It’s important to realize that your health and well-being are the product of a combination of your everyday habits, and not simply one aspect of it. All of your lifestyle choices become interlinked, so in order to improve one facet of your health, you have to step back to look at the big picture and your life balance.
Your health goals can range from being quick, five-minute habits to exercising for a few hours on a regular basis. You can do many things to improve your health, and when you put them all together, they will compound to help you get the most out of life through your daily healthy habits.
Adopt a vegetarian day. Once a week, go vegetarian for the entire day and eat nothing but fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. As you get more comfortable, try two days a week. A fun option is to consider specific meals or foods for certain days of the week, like Whole-Grain Wednesdays and Stir-Fry Fridays.
Try new recipes. Creating just one new vegetarian meal per week can help make preparing meals less daunting. There are many easy, healthy recipes on the Internet, "Find something that uses ingredients you like and that requires only a few steps or minimal cooking skills.
Get spicy. With all the extra baking and cooking, the holidays are the ideal time to add more spices to your diet. Many herbs contain antioxidants, flavonoids, and other beneficial compounds in mood and inflammation regulation.
Get Adequate Sleep. You need to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. This is a basic need that will impact all other areas of your life.
Eat a Plant-Based Diet. Set a specific goal in this domain that makes sense to your eating preferences. If you don’t want to go completely vegetarian, that’s certainly ok. You can still incorporate lean meats and dairy into your daily eating routine. But set a goal amount (perhaps 80%?) of your diet that you think you could realistically make plant-based. If you need to, start small and slowly cut things out. If you set this goal, pay special attention to limiting processed foods.
Abstain from Alcohol, Smoking, and Illegal Drug Use. Many people who suffer from depression or anxiety turn to harmful substances such as alcohol, nicotine, or drugs as a coping mechanism. However, each of these options is extremely harmful for your health. Drinking alcohol increases your chances of developing diseases such as cancer, liver disease, and other chronic conditions. It can also negatively impact learning and memory, accelerate the ageing process, and disrupt healthy sleeping patterns.
Take the Time For Self-Care. Make sure to put yourself first by practising self-care. Doing so allows you to take intentional time away from stress so you can be more resilient when you’re facing challenges. Know what your boundaries are and set functional limits in order to operate at capacity in all of the areas of your life.
Don’t skip Breakfast. We’re all rushing out of the door in the mornings, but you have to take the time to fuel your body in order to do your best work each day. Make breakfast the night before if you have to or get up ten minutes early to pack something to take with you in the car. Make sure that your breakfast includes protein and whole grains in it so you can stay full and satisfied throughout the morning.
Walk it off and count your steps. Use a pedometer (Apps like Pacer and Samsung health have a step counter. The standard goal is to hit 10,000 steps a day, but I want you to aim for 15,000. You can do this by:
Parking as far away as possible from your office (if you’re unable to walk there)
Going for a walk on your lunch break or after dinner
Getting up to talk to a co-worker rather than emailing them a question
Taking a quick walk around the office at least once an hour
Push yourself and create challenges for yourself to always be beating yesterday’s numbers.