Overall positive changes to your mental and physical health will never happen overnight, nor should you try to make them happen overnight! A true change to your lifestyle comes over time, by you deciding to make small steps in the right direction, every single day. Here are a few simple things you can do on a regular basis to better your intellectual, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
Laugh Out Loud
Laughing burns calories and works your abdominal muscles, so surround yourself with funny people. It also gives you a small endorphin rush, making you feel instantly happier. A study of elderly men and women back in 2014 noted that participants who watched a funny video had decreased stress hormone levels and improved memory.
Go To Sleep At 10 p.m.
Aunna Herbst, a doctor at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, claims that studies suggest the “optimal healing time for sleep is between 10 p.m. and midnight.” Now, we realize that everyone has different schedules. Nurses may fall asleep at 8 or 9 p.m. in order to wake up at 4 or 5 a.m. Fitness trainers may hit the sack around 1 a.m. and wake up at 10 a.m. for a personal session at the gym. The main goal here is to get at least seven hours of sleep, in order for your body and mind to fully recharge. Ever hear that saying, “Nothing good happens past 2 a.m.”? Staying up late can often lead to bad decisions, like excessive drinking, unhealthy late-night snacking, or worse! Get yourself in bed at a decent hour, or you’ll be pretty useless and have low energy the following day.
Grab Your Apron
Cook! That’s right, cook! Not only is there this big misconception that cooking is stressful and always ends with a big pile of dirty dishes and a messy kitchen, this hobby is actually incredibly therapeutic. It calms and centers a lot of people, especially women, much like in the way cleaning or straightening up does. More benefits? It’s fun! And entertaining. Cooking shows people your love and gratitude for them. You can create a meal for someone special and express your feelings towards them without words. It’s all a part of making you and someone else happy. Win, win. When you cook, you are in control of the portion and the ingredients, so you can make it as healthy as you want. People who cook on a regular basis are healthier and usually a smaller weight than people who go out to dinner or get take-out food. They are more likely to make better choices and eat smaller portions.
Eat Good Fats
Grab a handful of raw almonds or unsalted cashews to chomp on in between meals when you’re starving. Add an avocado spread to your morning toast for some extra fill. Good fats such as these help with weight control and improve your metabolism. They also have vital vitamins and minerals and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.
Ah, the outdoors. Remember the outdoors? It’s right outside your window and it’s freaking beautiful. The most breathtaking sunsets, mountain views, and furry animals are far more enjoyable to look at than a television screen. In 2015, a study found that people who took a walk outside, through tons of nature and gorgeous scenery, had fewer negative thoughts compared with those who walked down a busy street. You will probably maintain a healthier weight too, because you will be increasing your physical activity for the day. Healthy people love to find any excuse to get outside. And the smells! Freshly cut grass, dandelions, cold spring water running down the creek…
Participate In Beneficial, Two-Sided Relationships
Healthy people usually don’t stand for toxic things in their life. This can be anything from drugs to bad boyfriends. Typically, people with great mental health only involve themselves in friendships and relationships that are positive, giving, and most of all, two-sided, meaning that both parties give and take. There isn’t just one person doing everything and giving everything. Not to mention, spending good, quality time with a boyfriend, your family, or a bunch of your closest friends can relieve stress and provide you with meaningful comfort and love.
Have a stand-up desk at your office? Great, put that baby to good use. Stand as much as you can, as often as you can. Take the stairs and skip the elevator. Find any excuse to walk. You’ll find yourself racking up steps every day without even realizing it. Don’t be lazy and ask your coworker to grab you a water as she heads for the fridge. Get up and get it yourself. Movement like this throughout the work day keeps your blood pumping and your mind sharp. It also can wake you up when you’re feeling drowsy after lunch and a full belly.