Today is the day

Why healthy habits matter...

If you struggle to cut refined sugar out of your diet or find yourself putting off another workout, remember this: it takes a lot longer to undo the damage from an unhealthy habit than it does to start a healthy one. Sometimes the pressure of changing things right away can feel overwhelming and stifle our good intentions before ever getting started. Or, after a long stretch of good behavior, you may find yourself drowning in two pints of ice cream, lost and confused, wondering how you even got there.

Healthy habits don’t have to be complicated or rigid. We’re here to simplify things with an easy healthy habits checklist. Don’t let the number overwhelm you — there are 20 on this list. Though that might sound daunting, most of them don’t take up too much time and you may find that you already do a few of these. They’re pretty self explanatory — berries have antioxidants, water keeps you hydrated. Regardless, the takeaway is this: the healthier you are and the more you give to yourself in healthy ways, the more you can give back to others — family, friends, those in need — and the more energy you can put into your work, passions or hobbies.

Healthy Morning Routine

1. Get in some quiet time

The stress hormone cortisol peaks for most Americans in the mornings. It makes sense. Sometimes the kids act as an alarm clock before the alarm clock actually goes off. Most mornings, the mind starts rolling through to-do lists and calculating when to leave for work to make it on time before we’re even out of bed. Unplugging from technology and getting up early enough for a few moments of silence can help reduce cortisol and set the tone for the day. This might look as simple as writing in a journal for a few minutes, reading, doing a few stretches or an extended workout if there’s enough time, maybe even going for a run. Start your day off right and quietly. And, if you already have a peaceful morning routine down to a science, move right along.

 

Getting rid of excuses: If you never have enough time in the mornings, make time.

2. Have a handful of berries with breakfast

3. Drink a full glass of water as soon as you wake up

4. Take your morning coffee or tea plain

Exercise Routine

5. Get in a 20-30 minute walk or jog daily

Note: This could be your morning quiet time!

6. Lift something heavy for five minutes every day

This is for those of us who don’t already do consistent resistance training and lifting at the gym. This may also help you build up to getting back into a regular lifting routine at the gym.

7. Don’t sit all day

Even if you have a standard desk job, find moments to stand while you work or take breaks to walk around. Find new ways to sit. Use an exercise ball to sit on or invest in a high desk that you can stand and work out. Sometimes even backless chairs might force you to sit upright and not slouch.

8. Try active errands and commutes when possible

If you can’t walk or bike to work and the grocery store, try parking further back in the parking lot so you have to walk more and carry your groceries further. Take the stairs.

9. Stretch daily

You don’t have to be a contortionist, but stretching a little bit everyday will keep your joints healthy and keep injury at bay (especially if you’re doing some sort of resistance training that makes your muscles tight). You can keep it simple and even under five minutes — lunges, hamstring stretches, side stretches, stretches for your glutei and arms.

10. Get some Vitamin-D

Once again, you may be able to combine this with other things in the list. If you take a daily 20-30 minute walk or jog you’ve already checked this box too. A regular dose of the outdoors is really great for our mental wellbeing.

11. Try yoga

Yoga is so good for you. Even if you’re an active person and find other ways to stay fit, there is a reason yoga has become a global sensation. Yoga is proven to reduce cortisol the stress hormone we mentioned earlier. It also reduces insulin spikes and promotes lymphatic drainage which is key in immune health.

Healthy Nutrition Checklist

12. Eat at least one green per day

13. Cook your own food

The only way to ensure you’re getting all of the nutrients you need without too much salt, refined sugar and trans fat is to make your own meals. There is a reason takeout, frozen dinners (maybe) and eating out tastes so good, but can be so bad for your health if not done in moderation.

14. Add flavor with herbs instead of all the salt

Reduce your salt intake by using as little salt as possible and upping the flavor with more good-for-you herbs and spices like turmeric, curry, chili powder, basil, cilantro, garlic powder. There are so many flavorful options that will make you forget the salt if you explore all of the options.

15. Throw out refined sugar

There are always special occasions so, if you use the excuse, “I’ll cut out sugar after the holidays,” you might get stuck in an endless sugar loop and never make it happen. Sugar ages skin, messes with digestion, can cause moodiness and fatigue and oftentimes only increases appetite. Try replacing refined sugar with fresh fruit and creative recipes that taste sweet, but use natural ingredients like cacao nibs. Eventually, you’ll start craving fruit instead of cake and cookies.

16. Eat Magnesium-Rich foods

The best sources of magnesium include leafy greens, nuts, seeds, cacao, bananas, avocado and sweet potatoes. Magnesium is important because it’s an anti-stress hormone and also helps build up the immune system among other benefits.

17. Eat good fats

You might already know this, but eating good fats like the kind you get from fish, avocados, nuts and nut butters, coconut oil promotes heart health, reduces cholesterol and improves mood and metabolism. Bad fats have the opposite effect.

Mind over Matter Checklist

18. Do something you love every day

19. Learn to love sleep

20. Try or learn something new at least once a month

Easy enough, right? How many healthy habits can you check off the list?