Healthy Habits: The Experts’ Guide For a Healthy Lifestyle
A new year is coming, and with that, we always want to start fresh and create new good habits. A healthy diet and regular exercise are unquestionably beneficial to your health, but what about your everyday habits at home? You can do various things to encourage and enjoy a healthy lifestyle, from your daily routine to getting enough sleep. It’s been stated that good habits start at home, and this is certainly true in terms of your job, relationships, and physical health.
We gathered some of the best on the topic, and they gave us their expert opinion on how to start and maintain good habits that lead to a healthy lifestyle. From productivity to mindfulness, we covered most of the questions to help you achieve better habits every day.
- Why is mental health so important?
The simplest answer I can provide is that there isn’t a single area of our lives that isn’t impacted in some way by mental health. Mentally healthy people tend to be better with finances, less likely to develop addictions, be more physically fit, enjoy more satisfying personal relationships, and are usually more productive at work or school. Most of us will experience some level of mental illness in our lives, so it’s important to take proactive steps to keep ourselves mentally healthy. Therapy, exercise, positive peer relationships, a fulfilling vocation, and avoiding excessive alcohol or drug use are tools we can all use to maintain optimal mental health.
– Randy Withers, LCMHC. Licensed therapist and Founder of Blunt Therapy
- What is Enlightenment and how can I apply it to my every day?
Enlightenment is the recognition that the source of life for you is the source of life for everyone and everything. Essentially, at a quantum level, we are all one thing expressing itself with infinite variety. This is a very empowering context. When you practice this context, you become unoffendable. People and situations that used to bother you become neutral instead of charged. When fear subsides, your creativity is sparked, which inspires you to activate your courage. When you know that we are all one thing expressing itself, your urgency subsides. You relax and start smiling more. Enlightenment is very very practical.
– Matthew Ferry at MatthewFerry.com
- What is self-soothing and how can I improve it?
Life can be hard. Why try to navigate it without gifting yourself gentleness and love? Self-soothing is a grounding skill that requires practice. But once you’re comfortable with your technique, you’ll have a calming friend you can turn to anytime. Self-soothing: you can start right now.
– Bill White, MS at Chipur
- How can I keep positive and motivated in hard times?
My first thought is that first, you need to realize that it’s OK not to be positive and motivated all the time. Sometimes hard times mean that your brain and body need to take a break. Our culture tells us that we need to keep going all the time to get to the next step — but I know so many people who have taken that next step that has become so burned out they quit everything.
So the first step would be acknowledging when your body and mind need a break. And giving yourself some space to do that (trust me, it’s not a break when you are scrolling on social media for a half hour worried that you need to be getting your to-do list done).
The best breaks involve putting your phone down and doing something you love. Taking a walk around the block and looking at the trees in your neighborhood, tackling a project you’ve been meaning to do in your garage or kitchen. Calling a friend that can help keep you positive.
When it comes to staying motivated, one of my biggest tips is to write down where you see yourself in a year. Grab a pen and a physical piece of paper, and write down what a positive day in life would be for you if you were doing what you (realistically) wanted to be doing in a year. Visualizing what your life would look like is really helpful to start building tasks to get you from where you are at the moment to where you want to be.
– Shana Bull, Children’s Book Author at ShanaBull.com
What are writing affirmations, and how can they help me?Affirmations are positive statements that help to focus our minds, bodies, and spirits on the desired outcome. We can write our own affirmations about a situation, circumstance, or even a health issue, and write them daily in a journal or on a yellow sticky note to add to the bathroom mirror!
The great Louise Hay, the founder of Hay House Publishing, was one of the first people in the Western world to understand that our own inner dialogue affects our biology – therefore positive language in the form of written and spoken affirmations creates positive endorphins (feel-good chemicals) in our bodies. Over time, writing down your own inspirational affirmations that you have created, or affirmations that inspire you from others will help change your mind for the better by increasing the endorphin levels in your body and raising your health and wellbeing.
– Sarah Lawrence at Mom On A Spiritual Journey
- How can I start to be more productive throughout the day?
The number one thing you can do to increase your productivity is to begin your day with a plan. If you want to spend more time on the projects, activities, and relationships that are most important and meaningful to you. You can’t meander through your day, it requires intentional effort. Planning and prioritizing your time can be as simple as taking a few minutes each morning to jot down what you want to focus on throughout the day. And remember, tasks often take much longer than we anticipate, so give yourself plenty of time to complete each item.
– Matt at Matt East
- What is mindfulness, and how can I add it to my daily routine?
Mindfulness isn’t something that you do. It’s a quality of attention that you bring into whatever you are doing now. Be fully present with what you are doing now.
– Adrian at The Now Project
- What is timeblocking, and how to implement it in my daily routine?
Timeblocking is carving out time in your calendar for doing specific tasks or projects. Generally, you add events to your calendar with the task or project name and the time you need to complete it. This helps you keep that focus time and provides more incentive for completing it. You can start by simply adding your daily or weekly tasks to your calendar or using a tool like Taskable that makes it easy to drag your tasks into your calendar.
– Matt Johnson at Taskable
- How to overcome procrastination?
To overcome procrastination, your first have to identify a clear objective and what you’re trying to achieve. Don’t overthink it. Write it down somewhere and then just start. Before you know it you’ll be halfway through it which will keep you motivated to see it all the way through.
– Sean Clarke at Project Energise
- How can I start lifestyle changes at home?
I believe this is the number one place to begin.
- Keep it fun and keep it simple. The two things that we do most in our day are sleep and eat, which ultimately play large roles in health and wellness.
- Good sleep hygiene is a great place to start. Start with a regular bedtime and wake time. Keep it consistent. Get a wind-down routine of shutting off screens. Perhaps get a light stretching routine in the evening in a quiet space. This is also a time to add in some diaphragmatic breathing in order to engage the parasympathetic nervous system. This results in lowering the blood pressure and heart rate. A good night’s sleep is like a reboot into the right brain and a creative morning practice.
- Tie exercise to your current morning rituals. Have your workout clothes laid out and ready to go. I am a huge fan of outdoor exercise. Fresh air and the morning sunrise is great way to start the day. I like to start with five to ten minutes of a dynamic warm-up targeted at the bid muscle groups moving the hips and shoulders. Begin with a short commitment to get outside each morning for 10-15 minutes. A simple out and back walk will get you hooked! A little self-talk never hurts to get you out of the door. I always give myself an out. For example, “I am just going to go nice and easy today,” or “if I am really tired at a mile, I will cut it short. Next thing you know, I am out and feeling good. Add 10% a week striving for 40 to 60 minutes daily. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of cardio training a week and 2 sessions of strength training. The goal is to get your heart rate up for some of those cardio minutes that you are breathing a little harder. Maintain the ability to talk in complete sentences. A good trick is the Pledge of Allegiance test. And a short memorized paragraph will do. Say the Pledge at rest. Now when you are exerting yourself, say it again. If you cannot talk in complete sentences, your heart rate is most likely above your anaerobic threshold. That is at the point where your body switches to burning more carbohydrates than fat for energy because carbohydrate metabolism requires less oxygen. Safe and efficient cardiovascular system training is best achieved in the aerobic zone, where oxygen can be used to burn fat. You will also be less likely to get injured which will allow you to maintain your exercise over time. This is the goal. Develop a daily routine that allows you to keep making steady progress over a long period.
- Lifestyle change would not be complete if nutrition was not a huge part. Look for the colors of the rainbow. Add fruit to each meal. Aim for six servings of green vegetables daily. Minimize animal products as well as products from a box or can. Add a new recipe each week. Menu plan before shopping to avoid being overwhelmed with food.
– Jaimela Dulaney at Doctor Dulaney