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I got inspired to write this post due to the overwhelming nature of day-to-day life. Or the seemingly overwhelming nature of busy days. I have been busier than usual lately and have found myself not prioritizing my own health as much as I should have. I have big goals in mind but I still want to make sure that I take care of my mind and body the best I can so I can FEEL GOOD and perform my best – both mentally and physically.
Sometimes it’s easy to feel like if we aren’t doing ALL THE THINGS it’s easier to do nothing. This mentality can be a little tricky because even the smallest of actions that we take toward health really add up! Every little step matters. When it comes to health it’s not necessarily all about the compliance aspect as much as it is about consistency.
I am so incredibly sure that we are all our own best advocates when it comes to health. No one knows our bodies better than we do and what it feels like day in and day out. We know when what our “normal” is and when our bodies feel “off.” I think we can take this information and use it to set ourselves up for success and get closer to our own individual pictures of health.
While it is difficult to do everything at once and make quite a few radical changes, doing simple things to bring us closer to health is much less challenging and can help us to feel better in the moment and eventually set us up for success in the long term.
#1 Drink Some Water
This is possibly one of the easiest hacks that can get you feeling better almost instantly. We’ve all heard that over 60% of our bodies are made of water and it’s so easy to forget to hydrate sometimes.
Grab your water bottle, fill it up with some filtered water and drink away! No need to go for the gallon challenge but just sipping on water throughout the day can help prevent dehydration and keep you feeling awesome.
#2 Get Outside
Connecting with nature or being in the sun has got to be one of the best feelings. Even if you aren’t an outdoor junkie, you’ve got to admit that feeling the sun or wind on your skin feels downright awesome. It’s like a breath of fresh air when you step outside, out of the concrete jungle and into nature.
Even if you aren’t surrounded by trees, water or mountains, there’s a good chance that just getting outside can help change your mindset and get you out of any funk you might be in. I’ve written before on how I view my time outdoors as “church” and stand by this 100%. Being outside connects me to the rest of the world in a way that fills me with purpose and clarity.
#3 Do a (Quick) Meditation Session
By now I’m sure you’ve heard that meditating is supposed to be good for you, right?! One of the most awesome things about meditating is that it can provide a quick mindset “reset” and leave you feeling more at ease.
I think one of the coolest things about meditation is that there are so many different options when it comes to choosing one that works best for you. There are guided apps like Calm and Headspace, books you can read and my personal favorite: just sitting in silence and noticing what thoughts come through your mind. Not judging, just noticing.
Right now I am challenging myself to meditating for 30 days straight. Today was day #1 and I already feel more calm than I would have if I had skipped it. I am excited to see where this experiment takes me! I currently use the Headspace app and really enjoy it.
#4 Go for a Walk
This one is similar to #2 but focuses instead on the benefits involved in walking. Getting the blood flowing and our heart beating a little faster is a great way to get a boost of energy if you’ve been sitting for an extended period of time.
I love to take my dog for a walk when I am feeling a little down or stuck or go by myself if I am looking for a more meditative effect. You could even take a walk in nature for an added bonus mood-boosting effect!
#5 Write Down 3 Things You are Thankful For
When we challenge ourselves to see the good in our lives it really sets us up well for seeing the good in our lives during other times in the day. I think this is particularly helpful in retraining the brain to see the positive instead of focusing on the negative.
Especially during the winter (read: gray) months, it is so important to remember that there is so much to be thankful for! I like to use this little tip when I am feeling particularly overwhelmed with all that I “have to” do. I like to instead flip my mindset and try to be thankful that I have dishes to do from a great meal that I was able to make. Not everyone has these luxuries! It really is all about the mindset.
#6 Get Some Movement In
Whether this is a HIIT workout or some gentle yoga, getting movement in is one of my absolute favorite ways to instantly feel better. Exercise and movement in general releases endorphins in our brains that trigger feelings of happiness.
Not to mention that being more active can boost our confidence in ourselves, it can be a great way to boost health in the long run. Bone strengthening, cardiovascular improvement and improved metabolism are some of the few benefits that movement can provide. Go get active!
Practicing breathing techniques is just for yoga, right? Wrong! Breathing techniques have long been used to help us transition from the sympathetic nervous system into the parasympathetic nervous system – aka the “rest and digest” mode.
When we are in parasympathetic mode, our heart rates slow down, we are able to absorb more nutrients from our food and curb inflammation in the body. Just simply breathing can bring us out of the sympathetic system into a more relaxed state.
One of my favorite techniques is the 4-7-8 techniques where you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7 seconds and breath out for 8 seconds. Simply 4 rounds of this can put us at a greater awareness of our surroundings and help us feel more relaxed and calm. Try it at home!
#8 Put on Blue Blocking Glasses
This is one of my favorite new things to do! All day we are exposed to artificial blue lights from lightbulbs, television screen, phones and computers. These lights can start to affect our natural circadian rhythms and cause eyestrain, headaches and make it feel hard to get a good nights sleep.
Wearing amber lenses greatly reduces the amount of blue light that reaches our eyes and really makes a difference! I have been wearing mine throughout the day and especially before bed to make sure I can get as much deep sleep as possible. My favorite pair is here! I am also excited to get a blue-tinted lens for daytime wear. These will be helpful for computer screens and electronic usage and reducing the amount of strain on my eyes and help to reduce headaches.
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