March 29, 2021
Top 10 Daily Wellness Habits for a Better You
When it comes to personal health and wellness (especially during a global pandemic), we could all use some pointers. While it’s likely that the vast majority of us kicked our own health habits to the curb the past year, that doesn’t mean you can’t break bad habits or establish new ones. One of the most important things I’ve learned in life is that you can’t really take care of anything or anyone until you’ve taken care of yourself.
Keep reading to get a head start on a better you with our top tips.
Start the Day Off Right
When you wake up, fill the biggest cup in your house with fresh water and hydrate! Water aids in digestion, boosts skin health, can aid in weight maintenance by helping to reduce overeating and sugar cravings, can improve memory and mood, can help manage anxiety and headaches, and, overall, keeps your body working the way it’s meant to. The health benefits of water are endless.
Eat a good breakfast! I’m not talking about cold pop-tarts and an extra-large Starbucks Frappuccino. Instead, reach for something that will leave you feeling fresh and won’t weigh you down, literally. Some healthy breakfast choices include eggs, fruit, oatmeal, and Greek yogurt. You don’t have to give up your daily cup of coffee either; just do your best not to overfill it with sugar. And if you want to get really wild, add some cinnamon: a spice with a laundry list of health benefits that scores you bonus wellness points.
Do something for you. Whether that’s going for a morning walk/run, writing in your journal, meditating, or throwing on some tunes and having a solo-dance session, do something that makes you feel good. By starting your day with self-love, you’re much more likely to continue on in the same fashion.
Give Yourself a Midday Boost
Get moving! Sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day wears on the body. While not everyone has time to squeeze in a two-hour gym session, find a minimum of fifteen to thirty minutes to get your heart rate up. If you’re working from the office, go for a walk around the block on your lunch break—the fresh air is a natural mood booster. On especially cold days, take a tour of the inside of your building, adding in some trips up and down the stairs. For those of you working from home, turn on YouTube and find a free home workout. Just remember: a body in motion stays in motion.
Take a break. Short breaks throughout the day are a great way to help relax your mind and body. Take two minutes to back away from the computer screen and do anything but work. Engaging in deep breathing exercises is an easy way to decrease stress and increase energy; you can find examples of these exercises online. If you’re an overachiever, incorporate trips to the water fountain into your breaks to check stay hydrated and keep moving off of your wellness to-do list!
Don’t forget lunch. When you’re cramming for a deadline or just “on a roll” at work, it’s easy to forget to eat. But, we all know that skipping a meal means you’re more likely to head to the snack cabinet later on. Instead, block off 30 minutes on your calendar daily so you can treat your body the way it wants to be treated, by eating the well-rounded lunch you deserve.
While treating yourself the right way is important, helping those around you is another great way to practice self-wellness. According to Psychology Today, giving to others boosts the “Happiness Trifecta” of neurochemicals: dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. So, even if you can’t afford to donate thousands of dollars to your favorite charity, you can still give by incorporating small acts of kindness into your daily schedule.
The Happiness Trifecta
1. Dopamine is related to arousal and motivation and is what causes the good feeling you get when someone ‘likes’ your Facebook post or when you complete a task. Though dopamine is typically a fleeting happiness, it’s what helps us start positive habits and get through our to-do lists.
2. Serotonin is connected to sleep, digestion, memory, learning, and appetite. It helps stabilize mood by regulating anxiety, happiness, and well-being. Serotonin is triggered by feelings of accomplishment along with receiving recognition from others.
3. Oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone” or “hugging drug”, is related to our social interactions. It’s the feeling that’s behind love, friendship, and deep trust in others. Oxytocin creates lasting positive feelings when you share a meal with someone, open up emotionally, and embrace in a warm hug.
End on a High Note
Reminisce on all of the things you have to be grateful for. A great way to do this is to start a gratitude journal, where you recognize three things that you are thankful for each day. These items can be big, e.g. “I’m grateful for my family”, or small, e.g. “I’m grateful for the two cups of coffee that got me through the day”. Then, when you’re having a hard day, pull out your gratitude journal and remind yourself of the reasons you have to smile.
Instead of rushing to get ready and leaving the house disheveled in the morning, prep yourself for tomorrow. Avoid the Starbucks run by setting up your coffee maker so it’s ready when you wake up. You’ll save time by skipping the line at the drive-through and you’ll save cash, which helps to reduce money-related stress. Another wallet-friendly tip is to meal prep. A trip to the grocery store costs less money and time than grabbing an unhealthy lunch five days a week. And don’t forget to check tomorrow’s calendar before bed so you feel better prepared walking into work in the morning. Ultimately, whatever it is that you can do now to help you stress less tomorrow morning, do it.
And, quite possibly the most important thing you can do for yourself and your health is to get sleep. According to the CDC, 1 out of every 3 U.S. adults is not getting the recommended seven hours of zzz’s each night. Unfortunately, if you don’t give your body time to rest and recharge, it’ll be hard to accomplish much of anything. So, do yourself a favor and get some sleep!
Tips For Better Sleep:
- Create a pre-sleep routine. Designate a time to shut off all devices and wind down.
- Ditch the afternoon caffeine.
- Instead, go for a short walk.
- Make your bedroom a stress-free space. Remove work-related items.
- Skip the nightcap. Studies have linked alcohol to sleep disorders.
- Limit naps. The American Sleep Association recommends keeping naps to 30 minutes or less.
- Power down devices. Blue light messes up your body’s sleep-wake cycle. Eliminate screen time 2–3 hours before bed.
- Treat yourself to nice sheets. You spend around a third of your life in bed; do so in comfort.
- Set the tone, literally. If music relaxes you, create a playlist of ambient sounds and/or guided meditation.
- Turn down the thermostat. The National Sleep Foundation says that ideal sleeping temperature is between 60–67 degrees.
- Don’t snack late night. Eating late can lead to poor sleep and disrupt your natural release of melatonin, the “sleep hormone”.
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Sources: Happyfeed.co, Psychology Today, Healthline, and Openfit.com