When people resolve to get healthier, it can be easy to go overboard quickly. Considering most people fail at their New Year’s resolutions or fall of the wagon with fad diets in short order, it might be time to evaluate how we approach making healthier habits a part of our daily lives.
Instead of focusing on specific goals, which can sometimes be deflating if we find they aren’t as easy to achieve- like sticking to a strict diet, losing 15 lbs. or running a new personal record at a 5k. This year, opting for “healthy” as opposed to “skinnier, “faster,” or other sometimes elusive goals might be a better approach.
If you can’t squeeze in a ton of workout time into your week or you’d rather not commit to having a salad every single day in order to feel better about yourself, here are five easy healthy habits you can start today for a healthier tomorrow. The goal here is to make sweeping changes instead of abrupt ones that are hard to drop, so if you can squeeze in some mindfulness or 10 minutes a day, your body will thank you!
Stretching everyday, even in small bursts- like when you’re blowdrying your hair or walking to the bathroom, can be a small but impactful way to get healthier. If you’re really serious about cutting back on your work related sore shoulders and strained eyes, set a timer on your phone to go off every 2 hours to ensure you’re getting up to stretch at your desk. Sitting, they say, is the new smoking- and too much “sitting down time,” can rack up long term negative health effects without even knowing it. A simple routine with a yoga DVD at home in 20 minutes or less can make you healthier.
Even if you can only do a few extra quick stretches a few times a day, you may experience fewer stress headaches, backaches and you’ll be more limber and ready when you are able to make it to the gym.
Matilda is a great stress reliever. Walking a pug around the neighborhood clears my head & gets my 10,000 Fitbit steps each day!
Can’t commit to time at the gym today? Be mindful of how you spend your time when you’re not able to squeeze in a workout. A few years ago, I got a dog so I would be forced to go for a walk each day (which of course, is way more expensive than a gym membership). Walking the dog isn’t a lot of workout time, nor will it help you get into a slimmer pair of pants, but the point is to establish healthy habits that don’t require a lot of headspace and walking Fido is a great way to do just that!
Often, we get very busy at work & it’s tempting to take the elevator, send an email or simply avoid going anywhere when we feel chained to our desk. Whenever possible, take a walk during your lunch break or simply walk over to a colleague and discuss a project instead of sending an IM or email. While it’s cliché to remind people to take the stairs, I know that I personally have avoided the stairs more often than not- even when it’s just a floor or two difference! Seriously, take the stairs.
I use a fitbit to help stay accountable, but honestly- you can track with a calendar and put a happy face each time you remember to take a walk or simply opt for stairs when you could have been lazy. Reward yourself at the end of the month for a job well done!
I grabbed this adorable Nike hoodie in the perfect shade of Tiffany-esque mint from my local Kohl’s- find a similar one here.
Stress is deadly and beyond that, it does wonders to derail your other healthy habits. If you’re stressed you overeat, it impacts your sleep and it zaps any energy you would need for a stellar workout. Stress happens, but building in monitors and responses to stress will help you keep it in check.
What makes you really stressed? Plan ahead with a response to ensure that you aren’t making yourself sick. For instance, if a certain family member always puts you in a tizzy when they call, a helpful trick is not to answer the phone right away, thus putting yourself in a fight/flight response mode. Instead, give yourself a few minutes to prepare yourself mentally, distance yourself from the stress trigger, then call them back but put a timer on it, saying you were on your way out the door.
Other ways to combat stress is to simply build in regular relaxation times. If you’re busy, you have to allow yourself the time, and thus, schedule it in, to ensure you’re getting proper time to unwind. Often, we deprive ourselves of personal time because we’re too busy, but stress is a huge problem and we have to be proactive since it poses a real threat!
Guilty as charged. I am the queen of drinking way too much coffee and tea, and while sometimes it’s totally necessary, longterm caffeine consumption in unhealthy doses can wreak havoc on your digestive system, mess with your sleep and also tinker with your metabolism, triggering cravings. Additionally, many forms of caffeine like lattes or soda are loaded with sugar.
Oh, then there’s always the highs and lows that come with caffeine which can impact your productivity and mood. If you feel like your day is out of whack- caffeine may be the culprit. This year, I’m switching to green teas for my afternoon boost which will help me reduce my sugar intake and the energy spike/crash that comes with a 2pm coffee.
You will read a lot about workout routines and suggested training methods online. What is totally underserved though, is the idea that you should probably set a routine for your resting as well. Resting can simply mean downtime or going to bed earlier one night a week. It can mean scheduling in a Saturday one weekend a month where you’ve made arrangements to sleep in and start your day with yoga. Rest is key.
Additionally, if you’re super busy and working out all the time- you need to take your rest days as seriously as your workout days. Light stretching, sleeping, eating well and monitoring your stress help bolster any fitness habit you’ve worked on. Without rest though, much of your progress can be quickly unravelled.
This year, I will be partnering with Kohl’s on my journey to live a happier, healthier life! Join me as we explore fitness and wellness together and#MakeYourMove for healthier beginnings in 2015!
Follow the Kohl’s #MakeYourMove campaign on social media, Facebook & Twitter to see how others are tracking their goals and making healthier choices together this year. Join us for a healthy new year together.
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Kohl’s.