How to Be Healthier: 10 Easy & Free Changes to Try
Is health your number one priority this year? In previous years, you may have been intimidated by challenging health goals and weird “wellness” gimmicks. However, living a better lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated! Try incorporating these realistic wellness tips and easy healthy habits into your family’s routine this year.
Habit 1: Eat Clean
What’s all the fuss about clean eating? All the benefits! Clean eating can boost your energy and immune system, reduce inflammation and weight gain, and even help eliminate the craving for unhealthy snacks. And it’s not all that complicated. Clean eating simply means keeping a diet centered on minimally processed, fresh, whole foods. Here are a few easy ways to start eating cleaner:
- Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fatty fish, nuts, honey and maple syrup, avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.
- Avoid added sugars, preservatives, margarine, canola oil, vegetable oil, processed food, refined grains and carbs, prepared meals, etc.
- Cook at home as much as possible (and when you do, bake or roast and try to use minimal amounts of cooking oil).
- Eat five to six smaller meals each day instead of two to three large ones to curb cravings, minimize mindless snacking, and even out blood sugar levels.
Habit 2: Shop Smart & Stock Up
If you plan ahead and have what you need when you need it, you’re less likely to cut healthy corners. Plan meals for the week and make a grocery list before you go shopping so you’re less tempted to snag a bag of potato chips. Stock your pantry and refrigerator with healthy snacks like carrot sticks, natural popcorn, and mixed nuts.
Habit 3: Drink More Water
Because your body comprises about 60 percent water, hydrating with H2O can affect how your body functions. Drinking water can balance body fluids, regulate digestion, aid in brain and kidney function, energize muscles, and help manage calories. Most doctors and health specialists will recommend drinking at least 64 oz of water daily. Try these tips to help you hydrate:
- Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning, even before your coffee.
- Fill up a large water bottle and keep it with you throughout the day.
- Infuse your water with lemon, strawberries, cucumbers, mint, or other fresh flavors to spice things up.
- Drink less alcohol and caffeine, which can dehydrate you.
Habit 4: Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Everything feels better after a good night’s sleep! That’s because sleep allows your body and mind to rest, heal, and recharge. A lack of sleep can impair concentration and reasoning, weaken your immune system, decrease energy and motivation, make you more susceptible to stress, and just make you downright grumpy. On average, be sure you are getting at least eight hours of sleep each night. Here are a few tips to help you feel more rested:
- Go to bed each night and wake up at the same time each day to regulate your body’s circadian rhythm.
- Start winding down about an hour before bed and turn on the Do Not Disturb setting on your devices at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep.
- Minimize light and noise, and turn down the temperature for the ultimate sleeping conditions.
- Invest in good bedding, a comfortable pillow, and a supportive mattress — they all make a big difference in how well you sleep.
Habit 5: Exercise Daily
Just for health maintenance, every human should be moving a bare minimum of one hour per day, and at least 30 minutes of additional exercise is recommended. Easier said than done, right? These tips can help you find your routine:
- Don’t force something you hate to do — find something you enjoy to ensure you’ll stick with it, then start with just 10 minutes each day and build up from there.
- Create a motivating playlist to help you push through.
- For low-impact exercise, try yoga, barre, or Pilates, and to burn fat and build muscle, try HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training).
- Go virtual — there are plenty of no-equipment, at-home online workout classes to fit the busiest of schedules.
- Utilize your furniture — you might be surprised at how many exercises you can do with a dining room chair.
Habit 6: Get Fresh Air
You may be surprised at how many health benefits there are just walking out of your front door! Spending time in nature can lower anxiety and stress levels and enhance focus and energy levels. Sunshine gives us vitamin D, which can reduce inflammation and increase calcium absorption for stronger bones. Fresh air is filled with phytoncides which can increase our white blood cell count, helping boost the immune system.
Habit 7: Keep House
A clean home makes a world of difference in how we go about our day. A messy space can translate to anxiety and stress, while a tidy space helps keep us calm, cool, and collected. Our home can affect our physical health as well. The build-up of dust and other toxins in the air can interfere with our respiratory and immune system function. Try these tips for good habits at home:
- Give everything a home, and put things back in their place when you’re done using them.
- Clean as you go (especially when cooking).
- Pick one day a week to do a quick once-over: dust, sweep, organize, etc.
- Diffuse eucalyptus, tea tree, and peppermint essential oils to help give the air a fresh scent, or try lavender and cedarwood to create a relaxing atmosphere.
- DIY your own natural, toxin-free cleaning products to minimize exposure to unhealthy ingredients and chemicals.
Habit 8: Keep Good Company
The company we keep can greatly impact our mental, emotional, and even physical health. Surround yourself with positive people — those who will encourage you and build you up instead of tear you down.
Make friends who have healthy habits and motivate you to be healthy, too. It’s a lot easier to wake up early and go for a run when you have a buddy. Be sure you have people who can support you mentally and emotionally, whether that’s a parent, friend, or therapist.
Habit 9: Practice Self-Care
Your mental and emotional health is just as important as the physical. Carve out time for a little self-care each week, or even each day. Abandon your to-do list, turn off your phone, and do something you enjoy, just for the sake of it. Not sure where to start? Try these simple self-care ideas:
- Go for a walk or a hike.
- Take a bubble bath.
- Cook or bake.
- Get a massage or a pedicure.
- Read a book.
- Tend a garden.
- Take a nap.
- Get coffee with a friend.
- Write in a journal.
Habit 10: Be Grateful
The act of expressing gratitude can have a profound positive effect on your overall health. Gratitude can enhance positive emotions, contentment, and self-esteem while helping to keep negative thoughts, dissatisfaction, and depressive symptoms at bay.
Physical benefits can include lower blood pressure, better sleep, and increased energy. These personal benefits can also overflow into other parts of your life. Gratitude can help you become more giving and less materialistic, increase empathy and improve relationships, and help you feel more fulfilled and successful. Take time each morning to write down what you are thankful for and make a point to express appreciation throughout the day.
Get What You Need for a Healthier Lifestyle
Get the everyday essentials you need to incorporate these healthy habits into your life with ease. At Rent-A-Center, you can get everything from brand-name refrigerators to keep all your nutritious fruits and veggies fresh to brand new mattresses to help you sleep better — all with flexible payments that won’t hurt your budget!