausted. Just as with vigorous exercise, exercising to the point of exhaustion quickly wears down your adrenal glands.
- Consume warm water after exercise. Humans have to use energy to warm the water to absorb it, so although cold water may feel quenching, it will take longer to be utilized. Cold water is also hard on the digestive system, liver and kidneys.
- Get outdoors every day. Try to spend some time outdoors in the fresh air and sunlight every day. Being in nature is particularly beneficial, but even a quick walk around the block is good for your body, mind and soul.
- Stand up throughout your day. If you work a desk job, ensure that you stand up and move around for a minute or two every half hour.
Thoughts, Attitudes & Emotions
- Seek and live your truth. Always express yourself with as much integrity as possible in all of your relationships and actions.
- Stay present. Do your best to stay in the present moment. This reduces a wandering, overactive mind which can cause anxiety and mental distress.
- Observe negative thoughts. When negative thoughts pop into your mind, simply observe them without judgment. Don’t judge yourself for having them either, as they’re a normal part of being human. Doing this will take away their power over you.
- Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Practice acknowledging all of the things in your life, both big and small, that you’re grateful for.
- Forgive and forget. Holding onto anger, resentment and grudges wastes your energy and ultimately hurts you. Work towards forgiving those that have wronged you and making peace with the situation.
- Embrace spiritual alignment and grounding. Partake in activities that help you feel connected, aligned, whole, and at peace. Meditating, walking, gardening, and sitting under large trees are great options.
- Don’t rush healing. For successful healing, settle in for the long haul and do your best to enjoy the process.
- Meditate daily. Adopt a daily meditation practice. This will help reduce stress and anxiety and improve your overall well-being.
- Learn to say no. Get comfortable with setting boundaries and turning down requests and invitations to protect your energy and well-being.
- Be kind to yourself. We’re often our own worst critics. Make an effort to be kind and gentle with yourself, as you would be with a child or your best friend.
- Listen to your body. Use your body as a guide to self-care. If you’re cold, drink tea and cozy up with a blanket. If you’re tired, lay down to rest or go to bed earlier. If you need to empty your bowels or urinate, don’t hold it—find a bathroom as soon as possible.
- Switch to non-toxic products. Conventional products are full of harmful chemical ingredients that can negatively impact your health. Switch to non-toxic skincare, personal care, and household cleaning products.
- Do things you enjoy. Don’t forget to have fun and do things that bring you joy.
- Make time for yourself. While taking care of those around you is important, it’s also crucial to take care of yourself and carve out time that is just for you.
- Laugh every day. Laughter cools down the stress response, soothes tension, and increases feel-good endorphins. To trigger laugher, watch comedy, talk to your funniest friend, or read a funny book.
Apply these small, daily habits
While you can’t control everything in your life, you can control the things you do every day to support your physical and mental health. Don’t feel like you have to apply all of the above tips at once. Start by picking a few you’d like to incorporate into your routine and continue to add more as you feel ready. With consistency, you’ll be amazed at the difference these tips can make in your overall well-being.