8 Ways to Live a Little Healthier if You’re Not a Kale Eating Gym Bunny
It is pretty much impossible to access any social media platform without having an açaí bowl slammed in your face these days, and the pressure to identify as “super healthy” is at an all time high. Although “being healthy” means completely different things to everyone, we’re kind of socially wired to believe that we need to fit into a certain box to be able to define ourselves as healthy. It’s definitely a positive thing that people are becoming more aware of their health, but it also puts a large amount of pressure on everyone who would list “Netflix and carbs” above “health and wellness” when asked about their personal interests. The truth is, not everyone loves getting soaking wet in a spinning class, not everyone loves lifting weights or going to crossfit, and not everyone loves kale, green juices and açaí bowls, and that is perfectly fine. We are all different, which means we all need to find our own personalized way of taking care of our bodies and our minds, and ultimately: our own way to be healthy.
We’ve put together a list of some simple adjustments you can make to your everyday life in order to make it a little bit healthier – without signing up to a marathon, neglecting your social life or throwing out all the refined carbs in your cupboards.
Give Your Snacking Habits A Makeover
Snacks have a tendency to make up a large portion of our daily intake – often without us even noticing we’re eating them. Snacks are typically consumed because we need a little ‘pick-me-up’ and more often than not, we tend to not pay much attention to what they are because we feel like we need them. Be on top of the situation and ready to take on any “snack emergency” that may come your way by stocking up on healthy granola bars, nuts, apples, greek yogurt, fruits and vegetables. Most Scandinavian supermarkets have a great selection of snacks; anything from little bags of baby carrots to small bags of nuts and dried fruit, so it’s easy to vary your healthy snacks as well. Preparation is key, ladies, and healthy snacks are delicious – remember, even grabbing a piece of dark chocolate rather than a snickers bar, or choosing a whole grain scone over a cinnamon bun is better than nothing.
Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate
One of the easiest ways to stay healthy without really doing anything, is drinking enough water. Water is required for so many processes in the body, and staying on top of your hydration situation is a super easy way to get a little healthier. If you’re not big on water – try adding some fruit or cucumber to your water bottle to make it more appealing.
Make A Habit Of Including More Physical Activity In Your Everyday Life
This sounds boring, but the truth is that it can be done without you even thinking about it. Getting into the habit of moving more without noticing is a great thing to do for your health. Maybe this means getting up 10 minutes earlier in the morning to do some stretches, maybe it means getting off the bus one stop early to get a few extra steps in, maybe it means walking to and/or from work a couple of times a week, maybe it means walking to a meeting rather than getting a taxi or public transport, maybe it means getting up at lunch and walking around the block rather than gossiping with your colleagues (if you don’t want to miss out on the gossip – take your colleagues with you) or maybe it means taking the stairs rather than the elevator.
Incorporating more physical activity is such an easy thing to do, and after a couple of weeks you won’t even notice yourself doing it. I, for incidence, never take the elevator if can take the stairs, I walk to and/or from work whenever the weather allows it, and I jump off one stop early if I get the tram. After you’ve done this a couple of times, the thought of not doing it will make you feel very lazy and then, my friend, you’ve created a habit.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is an aspect of health that is often neglected due to our busy lifestyles and packed to-do lists, but oh-so-important. Prioritizing sleep and making sure your body gets a sufficient “re-set” is a very simple to improve your health, as long as you make a conscious decision to do so. Like in every other aspect of life, we’re all different, so you need to find out how many hours of sleep you need each night to feel like the best version of yourself and perform at your best. For me, anywhere between 7 and 8 hours of sleep is ideal, but you may be fine with 6 – or you may need 9. Make a conscious decision to hit the sheets a little earlier than you usually do, turn your phone on silent and let yourself drift away to the land of dreams. Your body (and mind) will be grateful.
Try A Workout Class You’ve Never Tried Before
Ok, you don’t love the gym and you absolutely hated that crossfit class that your friend convinced you to come to, but maybe you just haven’t found the right type of exercise yet? Although we tend to use the phrases “working out” or “exercising” about anything involving sweating or moving our bodies around, it can mean a whole ocean of different things, and the fact that high intensity interval training wasn’t really your thing, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t love yoga, swimming or zumba. Think about the aspects of the workouts you’ve already tried that you did not like, and try to find a class that doesn’t include those aspects – or at least not all of them. Before you know it you might be heading to yoga class three times a week.
Being outside is highly underrated, and going for a walk or breathing some fresh air isn’t only good for your physical health, but your mental health too. Put your trainers on and go for a walk outside. Make your way to the forest or some nearby hiking trails, and if you’re up for it, find some hills and get your heart rate up. Bring a friend that you haven’t seen in a while, and you won’t even notice you’re actually being physically active.
Swap Your Refrigerator Regulars For Healthier Options
There are many products we’re so used to picking up at the store, we buy them without even noticing. Take a look at some of the items in your fridge and cupboards and look at the amount of sugar and saturated fats they contain – maybe there are better options available? If you love crisps, exchange the regular ones for some whole grain or reduced fat ones, if you love yoghurts, find one with a lower saturated fat and/or sugar content, if you love butter, buy some avocados and use them as a spread the next time you make a sandwich – the possibilities are endless. There are always items that can be exchanged for better ones, and without saying you need to exchange them all (or at all), being more aware of what goes into your body is definitely a positive step in the direction of becoming a little bit healthier.
Set Aside Some Time Just For You
Health is about so much more than consuming the “right” foods (which is not a thing) and getting enough weekly exercise in, and setting aside some time to do something that you really love can be much better for your health than a spinning class – if that is what your mind and body needs. Whether you love to read books, watch a great movie, take a bath, dance around in your underwear to your favorite song or spend time with your friends, prioritizing those things are just as important for your health and well being.
And always always always remember: Big Macs dont’t look great on Instagram – açaí bowls do.
[Please feel free to share your thoughts and reflections in the comments section]