August’s wellbeing observance is forming healthy habits—Alyfe encourages you to focus on planning ahead to create health habits that stick.
Though not always the road most traveled, planning ahead and preparation are the ticket to finding your way in your journey to health and wellbeing. We want to share some tips that will help you begin your health map.
Oftentimes when we hear the word “healthy” our minds go to dieting and endless hours of cardio! Of course healthy eating and exercise are key components to leading a healthful lifestyle, but there are other, equally important factors to consider for optimal wellbeing. We have highlighted 6 that deserve your attention.
1. Prevent and manage stress
Stress is a normal part of life that we can’t always avoid or control. However, we can set ourselves up to minimize the impact of stress on our health.
- Don’t overextend yourself with too many commitments–it’s okay to say no
- Get adequate rest and sleep
- Meditate or do yoga
- Limit caffeine and alcohol
- Make time for yourself—do things you enjoy
2. Plan healthy meals
Meal planning and prepping often seem like daunting tasks, but they don’t have to be! Plus, planning and getting your meals ready in advance can save you lots of time, money and stress in the long run—not to mention, puts you in control of the ingredients and portion sizes! Small, better choices can add up—strive for better instead of best and don’t get overwhelmed.
3. Get movement in throughout the day, not just through exercise
Exercising is great for us—however, it doesn’t negate the fact that we are spending entirely too much time sitting. Movement is something entirely different. Movement is ancient. Movement was here first. Hunting and gathering, dancing round the fire, walking, climbing, running, jumping, crawling, lifting, swimming, and fighting! These are all movements the human body is designed for. A lot of public health research now points towards needing more movement in our lives, as opposed to solely exercise, to remain healthy.
Movement throughout the day can take many forms:
- Getting up from your desk to take a walk or stretch
- Walking meetings
- Taking the stairs
- Cooking dinner
- Chasing and playing with your kids
4. Sleep 7-8 hours/night
This isn’t news. We all know the benefits of the right amount of quality sleep. Yet, sometimes despite our best efforts, we just can’t seem to get great sleep. Pinpointing your own barriers to getting restful sleep is a great place to start. Some things most people can incorporate to improve sleep immediately, include:
- 20-30 minute “power” naps
- Don’t eat big, heavy meals right before bed
- Avoid stimulants – caffeine too late in the day and alcohol can both disrupt sleep
- Keep your room dark, quiet and cool
- Create a relaxing bed time ritual and ditch the technology
- Exercise (not too close to bedtime) promotes more restful sleep
5. Stay hydrated throughout the day
Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work properly. Water regulates your body temperature, lubricates your joints, removes waste, and helps transport nutrients to give you energy. If you’re not hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level and you won’t feel your best.
If staying hydrated is difficult for you, here are some tips:
- Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. To reduce costs and waste, carry a refillable water bottle
- If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink
- Drink water before, during, and after a workout
- When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water
- If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule or set reminders
- Limit caffeine and alcohol as they dehydrate you
6. Make time for self-care
You don’t feel guilty when you do nice things for others, do you? So why should you feel guilty for doing something special for the person whose health and happiness impacts you and the ones you love the most? Though self-care may seem like you are just “pampering” yourself, in reality, it’s a matter of meeting your human needs–and you deserve it.
You plan ahead for important meetings, presentations, and vacations. Everything tends to flow smoother with a little preparation and your health is no different! Like the old adage goes “Failing to plan is like planning to fail”. So, take out that pen and start mapping out the route to your health and wellbeing destination!