In today’s hectic world, many people neglect taking care of themselves, and their physical and mental health suffers as a consequence. If you’re not used to making time for yourself, you may find it hard to know where to start, but adopting a healthy habit needn’t be a challenge — and you may really enjoy it once you get started. Here are five healthy habits you can start today.
Mindfulness has become popular in recent years as more people seek to find moments of calm in an otherwise busy day. Mindfulness is the state of focusing on the present. It’s a therapeutic technique that allows those practicing it to acknowledge and accept their thoughts, feelings and body sensations. Many people find it helps with alleviating anxiety, depression, insomnia, high blood pressure and pain. It can help you sleep better and focus more easily, and allows you to become a more activated you.
Take Up a Physical Activity
If you can get into the habit of taking part in physical activity at least three times a week, you’ll reap both mental and physical benefits. Exercise releases endorphins, a chemical your body produces that give you feelings of euphoria. The more you exercise, the more endorphins your body releases, and the happier you feel. Exercise results in improved physical health too. It makes you stronger and fitter, and can help with weight loss. Many people avoid physical activity because they don’t enjoy running or training in a gym, but the benefits lie more in being active than in the activity you’re doing. If you do something fun and that you love — dancing, cycling, swimming — you’ll put more in and get more out.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
If you’ve ever tried to be productive after a poor night’s sleep, you’ll know for yourself how vital sleep is for your mental health. Lack of sleep can cause you to gain weight, become more forgetful, and weaken your immunity. Doctors estimate that getting at least seven hours’ sleep a night helps support a healthy heart, allows your body to heal after injury or illness, and reduces stress. Even naps in the day can improve cognitive function, memory, and focus. You can promote a good night’s sleep by setting — and sticking to — a set bedtime, turning off electronics a few hours before bedtime, and meditating before sleep.
Drink More Water
Everyone knows you need water to stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause sleeplessness, dizziness, hair and skin degradation, and rapid breathing. But water is good for you in many more ways too. It stimulates the flow of hormones and nutrients that release endorphins, and flushes out toxins that cause you to feel uncomfortable and sluggish. It also helps transport nutrients vital for digestion to your muscles and organs, and improves your physical appearance too. When you’re hydrated, your skin glows, your eyes are bright, and your hair is glossy because water delivers the vitamins and minerals these functions need.
Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Sugar, and eating less of it, has become a hot topic in healthy living conversations. In the last few years, the negative impact it has on overall health — not just dental health — has been well documented by medical professionals. It can prematurely age you, increase the risk of depression, cause acne and weight gain, and increase your risk of heart disease. But if you have a sweet tooth, you needn’t worry about going cold turkey. You can switch sugar for applesauce in baking recipes, drink water instead of soda, and reduce the amount of sugar and syrup you use in hot drinks, pancakes, and cooking.
You can significantly improve your health by committing to changing your lifestyle. Keep in mind you’re more likely to stick to a new routine if you don’t take on too much in one go, so try implementing one or two of these changes and see your physical and mental wellbeing improve.