You may have ambitious goals for losing weight or getting in shape, but improving your health can start with daily practices that are simple to incorporate. You do not have to run a marathon every week or live at the gym to see positive changes in your body. Consider the following seven things you can do today to improve your health.
Manage your stress
Stress is a major contributing factor to many diseases and illnesses that affect adults. Stress is responsible for 75% of all doctor’s visits in the United States because it can manifest in physical symptoms, including headaches, stomachaches, sleep problems and ulcers.
Although stress can come from many sources, you can learn to manage it. First, it is important to identify the sources and look for ways to diminish them. Second, you can use different strategies like meditation, yoga, breathing exercises or journaling to lower stress. Third, you can seek professional help from therapists and counselors.
Get more sleep
We live in a sleep-deprived world, but one of the best things for your health is good quality sleep. Most people cannot survive long on six hours of sleep. In general, you need seven, eight or nine hours of sleep every night.
You want to establish a bedtime routine that is easy to follow, such as taking a warm bath or shower and listening to music before sleeping. Also, keep digital devices out of the bedroom to avoid being exposed to blue light that can interrupt your sleep.
Another option is to use a sleep tracking app to see what happens at night. An app can track snoring, sleep talking and other patterns that may affect your ability to rest.
Live within your means
Debt and financial stress have more of an impact on your health than most people realize. Although there are different steps you can take to change your financial situation, the most important one is to start living within your means. The reason why is because debt contributes to stress, which affects your health.
Living within your means begins with looking at your spending, savings and earnings to create a budget. You want to save more than you spend. Consider breaking down expenses into necessitates and luxuries to only focus on what matters.
Gratitude has been shown to influence happiness, and it can also help with managing stress. When you are happier, your health is better too. You can keep a digital daily gratitude journal or a paper version to stay thankful every day. The journal helps you focus on the positives and celebrate them.
You can also show gratitude to the people around you. Say thank you more often, write more personal notes and return favors. By being more grateful, you will start to feel better.
Make incremental changes to your diet
Overhauling your entire diet is overwhelming and will likely result in failure if done too quickly. However, making smaller changes is more manageable, and they can add up over time. Try cutting out sodas or another sugary snack that you tend to eat too much of, and you will be closer to improving your health.
Consider consulting a certified nutritionist who can work with you to improve your diet and has the training to understand your personal needs. A nutritionist can help you track food and determine what needs to change.
By adding 30 minutes of exercise to your day, you will be on your way to better health. If 30 minutes is too much, start with 15 minutes. Even a little activity is better than nothing. Ease into exercising until it starts to feel normal to move more often. Consider pairing up with a friend or family member to stay on track with exercising.
The key is to find exercise you actually enjoy doing. Experiment with different options, such as dance, yoga, cardio, weight lifting or running. Even walking around your block is good exercise for beginners.
Connect with others
Humans were not designed to live in isolation. COVID-19 has forced many people to stay home and avoid others with devastating mental health consequences for some. Studies show that connecting with others is important even for introverts. People need each other and the interactions that come from being around others.
Try to expand your social circle by reaching out to friends or joining new clubs. Look for groups with shared interests that make it easier to meet people. Volunteering in your local community is another option that helps you connect with others.
When you are trying to improve your health, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the advice and recommendations from experts. However, following these seven simple steps does not take a lot of effort and can make a difference over time.