Health and wellness are so much more than about what we eat. It is true that nutrition is a vital component of gaining and maintaining health, but there’s so much more to it. Today, I want to give you some small and simple changes to consider to help you move along your road to health and wellness. These small steps will lead to better health.
Health is about taking care of ourselves in a way that brings about balance and supports us in de-stressing our lives. In looking at the big picture of health, it is important to consider not only our eating habits, but also our relationships, exercise, self-care, mindset, career, and our home environment.
There are small steps that you can take in each of these areas to help you travel towards better health. Look over the list I have compiled for you and consider which area you would like to focus on. It is different for everyone! What area in your life needs a bit more attention?
Small Steps to Better Health
- Start your meals with vegetables. Fill your plate with veggies first. Try to do this for both your lunch and dinner meals.
- Add fruit to your breakfast. Fruit is so easy to add to your first meal of the day. You can top cereal, yogurt, or protein waffles with blueberries for an extra boost of antioxidantes.
- Carry a water bottle. We often tend to grab a bite to eat, when in reality our body is thirsty. Quench your first thirst, and you just might realize that you really weren’t hungry after all.
- Foster connections with regular check-ins. Give a friend a quick call to catch up. Think of a person in your circle of family and friends that could use a bit more attention, and schedule a weekly phone call with that person.
- Put down your device and give your full attention to the people around you. Be curious and ask questions.
- Volunteer for a cause that is dear to your heart. You will make new friends with like-minded people, and you will get that feel-good feeling of doing something positive in the world.
- Make sure your stand every waking hour. My watch is really good at reminding me to do this. While standing up for a couple of minutes might not seem like much, it has you breathing a bit deeper and getting in a little stretch. Do a couple of high steps and arm stretches when you stand to reap even more from this habit.
- Add steps to your day. Be mindful when parking farther from the entrance and taking stairs instead of elevators. But more than that, take a walk around your neighborhood – breath in the fresh air and quicken your steps. Just think – 15 minutes to walk away from your home then turn around and walk back.
- Schedule 30 minutes of exercise or movement every day. This could be the walk I mentioned above, or time spent in your garden. Vacuuming your home, sweeping the patio, or folding the laundry all count as movement. Turn on some music and dance in your home!
- Laugh more. Put on on good old comedy and enjoy some belly laughs. Have you seen Ted Lasso? If not, this one is a must see! Learn to take yourself more lightly and laugh at your own missteps.
- Breathe deeply. When life gets harried, take a moment to close your eyes, center yourself, and breathe in deeply. Just a few deep breaths can settle your brain and let your deal with the chaos from a more centered place.
- Speak kindly to yourself. Treat yourself like you would a friend or small child. We all mess up and take wrong steps. Think of how you would speak to a friend or a child when they need support. What would you say to them? Speak those words to yourself.
- Prioritize Sleep. Quit thinking that burning the candle at both ends is necessary to get ahead in life. That is a huge fallacy. Sleep gives your body the rest it needs to recharge and prepare you for the next day. Do not short change your sleep – that only hurts you in the long run.
- Fill a loofah with a wonderful smelling lavender body wash and scrub your skin lightly when you shower. As you scrub each body part, thank your body for giving you all that it does. Thank your legs for being strong and getting you around, thank your arms for the hugs that they provide, thank you stomach for digesting the nourishing food that you feed yourself. This not only reaffirms your love for for body, but also increases circulation to the skin (our largest organ).
- Floss your teeth. Flossing your teeth removes food debris and plaque from between your teeth. Poor dental hygiene has been linked to increased inflammation and other health problems such as cardiovascular disease.
- Dress for success. With the pandemic and so many zoom meetings, we all have gotten a bit more comfortable with wearing leggings to work. Always show up ready to conquer the day.
- Seek out a mentor. No matter how long you have been in a career, there is always something new to learn. I have been teaching for 23 years, and this last year I have had to learn new technologies and ways to deliver engaging curriculum via the computer. This was not accomplished alone! I sought out those that knew more and asked for guidance.
- Take time to reflect on your career goals and aspirations. We all grow from reflection. Taking the time to dig in deep on what is working well and what changes may need to happen is time well spent. Creativity takes thinking time. Allow yourself time to reflect and think creatively.
- Buy a plant. Plants breathe life into our homes. They help clean our inside air by soaking up the pollutants. Plus, bringing a bit of nature inside can help soothe the soul.
- Spend 15 minutes organizing a drawer, panty, or closet. Getting things organized feels good and makes everything about your home run smoother.
- End each day with a clean kitchen. Take the time to wash, dry and put away your dishes each night. Wipe down the sink and leave the room clean and ready to great you in the morning.
So there you have it! Eighteen small steps to better health and wellness. Remember that health is a journey, not a destination. We are all traveling our own road to better health and wellness. May your journey to better health be filled with self-love, moments that make you smile, and a joyful heart.