Everyone wants a lifestyle that is healthy and rewarding, but few people have the energy to make that happen. And that is not because healthy things are difficult to enforce but a bigger problem at hand. A lot of us do not like change, even if it is good. There is great inertia within us when it comes to committing to long-term plans; relationships, jobs, and even lifestyle. Hence the first and foremost thing you have to realize is that change would not come overnight. You will have to make an effort but the best part is you can start with baby steps and take it from there.
A healthy life is imperative for so many reasons. When you take care of your body and soul, it takes care of you in return. It is a vital relationship and as you will learn, one that is not so difficult, to begin with. In this article, we discuss some of the ways you can commit to a healthy lifestyle this year. It’s never too late to start taking care of yourself!
1. It all starts with the purge
Let’s face it. We have all been there. A fridge full of yummy processed foods and a cabinet with the choicest junk out there. It is not just hard starting a healthy day when you have too many snacks around, it is next to impossible. And distraction is the last thing that you need when you have just committed to a healthier lifestyle.
Purge your kitchen of all the tempting items. Processed foods such as chips, cookies, twinkies, processed dairy items, and all that kind of stuff. Tons of sugar and unhealthy ingredients are the base for such food items. The U.S is obsessed with oily fried things and has one of the highest rates of obesity seen anywhere around the world. Let go of the junk food in your fridge and pantry. Your body will thank you.
Of course, this doesn’t mean eating only greens and veggies all year round. Protein is vital to the proper functioning of the muscles and hence should to consumed in moderate to greater amounts. This includes meats of all kinds, especially red meat although leaner cuts that do not have as much quantity of fat. White meat and seafood are typically healthier options too. You can also take carbs but in smaller more controlled portions.
Remember you are what you eat and your body is your temple so treat it like one!
2. Exercise is your holy grail
Exercising daily is great to keep in shape and stay happy. Various studies over the years have rightfully proven that exercise doles out neurotransmitters within the brain by the ladle-full. Serotonin and dopamine especially are directly related to a sense of fulfillment and happiness – both we often seem to struggle with. Incorporating a little exercise in your schedule, will not only keep you fit but will also keep you happier and end your days on a serene note.
Exercising does not necessarily mean that you have to go to the gym or spend thousands of dollars on fancy equipment. No, you can start with things as simple as taking an early morning jog around the square or perhaps a more leisurely walk in the evening. You can do modest exercise routines, start your days with a little stretching perhaps, or take your bicycle out for a ride.
You can also go for something more subtle like yoga that helps calm your body while engaging your body too. It is a great way to unwind at the end of a long day and is certainly recommended. Remember, if it is important enough, you will find the time and will to make it happen.
3. Limit your screen time
We live in an era of phones, TVs laptops, and so many other devices. With the internet powering so many devices and the tempting beckoning of the ‘Gram, it is difficult to stay away from all that. Mobile apps keep you connected throughout the day and TV services are becoming more and more elaborate with hundreds of channels to watch. There are multiple streaming apps out there too, with Netflix leading the bunch. There are just too many things to relax to, aren’t they?
Watching things online or on your TV is a great way to relax, but is it the best way too? Unfortunately no. Prolonged screen time like that on our phones and TVs is quite damaging in the long run as studies show. While a healthy amount, say 2 hours a day is perfectly normal and within acceptable limits, anything more can be quite draining. Your eyes are strained, your muscles in spasm and that is not good.
While it is good to relax with a movie every now and then, make sure you do not overdo it. It is a step closer to the healthier lifestyle you have been fantasizing about for so long.
4. Negative triggers are a no-go zone
So many people fail to consider mental health as a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. It is very important that your mind be healthy before you can even approach the physical aspect. One thing that you should do is identify the negative triggers in your life and religiously avoid them. If being on Instagram makes you feel bad about your body or yourself, delete that account.
There should be no space for bad emotions in your life and you are the best judge of your negative triggers. Identify them and cut them out of your life. You are on a rollercoaster that only goes up and crying while binging on a romance series probably is not the best plan.
5. Sleeping on time makes all the difference
We all underestimate the power of sleeping on time. Up late, binging a Netflix series, it is sometimes easy to lose track of time. The result is sleeping late, getting up late, missing out on school or work, and reduced productivity. None of which is a good thing.
Try to time your activities. Make sure you are in bed by 10 PM so you get a good 8 hours of sleep as recommended. Try to shut off all devices an hour before you go to bed so you do not end up scrolling cat videos on your phone at 2 AM. Most importantly, unwind with something healthy before you get in bed. You can try reading a book for a little while or maybe just listen to some light interesting podcast. Something that sets the tone for your night. After all, what is a good night’s sleep if you don’t dream interesting things?
Opting for a healthier lifestyle is a choice that will come with consequences. A lot of things are going to change around you, relationships, people and your life may as well flip 180 degrees. However, a good dedication will make all the difference to this journey.
Remember to take baby steps, stay hydrated, sleep on time and cut down on your screen time. Choose to indulge yourself in healthier activities, exercise, and catch up with your friends over a weekend coffee. Nourish your mind like you would your body and the rest will work out on its own.
Who said a healthy lifestyle was a difficult thing to do?