Do you want to know the secret to having a healthy life? Unfortunately, there are no quick shortcuts and you probably already know all of the basic rules. Finding happiness is mostly just a matter of following through with what you are already aware of, but here are five reminders for how to make your daily routine lead you to a full and healthy life.
1. Go to bed early enough so you can wake up without an alarm clock
For most people, getting enough rest every night means you can naturally wake up the next morning. A dependency on your alarm clock is a telltale sign that you didn’t go to bed early enough. To optimize your body’s recovery during the sleep process, you have to give your body enough time to rest. Experts say to go to bed fifteen minutes earlier and see if you wake up better. If you’re still having trouble getting up in the morning, go to bed even fifteen minutes earlier than your moved-up bedtime. Continue to increase the number of hours of sleep you get in order to feel well rested. We each need a different amount of sleep time for our bodies to function at their best so listen to your own system rather than following an arbitrary schedule that may only work for someone else.
2. Eat a breakfast fit for royalty
Perhaps you’re sick of being told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but the truth still reigns supreme. Eating a nutritious meal in the morning helps give you strength to endure the day, helps improve your concentration and even helps with weight control. We may reason that skipping breakfast will help you keep your calories down, but studies continue to show that those who regularly eat breakfast tend to weigh less. Starting your day off right can help you make better food decisions throughout the day since you won’t be feeling desperately hungry and as willing to eat anything you can get your hands on at lunchtime. People who skip breakfast also tend to overcompensate for the missed calories by eating significantly bigger portions at subsequent meal and snack times, making the daily calorie count at a few hundred calories over what it could have been, had you properly tackled your hunger from the get-go.
When nutritionists and diet experts talk about eating breakfast as if your were a queen or king, the professionals aren’t talking about filling up on sugars, fats and empty calories. The idea behind eating a big breakfast is that your body has access to essential nutrients, protein and fiber for lasting energy and strength. Even when you’re dieting, don’t skimp on breakfast, just make sure your calories actually pack a punch by avoiding coffee and donuts while you stick to powerful alternatives like vegetable and fruit smoothies. Of course, the rest of your day’s worth of meals and snacks should also consist of healthful, nutrient-rich choices so start right and keep up the good work throughout the day.
3. Squeeze in physical activity whenever you can
Work may be exhausting and really cramping your exercise style. Perhaps you don’t have the oomph to hit the gym before going to your job, and when it’s time to finally come home, the last thing on your mind is going out again. Thankfully, you can make the most of your present schedule by inserting mini exercise sessions into the day. You can maximize the distance you have to walk from your car to your office, you can take the stairs when you have to drop something off on another floor in your building and you can walk to the far drinking fountain to fill up your water bottle. When a coworker or boss needs help running an errand, you can be the first person to offer your services. If you have a private office, you may be able to slip in fifty jumping jacks here or there, but even if you don’t have such a luxury, you can still optimize your break times to help your exercise situation. If you have a job that doesn’t lend itself to getting in movement, make sure to use those fifteen minute breaks for personal time to take a little walk and get some fresh air. Clear your mind while you shuffle your feet.
4. Work hard, play hard
Having a healthy life requires having a healthy balance between work and play. You’ve got to pay the bills, yes, but your mind and body also need downtime and recreation in order to relax and to keep stress and anxiety at bay. Mental and emotional problems can take a huge toll on the proper functioning of your body. When mild forms of depression hit, you may be able to bounce back with a few positive exchanges involving loved ones or your favorite hobbies. When you’re dealing with more severe problems, however, you may benefit from talking with a counselor or other medical professional to work through the pain you’re experiencing.
Even if you don’t have a lot of free time, you can still figure out what really interests you and make plans accordingly. Busy schedules may not allow for non-stop fun, but with a little bit of forethought, you can learn to at least make the most of the time you do have. When you’re in a rut, you may spend your free time just dwelling on how hard life is and how much you dislike your circumstances. Work on changing the things you can, but also accept the factors that you can’t control and don’t waste another minute complaining or feeling sorry about what’s out of your reach. Being completely healthy requires feeling at peace with life. Not every minute will be happy, but you can reach a state of overall contentment and satisfaction.
5. Tap into your spirituality and goodness
Regardless of your brand of beliefs, you can tap into the higher feelings of love and kindness. Living an interconnected life where you think about others, provide service and make a difference for good will help you stay active, motivated and energetic. There’s just something about being selfless that helps put everything into perspective, providing rejuvenation for your whole body. If you want to be healthy on the inside and out, you have to put time and energy into building up something other than just your muscles. Let your inner beauty shine for all to see and only then can life come full circle.