We’re halfway through the year and with all its ups and downs, I’ve been thinking a lot about the simple healthy habits that I’ve been holding close and prioritizing in my daily routine. It’s always important to take care of yourself – physically, mentally, and emotionally – but it feels especially important when the world is spinning differently than we’re used to, and we’re learning how to adapt.
I could list 50 different healthy habits that I think would be beneficial for anyone (that’s actually what this post originally was), but instead I’ve decided to share eight simple healthy habits that have made the biggest impact in my life over the past few years.
Take your lunch break
We need time to decompress and give our mind a rest. Unless you have a really big project and deadline that needs to be met that day, I strongly encourage you to take your lunch hour to step away from your work, go for a walk, call a friend, read a book, or even take a nap. I cannot stress this enough: our minds and bodies need this time. We can’t just work constantly without rest.
Prior to quarantine, I would leave the office to grab a coffee, go for a walk, or take a little drive. Now while we’re working from home, Alex and I watch a 30 minute episode of TV and catch up on our mornings.
I promise you, you have so much more to talk about than what’s going on with other people. There is a difference between catching up with friends and spreading tales about others where it’s not warranted. Instead, talk about a project you recently started, a book you loved, a great day you had, a fear you share, your dreams for your future. Don’t spend time worrying about what other people are doing. Focus on yourself and the loved one you’re sharing that conversation with.
Find exercise that you enjoy
Exercise is important. We know this. And I know this tip isn’t new, but I strongly believe that fitness can be achieved in many ways. You don’t need do anything that doesn’t keep you motivated or that doesn’t feel enjoyable. Find something you actually like to do, whether it’s hiking or hot yoga or weight lifting or playing in a sports league, and stick to it. Switch it up if it feels right.
Learn something new
I try to keep a goal of learning one new thing a year. Last year it was snowboarding, this year it was a course that changed the trajectory of my career. Learning new things keeps your mind sharp, keeps you humble (snowboarding kept me very humble), and helps you stretch new muscles. Committing yourself to learning is not only good for your growth in a particular subject or skill, but it also inspires feelings of accomplishment and pride (and you absolutely should feel accomplished and proud!) You will never regret learning something new.
Decreasing the amount of packaged foods you eat has so many health benefits: better digestion, better skin, better sleep, a healthy heart, a sharper mind. Eat as many fresh foods as possible and take advantage of whatever produce is in season at the moment. Better yet, plant your own! This is my first year growing peppers, and I’m taking a second stab at keeping a herb garden alive (haha!) When you have fresh foods available to you literally right outside your back door, it’ll make it even easier to eat in season, and it’s great for the environment!
The power of practicing gratitude is massive. This has probably made the biggest impact in my life personally. The more you practice gratitude, the more things you find to be grateful for. The more you notice the joyful little things. Keep a small notebook on hand to write down things you’re thankful for throughout the day, or download an app like Grateful as a sort of journal. I talk about this a lot because the power of positive thinking and practicing gratitude can literally change your life.
Spend time with yourself
I am an extrovert through and through, but the older I get, the more I enjoy spending time with myself. Schedule intentional time with yourself to explore the things you love, have a self-care night, binge a TV show, work on a passion project, or just lounge around and let yourself hear your own thoughts. You are your own built-in-best-friend. Get to know yourself better and prioritize you. You are so deserving of this.
We need vitamin D, fresh air, and a change of scenery to get some perspective. Spending time outside gives us all this and more. Just today I was feeling flustered, but as soon as I stepped outside for a walk my mood immediately lifted. Prioritize spending time outside regularly to connect with the world and to connect with yourself. (Also, whether you’re going outside or not, wear sunscreen! This is a non-negotiable).
Do you practice any of these simple healthy habits? Which habits have made the biggest impact in your life?