Living a healthy life is supposed to be simple.
Too often we complicate things, adding activities into our day-to-day lives that aren’t actually sustainable.
Sure, the first day or two is fine because you’re super motivated. But I don’t think any of us are strangers to that one-week motivation slump.
You’re trying to maintain relationships, be sociable, look after your family, clean your house, go grocery shopping (we all know that’s a whole day gone), the list goes on and on. Sometimes, we just don’t have time for exercise.
I get it, exercising won’t always be your highest priority, so here are some other healthy habits you can add into your life that won’t take up too much time and will get you on a healthier path.
And remember, health isn’t just about fitness, it’s also about your relationships — with yourself and the people around you — your mental wellbeing and your lifestyle.
Here are 9 easy ways you can be a healthier person without ever stepping foot in a gym.
1. Drink more water
Water has many health advantages that can’t be seen, and that’s why it’s important to keep up your water intake.
Yes, you’ll notice physical advantages, like healthier skin, but it’s doing a lot on the inside too. Water maintains the function of every single cell in your body, so keep those beauties hydrated.
Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning is a really good way to make sure you’re starting your day hydrated. You lose a lot of hydration while you sleep, so try and fix that first thing in the morning.
2. Stretch regularly
Stretching keeps you nice and limber.
It also helps keep your fascia healthy. What is fascia, you ask? It’s the tissue that covers your muscles, nerves and organs; it keeps everything in the right spot. Stretching gives it some TLC by breaking up the collagen in your fascia, allowing more oxygen to your muscles.
Stretching also happens to be an excellent way to add more mindfulness into your day. Use a 10 to 15-minute stretch as a way to get in touch with your thoughts and be present. Take deep breaths in and out to help reduce stress levels. This can form an excellent part of self-care.
3. Spend less time on your phone before bed
Spending less time on your phone, in general, is always a good idea. But if that seems a little tricky, start putting your phone away before bed.
You have to give your brain some time to relax before you go to sleep. Spending less time on social media will not only do wonders for your self-esteem and mental health, it will also help you get a better night’s sleep.
4. Practice gratitude
Ever have those days where you just don’t feel like yourself? Practice gratitude.
Say out loud, in your head, or even write down, at least three things you are grateful for.
They can be as significant or as small as you like — the important thing is that you identify the three things you are grateful for that day.
Reminding yourself of the things you are thankful for will help you stay in a positive mindset, as it helps you live in a place of abundance.
If you’re having a bad day, it will distract you from the things that are bothering you and will bring you back to the present moment which will help shift your mood.
5. Do the things you love
I want you to set this as one of your non-negotiables for each day because your self-fulfilment is dependent on you doing the things you love.
If you’re not spending time each day doing something you love, you won’t feel fulfilled. If you don’t feel fulfilled, you’re not able to love and support the people around you as best as you can, because you’re not treating yourself that way. As the saying goes, fill your own cup up so that it can overflow to the people around you.
So, how do you do this?
Write a list of every single thing you love doing, big or small. It might be having a cup of tea, reading a book, getting a massage, or working on a hobby. Then, each day, spend five minutes (or more) doing one of those things. It is so important that you prioritise this.
If you don’t have time, you must make time. It should be as important as brushing your teeth.
I know that reading isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I encourage you to give it a go.
Find a genre you love, whether it’s personal development, fiction or empowering books by female authors, read for 15-30 minutes a day. It can be good for a bit of me-time, education or entertainment.
No matter what the outcome is, it’s relaxing and allows you to take some time out of your day for yourself — notice the self-care theme here?
7. Practice mindfulness
Okay, this might sound a little woo-woo to some people, but bare with me.
Practising mindfulness allows you to bring yourself back to the present moment. It’s excellent for stress relief, relaxation and getting in tune with your body and thoughts.
Once you’re familiar with your body’s way of communicating with you, you’ll be able to identify warning signs easier and react accordingly.
There are so many different ways to practice mindfulness, and it doesn’t have to be meditation.
Try an app like Headspace, or sit in a quiet place and simply focus on your breathing: take a deep breath in and then let it out slowly.
Forget your stereotypical meditation and find what works for you.
8. Stop being so strict on yourself
You know a little bit of junk food won’t kill you, right? So stop being so darn strict on yourself.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to eat nourishing foods that fuel you with energy. But if you do eat takeaway from time to time, don’t beat yourself up over it.
And don’t you dare go and punish yourself at the gym to ‘work it off’. When you punish yourself for eating what you or society deems as ‘bad’ foods, you create an unhealthy relationship with food.
Eat foods that make you feel good but hey, if you want to eat a doughnut, you go and eat that doughnut, girl.
9. Try new things
As often as you can, try something new. Allow yourself to dream and find the things you’re passionate about.
When you live a life filled with what you’re passionate about, it makes you a happier and more fulfilled person.
After all, life’s not about how much time you spend in the gym, or how many calories you eat — it’s about finding happiness and love.
This article was written by Natalie Parry and originally published on A Girl In Progress.