Most of us are pretty good are recognizing what’s good for us and what’s not. Intuitively, it’s easy to tell that a bowl of broccoli is better for you than a box of burgers. But we’re also very busy; sometimes health goes to the wayside when we’re focused on work, learning or other activities.
That’s why there’s nothing more important for your health than establishing a series of habits and routines. Ensuring you’re doing what’s needed to take care of yourself not only means you’ll be healthier and happier, but you’ll be more productive and accommodating to others.
So where to start?
- Get Up Early
Study after study suggests we need to get more sleep. That means we should squeeze out every last minute, right? Not necessarily; it turns out getting a good and early start on your day can have many kinds of therapeutic effects.
Earlier risers have the benefit of time above all other things. Getting a head start means you’ll have more opportunities to accomplish everything in the rest of the day. Plus, it’s essential for some of the other healthy habits.
- Eat Breakfast
Far too many of us skip breakfast; the worst offenders pretty much survive exclusively on coffee and a pastry. If you want to make each day healthier, ditch the junk and start your day with a healthy combination. For the first meal of the day, you don’t need to stuff yourself, but squeezing in a veggie and fruit or two can really make a difference.
Apples are excellent for filling up and getting energy. A small portion of last night’s leftovers can also go over well and keeps you from leaving things in the fridge for too long. Smoothies filled with greens and fruits are also increasingly popular and with good reason.
- Practice Proper Hygiene
Taking time to exercise good hygiene makes you look good and feel great day after day. Whether you prefer to shower in the morning or evening is up to you, but it can be a great way to help perk up in the morning.
Once you’re finished with breakfast, it doesn’t hurt to brush your teeth before going out to show the world that beautiful (and good-smelling) smile. Your teeth (and dentist) will thank you and so will your friends and family.
- Affirm Happiness
Nobody wants to feel like a crazy person each and every day, but would you believe that positive affirmations can truly improve your mood? All that’s required is starting each day by thinking about something good. If you have trouble, there are plenty of apps that can help by providing you with something good to say each day.
Interestingly enough, happy people actually recover from illnesses faster and are more likely to survive major trauma, be it from an accident or from surgery.
- Go the Scenic Route
Since you decided to get up early, you’ve got just a little extra time to spend getting where you need to go. That means you can take some joy in following routes that aren’t necessarily the most direct to your destination. Fire up your Maps app and draw some different routes you can take.
If you really want to mix things up, change your route to walking. Going for a scenic walk on your way to school or work can help calm your mind and let you focus on the journey rather than just rushing to the end.
- Take Pride in Your Work
Whether you’re grinding away at work or learning your profession, there’s nothing more valuable than taking the care necessary to do a good job. You should appreciate the quality of your work; not only will others notice, but you’ll feel more fulfilled no matter what it is you’re doing. Plus, you can share your accomplishments all over social media as an added perk.
All of this helps prevent the burnout so many of us risk experiencing when we get stuck doing the same tasks day in and day out. Preventing that apathy can help protect your routine; it can also keep you from reaching for that comfort food.
- Enjoy Caffeine Responsibly
Science seems to have conflicted feelings over whether caffeine is good for us or not. No matter which camp you fall into, there’s one thing that’s certain: we like it and we don’t want it to go away. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to use caffeine.
Relying on caffeine as a crutch to make it through your day is unhealthy, and it compromises your ability to stay in control. Whatever your cup of tea might be, balance it out with food and mental activity to keep from experiencing a crash.
- Take a Walk and Get Moving
You might choose to do your workout early in the morning when it’s quiet; it helps you get ready for the day. Or you might want to save it for after work to help wind down after the daily grind. Whichever time works best for you, just be sure you get out and get moving.
Using a fitness tracker is a good way to ensure you’re keeping up with your daily goals. You might even split your workout between the morning and the evening. Don’t underestimate the power of the walk either; low-impact exercise is one of the best ways to lose weight healthily and is much easier on your body than running (which can wear down your joints).
- Make Time for Your Hobbies
With everything constantly demanding your attention, when exactly does “me time” begin? That’s up for you to decide, but just make sure you get it! Having a hobby can provide you with numerous benefits, including real skills, a chance to relax and an opportunity to connect with other people who have similar interests.
It doesn’t much matter what your hobby is either. You might enjoy playing games on your phone, painting pictures, playing piano or working on cars; whatever it is, set aside a little time each day for it. Of course, be sure your hobby only uses a healthy amount of time!
- Sleep Without Any Distractions
One of the best things you can do is convert your bedroom into a resting chamber with no other distractions. That means no TV, no computers, no magazines and no bright lights. When it’s time for bed, put everything else aside and just sleep. Worrying about tomorrow won’t change anything, and it certainly won’t help you sleep better.
You should also avoid using your bed for just about anything other than sleep. Without other activities to interfere, your brain and body will associate your bed exclusively with sleep, and you’ll have an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep once you lay down.
So what are you already doing to stay healthy and happy? Do you rely on a routine to keep things organized? Tell us what you’re doing each day to be just a little more physically and mentally fit.