Living a healthy, balanced lifestyle is a challenge – that’s why Live Lighter was created! So all the tips and tricks we can gather are needed to help us figure out what works for us as individuals. In today’s article by Jennifer McGregor, she shares with us 3 routines we can try working into our schedule to create a healthier lifestyle.
Most of us lead crazy lives and often maintain habits that are less than beneficial. Getting back on a healthy track can seem complicated and exhausting, leaving many of us unwilling to try. Fortunately, a few little changes in your weekly routine can improve your life and make the bigger changes less intimidating.
Here are a few beneficial activities to add to your schedule:
1. Pick a Cooking Day
Between work, family, friends, school, and whatever else you have on your plate, enjoying a home cooked meal seems out of reach. It can be much easier to order takeout or invest in a freezer full of pre-made meals. However, regardless of your schedule, you probably have a day that is less busy than others. On that day, try setting aside a few hours to plan and prepare freezer meals to reach for instead of ordering takeout (again!).
This day can be devoted to ensuring there are fresh, healthy meals ready to thaw and eat every day of the week. This allows you to plan a more nutritionally complete diet which will, in turn, greatly benefit your mental wellbeing. A good diet can work against common mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
2. Create and Stick to a Nightly Routine
About 30% of American adults struggle with sleeplessness. It’s a fairly common problem to experience at least once in your life, particularly if you are very busy during the day. It can be difficult to shut your brain off with so many things to think about. Establishing a nighttime routine will work to signal the brain when to shut down; this is critical for your mental and physical health. As you repeat the routine (making sure to adhere to a certain bedtime), your brain will learn that it needs to begin unwinding.
An effective nightly routine should include going screen-free at least thirty minutes before your bed. Wind down with a book, draw or sketch, or find an activity that doesn’t involve a screen or backlight. You might also consider drinking some chamomile tea or cherry juice to move the process along.
With 15 minutes to go before bed, put on sleepwear. The change of clothing is a very apparent signal for the brain. You might fill the next 15 minutes with the book or activity you were doing before. This gives the brain a full half hour to realize it is time to shut down.
3. Find Time to Both Relax and Exercise
You have probably heard about the importance of exercise your entire life and of course, keeping active is the best way to improve your physical health along with your mental wellbeing. However, relaxation is also a very critical aspect of wellness. One of the best ways to relax and shed the stress of the day is to meditate.
Meditation has been proven to have a positive effect on mental health regardless of religion. The act of clearing the mind and sitting still without worrying about what comes next is possibly the best thing you can do for yourself.
Learning effective meditation takes time and practice but is easily incorporated into the day. Start with just five minutes of trying to clear your mind. This can be done in the car, at work, or as part of your nightly routine. As you start to feel comfortable, increase the amount of time. Ideally, you want to shoot for a half hour, but whenever works best for your schedule will still have a positive effect.
Making a few small alterations to your daily or weekly schedule can set you up to make even bigger life changes. The clear-headedness provided by meditation, good nutrition, and quality sleep will make these changes feel more manageable and more beneficial as you see how the smaller ones have helped you. Start with one or two and slowly, you will notice improvements in your overall wellbeing and quality of life.
Image via Pixabay by ayeletphotography
About the Author
Jennifer McGregor has wanted to be a doctor since she was little. Now, as a pre-med student, she’s well on her way to achieving that dream. She helped create PublicHealthLibrary.org with a friend as part of a class project. With it, she hopes to provide access to trustworthy health and medical resources. When Jennifer isn’t working on the site, you can usually find her hitting the books in the campus library or spending some downtime with her dog at the local park.
Have you tried any of these routines that changed your life for the better? Tell us about them in the comments below.