These tiny tweaks to your daily routine can make all the difference in how you look and feel.
Let’s be real. Being healthy all the time sounds kind of time-consuming. Your life is busy enough. On the other hand, we all deserve to feel good? Below you will find some simple, actionable, everyday to-dos that will keep you feeling and looking energized, fabulous, and all-around healthier.
1. Find one small way to add more steps to your day.
We sit too much, says Martha Gulati, MD, editor-in-chief of the American College of Cardiology’s. Get closer to your 10,000 daily steps by switching up just one daily routine: Park at the end of the office parking lot, get off the bus/subway one stop earlier and walk the distance, deliver a message in person rather than calling your co-worker, or take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator (even if you can only manage 1-2 floors on foot). Be active as much as possible.
2. Take the earbuds out—for just 5 minutes at least.
Pure Yoga instructor Alison O’Connor believes in spending time alone every day. “Taking a few minutes for yourself—away from social media, work, entertainment, and anyone who demands something from you—can go a long way toward mental health.” Ditch technology and make you your priority.
3. Go to bed early.
“Sleep is one of the most essential activities of the human body. It’s while we sleep that our body is most efficient at recovering and healing itself,” says O’Connor. Brooklyn-based nutritionist Julie Fishkin adds that most adults need at least 7-8 hours in order to stave off depression and keep stress hormones at bay, preventing you from overeating and succumbing to sugar cravings.
4. Refill your water bottle.
Most of us don’t drink enough fluids (and no, coffee doesn’t count as it is dehydrating). Water helps your skin look fresh, it flushes your bodies of toxins, helps maintain healthy bowel functions (goodbye bloat, hello flatter belly), and keeps muscles from getting fatigued. If you don’t already own one, invest in a cute reusable water bottle you’ll want to show off on the way to the water cooler or kitchen.
5. Wear something you love.
Feeling confident and happy can come from knowing you look good, says Forever Freckled stylist Carrie Greenberg. “Fall in love with your wardrobe again by re-purposing and dust-off classic pieces and consider investing in some great new accessories.” Make it a point to wear something that makes you feel fantastic every single day.
6. Turn on the oven or the stove and start cooking.
Home-cooked meals are more than a way to express your creativity and save money (vs takeout or restaurant fare), says New York-based personal chef and fitness instructor Alyssa Gagarin. “Only by cooking your own food can you be sure you’re eating real, whole, unprocessed foods,” says Gagarin. “It gives you full control over what’s going into your body.” Load up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, eggs, meats, seafood, nuts, seeds, and legumes—and stop eating once you are full.
7. Deliberately choose a healthy ingredient.
Even if you aren’t able to prepare your own meal/s, Dr. Gulati suggests mindfully choosing at least one healthy meal or snack a day that is healthy. Reach for the banana in the office fruit bowl or add one more veggie to your chicken Caesar salad (grape tomatoes and asparagus are two yummy options). “One simple thing a day that is good for you can, over time, prove you have the power to take action and be healthier.”
8. Pay attention to your needs.
Any number of things might make us feel healthier, one minute to the next. That’s why Ellen Friedrichs, a Brooklyn-based health and sexuality educator, says we need to assess our needs, moment to moment. “Figuring out what is going to help you feel the most balanced, and the least stressed, is the best way to get on top of your physical and mental health.”
9. Find little ways to stay active throughout the day.
“Even if I have a busy day ahead of me, I always try to get in some type of workout five times a week,” says Nazima Qureshi, R.D., M.P.H., C.P.T. “Not only do I get the benefits of exercise, I also use this time as ‘me’ time, which helps me unwind. I like to try something new to change it up so I don’t get bored of the same-old exercise routine.”
And if you don’t have time to log a full workout, try breaking it up. “In a perfect world I’d have time to get to a yoga class or spend an hour at the gym, but having an inconsistent schedule doesn’t always allow for that,” says Jessi Haggerty, R.D., C.P.T., creator of the BodyLove planner. “If I can’t get in an hour of ‘structured’ exercise, I make sure to squeeze in some extra walking on my breaks throughout the day.”
10. Remind yourself of the things you’re grateful for.
Even if you’re not into meditation (which many healthy people swear by, too), simply taking a moment to reflect on what you’re thankful for can help you feel grounded. “When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do before even getting out of bed is think of three things I’m grateful for,” says Minno. “When you’re a go-getter and a goal-oriented person, it can be so easy to focus on the things you don’t have or still want to accomplish, so it’s important to remind myself of everything I have and all I am grateful for.”