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Wellness tips: 9 easy ways to start improving your habits & enhancing your wellbeing

March 29, 2024
8 minutes
Lifestyle Health & Wellness
Healthy habits

You may already understand the importance of lifestyle when it comes to your well-being, but it can be tough to know exactly how to add healthy habits into your day-to-day life. Thankfully, making small, sustainable changes over time can be all that you need to take your wellness to the next level.

Here, we'll explore the adjustments you can make to your daily life to incorporate healthy habits that actually stick.

Examine your mindset

Getting your mind right before beginning the process of implementing new habits is an important first step in ensuring your new lifestyle can stand the test of time. Many of us have tried to develop healthier habits, only to stumble as soon as the first roadblock occurs. Thankfully, it doesn't have to be this way. Getting honest with yourself about how you'll stay on track when things get tough and why you want to make a change can give your new healthy habits a serious boost of staying power.

A few questions to ask yourself to help you get in the right frame of mind for sustainable change:

Why do I want to change my habits?

Understanding your why is key when making a lifestyle change. Being as specific as possible can help. If you want to increase the years in your life and the life in your years, want to be able to be active with your children, or simply want to have the energy that it takes to make it through a busy day at work, knowing the reasoning behind your habit changes can help keep you moving forward after the newness of your lifestyle change begins to wear off.

How do I want to feel at the end of each day?

Reminding yourself how you want to feel when the day comes to a close can help keep you motivated toward sticking to your new habits. Perhaps you want to feel tired and ready to rest, especially if you deal with insomnia or nighttime anxiety that keeps you awake. Perhaps you want to feel excited for the morning ahead, motivated by a goal that you're working towards. Remembering how you want to feel when the day is over can help you stick to your habits, one day at a time.

Are there any health metrics I'd like to change?

Whether you use a health tracker or you rely on the labs your doctor recommends in order to understand your health metrics, changes in your lifestyle can help boost your health in the right direction. For example, if you're working to lower your cholesterol, you may find it easier to stick to a nutrition and exercise plan with your goal in mind. If you're working to improve your heart health metrics, you may find that you're more motivated to engage in physical activity.

How will I continue to follow through with my habits even on days when my motivation is low, or when life gets in the way?

Setting a plan in place for how you'll keep yourself going when times get tough is key for sticking to your new habits. Giving yourself room for tough days can help—for example, committing to exercise four times each week instead of every day can help you make adjustments when necessary.

Now, let's dig into some sustainable tips you can put to use today to help you start improving your daily habits.

Set realistic and achievable goals

Having big goals—like running a marathon, competing in a triathlon, or climbing a mountain—is fantastic, and can be motivating. That being said, it's important to have smaller, achievable goals that will keep you focused and moving.

If you want to run a marathon but are lacing up your running shoes for the first time, it can make more sense to work toward running for 15 minutes without a break instead of diving head-first into a marathon training plan. As you meet smaller goals, you'll then be able to take the next step toward meeting your big goals.

Prioritize self-care activities

Self-care isn't just about relaxing on the couch or getting a pedicure (although there's nothing wrong with either of those activities!). It's also about keeping up with check-ups and dental screenings whenever possible, having tough conversations when necessary, ensuring that your home is a welcoming environment, and feeding your body the nutritious, filling foods that it needs to thrive.

Taking 30 minutes each day for self-care can help you continue to work toward your healthy habits, one day at a time. Many people find it helpful to make an appointment for self-care in a planner, treating it with the same seriousness as they'd treat any other appointment.

Incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine

Making small changes to boost the amount of physical activity you get in your day can go a long way in helping to boost your wellness. While setting time aside for full workouts can be helpful, there are other ways that you can sneak some extra steps into your day, including:

  • Taking the stairs instead of using the elevator whenever possible.
  • Choosing a parking space a block or two away from your destination.
  • Taking 10 minutes of your lunch break to go for a quick stroll around the block.
  • Playing tag with your children or chasing your pet outdoors.
  • Setting up walking meetings with co-workers instead of sit-down or virtual meetings.

Build strong social support networks

Connection and community are key to well-being. In today's digitized world, many people go days—or even weeks—without face-to-face interactions with others. Making a point to spend time with other people in the real world can help to support your health and well-being.

Being a part of a community can help you feel the support necessary to manage stress, stay accountable to commitments, and reduce feelings of isolation. Research shows that people who feel connected to their communities are more likely to eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and have lower blood pressure.

Not sure how to start engaging with your community? You're not alone. The pandemic has left many feeling isolated and unsure of how to connect. Some ideas to get in touch with others in your area include:

  • Sign up for a class in your area of interest, such as an adult dance class, exercise class, or lifelong learner class at your local university.
  • Join a book or board game club at your community's library.
  • Engage with a group of like-minded people at your place of worship.

If you aren't able to meet with others face-to-face, digital connections still provide some benefits. Setting up a weekly video call with friends can be a fun way to talk with others, as can participating in online groups and forums with people who share your interests.

Practice mindfulness and stress management techniques

Meditation, mindfulness, and other stress management techniques can all help you work toward a healthier lifestyle. Stress is a natural and unavoidable part of life, but chronic stress can take a toll on your well-being.

Simple ways to incorporate mindfulness and stress management into your daily life include:

  • Spend time in nature. Whether you get a chance to eat lunch outdoors or go for a hike on the weekend, getting time away from the noise of daily life by immersing yourself in nature can help to reduce stress levels.
  • Consider meditation. Spending a few minutes each day working through a guided meditation can provide both physical and mental health benefits, including stress reduction, lowered levels of anxiety, a longer attention span, and improved sleep.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Taking a few moments each day to focus on what you're thankful for can help to orient your mind to focus on the positive.

Cultivate healthy eating habits

A full dietary overhaul can feel overwhelming, and isn't always sustainable. Instead of changing everything about the way you eat, finding small ways to add extra nutrition to your day can go a long way in helping you feel your best.

Aiming for at least two and a half servings of vegetables each day is ideal, but it's OK to start small. Adding a single serving of veggies to your day is a solid step up from eating no veggies at all. A side salad with dinner, carrot and celery sticks for a snack, or adding a veggie-loaded soup to your lunch can all help boost your nutrient intake.

Adopt the Japanese principle of hara hachi bu, which means eating until you're 80% full. Those of us who were told to clean our plates while growing up often struggle to know when to stop eating. Checking in with yourself regularly over the course of your meal can help you understand how to feel satisfied without feeling stuffed.

Establish a consistent sleep schedule

Keeping a solid sleep schedule can help you maintain great sleep hygiene. Going to sleep at the same time and waking up at the same time each day can work to support a healthy immune system and keep you feeling your best.

Establishing a solid nighttime routine—including taking a few minutes to unwind—can help support healthy sleep hygiene. Experts recommend avoiding screens as much as possible for the hour before you go to sleep, as well as turning down the thermostat in your room to around 65 degrees.

Embrace work-life balance strategies

In today's always-available world, it can be tough to step away from work, but doing so is imperative for your physical and mental well-being. For many people, working from home in a post-pandemic world has made it even more difficult to separate work life and home life. Establishing boundaries can be tough, but it's important to separate your work life and your personal life so you can have the time you need to relax and reset. Taking small steps can work to help you move forward with creating a hard line between your work self and your off-the-clock self.

Try these tips to begin the process of creating a separation from work:

  • Set a start and end time, and stick to it. If you receive requests toward the end of your work day, let your supervisor know that you'll need to tackle the requests at the start of the following work day.
  • Set boundaries on digital communication platforms. If your workplace uses a digital communication system like Slack or Teams, set your status to away or unavailable when you log off for the day.
  • If possible, use separate devices for your work and your personal life. At the end of your work day, set your device on its charger in an out-of-the way location.

Use technology in your favor

You already use technology regularly throughout the day, and it's smart to make your phone, smartwatch, and other devices work for you. At Evidation, we put your health data to work, analyzing your activity level, stress level, nutrition, and more to create the personalized insights necessary to help you feel your best. Click here to learn more and download the app today.

The bottom line: you don't need to make huge changes to start the path toward feeling your best. Implementing one or two small changes each week can allow you to build a life of sustainable healthy habits that allow you to thrive.

Healthy habits
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