Life moves fast and so do you. It’s just how we live in America, today. And while living a fast-paced lifestyle isn’t inherently bad, it can be challenging to prioritize what’s best for your mental and physical health.
As someone who’s worked in the healthcare industry for many years, I know fast. Sometimes it feels like we’re operating on level “warp speed!” However, with a little intentionality and patience, I’ve been able to incorporate small, healthy changes into my day-to-day life. As a result, I can reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, while keeping up with the demands of my job. If I can do it successfully, so can you!
Why Small Changes Matter
While small changes might feel inconspicuous or ineffective, they’re actually quite the opposite. Small changes often lead to the biggest results!
So, why do small changs work? Because it’s much easier to be consistent with small changes than big ones. And as you likely know, consistency is the key to improving your health for the long-run. So, the next time you feel like your small changes aren’t enough, remember they do add up. Be patient with yourself and stay consistent!
5 Healthy Changes to Make
There are many ways to make small, healthy changes, starting today. But, you don’t have to make every healthy change all at once. Aim to incorporate one new change per week. Before you know it, you’ll be living the healthy lifestyle you always dreamt of! Here’s how you can start:
- Whole Food Diet
First thing first: your diet. Eating a healthy diet can sound complicated, expensive, and confusing. However, these few tips will simplify a healthy way of eating:
- Balanced Meals- Eat protein, carbs, and fat at every meal to regulate your blood sugar and keep you energized, mentally and physically, for hours.
- Meal Timing- Eat every 3-4 hours to maintain steady blood sugar levels and decrease sugar and caffeine cravings (especially in the afternoons- you know what I’m talking about).
- Whole Foods- Opt for whole, natural foods instead of processed options. Ask yourself these questions: 1) Was this food born from a mother? 2) Was it grown from the ground? If the answer is “yes,” to either question, you’re on the right track!
- Daily Movement
Instead of willing yourself into your workout every day, focus on performing gentle daily movement. It doesn’t always have to be strenuous and intense to be effective. Some days, it’s better to opt for a neighborhood stroll or at-home stretching.
The best way to be consistent with your daily movement is to find what you like! The goal is to get your body moving every day, while enjoying it.
- Work Management
If you work in an office, you likely spend most of your days there- which is why making healthy changes at work can fast-track your progress. Here are some ways to make your work office health-conscious:
- Pack balanced lunches and snacks made with whole foods (refer to tip #1).
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Have a water bottle on your desk to sip throughout the day.
- Eliminate any snack/candy drawers or bowls.
- Quality Sleep
Sleep is a highly underrated factor of overall health. During deep sleep, our memories consolidate, brain detoxes, and so much more. Improving the quality and quantity of your sleep might seem like a small step, but it can have immediate and lasting impacts! To improve your sleep:
- Make your room completely dark (use an eye mask, if needed).
- Set the thermostat to 68 F degrees or below.
- Avoid blue light before bed (or wear blue light blocking glasses).
- Supplement with magnesium at night (with your doctor’s permission).
- Mental State
According to NAMI, “People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population.” And unfortunately, many Americans are suffering from depression (and other mental illnesses), today. So, prioritizing your mental health is a good place to start for many! To encourage a healthy mental state, consider:
- Seeing a therapist regularly
- Building a trusted community around you
- Getting outside in the sunshine for a mood boost
- Addressing any nutrient deficiencies
- Seeking out additional professional help when you need it
Over time, these small, simple changes will amount to big results. It might require a little time and patience, but it will come. Coming from someone who’s been in your shoes, you can trust me on this one. I’ve personally reaped the benefits of taking baby steps and you can, too!