It’s time to dust off your New Year’s Resolutions and revisit the two biggest priorities you keep putting off: your health and wellness!
All too often we set lofty goals on January 1st, jump out to a great start, but eventually falter. While setting the bar high is admirable, it’s important to create healthy habits that are sustainable over the long haul. That’s why, in celebration of #WorldHealthDay2023, we’re suggesting these small, simple changes to your routine that’ll yield huge results for your mind and body.
Fun Fact: The World Health Organization (WHO) was officially established on April 7, 1948, which is why World Health Day is celebrated on that date each year.
Tip #1: Start your day with Green Tea
Sorry coffee drinkers: there’s no better way to start your day than with a refreshing cup of green tea. Not only does green tea contain a little bit of caffeine to jumpstart your morning, it also packs a powerful punch of antioxidants called catechins, proven to boost heart health, assist weight management, and even reduce the risk of some cancers.
Green tea also contains an amino acid called L-theanine that works alongside caffeine to provide a calm, focused energy, allowing you to leave the coffee crashes and jitters behind. There are oral health benefits, too: green tea can help kill bacteria and improve dental health, reducing your risk of cavities and bad breath.
It’s officially time to swap that steaming cup of coffee for a crave that will treat you better. One of our favorite green teas to recommend is from Twinings UK.
Tip #2: Meditate for 10-Minutes
Incorporating just 10-minutes of meditation into your routine can have profound effects on your attitude and outlook each day.
It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of “real life $H!T”, but forcing yourself to pause, make time – even for just 10-minutes – can do wonders for your mind and body. It may sound silly if you’ve never tried, but focused breathing can help you regain the mental clarity we sometimes struggle to find. That brief, newfound focus will enhance your self-awareness and uplift you emotionally.
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Studies have shown that regular meditation can lower stress levels, reduce anxiety, and prevent depression. Ready to give your brain a break? Carve out a little time for a quick meditation sesh and you’ll be amazed with the results!
To get started, try an app like Headspace that will effortlessly guide you through short and simple meditation sessions.
Tip #3: Get a Better Water Bottle
The annoyingly common advice to “stay hydrated” and “drink water” is spewed so often that it dumps in one ear and pours out the other. What you probably don’t realize is that by owning a water bottle you actually love, you’ll drastically increase the odds of making that happen.
You needn’t look far to find stylish, affordable, and eco-friendly water bottles that will keep freezing cold H20 by your side 24/7. You’ll start wondering how you ever overlooked such a delightful sidekick. Just watch: bringing it with you wherever you go, all day, every day, leaving you wondering how you ever overlooked such a delightful sidekick.
It really is the simple things.
Tip #4: The 5-5-5 Workout
Hate the gym? No problem: this quick and easy workout routine requires no equipment and can be done in the comfort of your own home. All you need is a little space and 15 minutes.
The 5-5-5 Workout consists of three basic exercises that target different muscle groups, helping you build strength, improve flexibility, and increase cardiovascular fitness:
- Jumping Jacks (5 minutes) – At your own pace, do jumping jacks for 5 minutes straight. This will get your heart rate up and warm up your muscles.
- Bodyweight Squats (5 minutes) – Keep your back straight and your knees aligned with your feet as you lower yourself into a squat. Hold briefly, stand and repeat. This exercise works your lower body, targeting your glutes, quads, and hamstrings.
- Plank (5 minutes) – Finish things off with a 5-minute plank session. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, engaging your core muscles. This will strengthen your core and improve your posture.
By dedicating just 15 minutes a day to this outrageously simple workout routine, you’ll start to see immediate improvements in your health and wellness. Stay on task by finding a trainer you vibe with (like @thebodycoach), and following them on social media.
Tip #5: Write a Haiku
If “journaling” seems too serious and time-consuming, start with 17 syllables: write a haiku. Taking a few minutes each day to condense your thoughts into a short poem (that doesn’t even need to rhyme!) can help you gain valuable insights into your emotions.
Writing down your thoughts forces you to think about them, allowing you to better understand and cope with life’s challenges. You may not consider yourself the “creative type” but companies like BestSelf.co can help you unleash your inner wordsmith with guided prompts.
Don’t forget to set the bar low. Start with a haiku and who knows- maybe you’ll end up with an autobiography!
Tip #6: Try Yoga Once
It often seems like people are either yogi obsessed spiritual warriors or suddenly sour at the site of Lulu Lemon, but there IS room for in between. Even if you’re yoga adverse, hear me out: just try it once. If you hate it and never do it again, at least you’ll know for sure; and if you love it the upsides are top notch.
Child’s Pose (Balasana) is a super-simple pose for first-timers to try. It’s gentle, making it good for any fitness level, and will stretch your hips, thighs, and lower back.
To perform Child’s Pose:
- Start on your hands and knees, with your knees hip-width apart and your big toes touching behind you.
- Sit back onto your heels, allowing your knees to spread wider if necessary for comfort.
- Slowly fold your upper body forward, resting your forehead on the mat or a pillow.
- Extend your arms out in front of you, palms facing down, or rest them alongside your body with palms facing up.
- Take slow, deep breaths, focusing on releasing tension and relaxing into the pose.
Voilà! You’ve just done yoga. You’re well on your way to increased flexibility and decreased stress. Embrace the zen and keep exploring!
Tip #7: Practice Empathy
In today’s fast-paced world of social media, people are quick to point fingers and criticize. Little do they know, they’re often hurting themselves.
The willingness to accept people despite differences of opinion, preferences, and personality is a fundamental building block for self-acceptance and self-confidence. Perhaps more importantly, practicing empathy is the key ingredient key ingredient of successful relationships, helping us understand the perspectives, needs, and intentions of others by “putting yourself in their shoes”.
Berkley University’s “Greater Good Science Center” outlines some key benefits of practicing empathy, including more intimate and happier marriages. Empathy has been shown to reduce bullying, promote heroic acts, and fight inequality.
Oh, and by the way, empathy is contagious. Now go forth and spread it!
Tip #8: Swap Sugary Snacks
Snacking on sweets can be a hard habit to kick, so try swapping them out for healthy alternatives instead. By replacing your guilty pleasures with other options, you’ll more easily satisfy your cravings without constantly fighting the urge to gobble a gallon of graham crackers.
Instead of reaching for candy or cookies, indulge in fresh fruit, yogurt with honey, or a handful of nuts instead. The key is to have nutritious options on-hand, ready to go, that will not deliver essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber to keep you energized, but also satisfy your sweet tooth. Ultimately, healthy snacking will keep your blood sugar levels stable, reduce the risk of weight gain, maintain a steady mood, and make it easier to stay productive and focused.
Pro tip: high quality dark chocolates with a cocoa content of at least 70% are lower in sugar and provide valuable vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants!
Tip #9: Read Before Bed
Having a consistent bedtime routine is a game-changer when it comes to improving sleep quality, and inherently, overall health and wellness. Having a well-structured routine helps your body learn when it’s time to unwind and get rest. It’s not just about setting a specific bedtime (although you can do that, too), but instead, following a simple sequence of calming activities.
Reading can be one of the best things to do before bed to relax your mind. To create a peaceful environment, make sure to read from an actual book (not a screen) and pick an enjoyably lighthearted topic. Add some smart lights and you can easily switch them off without your head leaving the pillow.
Quality sleep helps repair your body’s cells, strengthen your immune system, and regulate your appetite. It’s not a stretch to say that good sleep contributes to a healthier and happier life. A few minutes of reading before bed could be the key to unlocking better sleep- give it a shot! You could also try meditating, taking a bath, or listening to stories and sounds from a service like Calm.
Tip #10: Go Outside!
Put down the phone, turn off the TV, and get outdoors: it’s literally good for your health! Although spending time outdoors goes hand-in-hand with physical activity (walking, hiking, cycling, etc), releasing endorphins and supporting heart health in the process, that’s just where the benefits begin.
Soaking up the sun in the great outdoors helps regulate your circadian rhythms, especially in the morning, helping to reset our internal clock by suppressing melatonin (the sleep hormone). It also increases the production of serotonin (the “feel-good” hormone). This nudges our body’s synchronization, helping us feel alert during the day and sleepy at night, contributing to a healthy sleep cycle.
And if that wasn’t enough, get this: being surrounded by greenery has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels. So put some houseplants in your workspace, make it a point to venture outside, and embrace the restorative powers of mother nature. Looking for some extra inspiration? Check out All Trails which catalogs the best places for pedestrians to enjoy the outdoors.