4 Simple Habits for a Happier, Healthier Life

With fall right around the corner, it’s a perfect time to create and settle into new habits that leave you feeling healthier and happier. Having a lifestyle that leaves you feeling your best doesn’t have to be over complicated. In fact, starting with small, simple habits can make a large impact on your health in the long run. In all honesty, building new habits is hard; on average it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic.

So here are 4 simple habits to keep in mind for a happier, healthier life.

Prioritize sleep

No matter what phase of life you’re in, sleep can be troublesome. If you’re a student in college, long papers and studying for exams can keep you up late into the night. If you’re a new parent, your new baby might be waking up every few hours and interrupting your much-needed sleep. As you get older, insomnia and sleepless nights tend to become more common. Needless to say, settling into a healthy sleep routine is difficult.

As previously mentioned, creating habits takes time and dedication. Oftentimes it can be beneficial to ease your way into a new habit and let it evolve over time. For example, if you’re aiming for 8 hours of sleep a night but currently only getting about 5, start by aiming for 5.5 or 6 hours. When you’re just starting out, try a sleep meditation to calm the mind and prepare the body for rest. Slowly but surely you can make it up to 8 hours a night. A good night of sleep is a great way to replenish your body for the next day and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.

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Eat nourishing foods

It is common knowledge that eating healthy has countless benefits. Fueling your body with nourishing food can reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and stroke to name a few. A well-balanced diet can also improve mood, mental health, and energy levels. However, knowing this information doesn’t always make it easy to live by. With fast food and unhealthy snacks seemingly always at our fingertips, it can be all too easy to choose the convenient option over the healthy one.

Similar to taking baby steps around altering sleep patterns, try to start with small changes surrounding diet. Start by learning what a well-balanced diet consists of. When shopping for groceries, start reading nutrition labels and become cognizant of what you’re putting in your body. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is to shop the perimeter of the store; this will keep you from buying snacks such as chips or candy, while encouraging fruits, vegetables and proteins like meat or fish. If all of that seems overwhelming, try to make at least one meal a day a healthy, nutritious-filled option.

Simplify your life

Unfortunately, avoiding stress completely is relatively unlikely, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to simplify your life and reduce those stress levels. Stress has a way of greatly impacting your health, and not for the better. A great way to decrease stress in your life is to change and simplify small habits in your life. The little things have a tendency to add up, and can make a real effect on your overall health and wellbeing.

Take a moment and think about the small acts that make up your daily, weekly, or monthly routine. One place to start implementing healthy habits is your nightly routine. Do you ever find yourself skipping out on washing your face because you are too tired? Or maybe you use a makeup wipe as a quick alternative? Washing your face each night will have a lasting impact, it will reduce the appearance of clogged pores, will remove any makeup or germs that have been sitting on the surface of your skin, and it will promote all-around healthy skin.

Another aspect of a nightly routine for many is contact care. Reusing a set of contacts for more than the recommended number of days can lead to some unsanitary issues. This unhygienic process often stems from running out of contact lenses before having the opportunity to reorder more. Buying contacts shouldn’t feel like a chore. Setting up a monthly reminder before you run out allows you to order contacts online right to your door so you have one less thing to worry about. Something as simple as prioritizing your physical health and hygiene is an excellent way to begin creating healthy habits. These small changes to reduce stress make for a much happier and healthier life.

Move your body

A workout routine is not something that comes easy to everybody for a number of reasons. Some people feel as though they don’t have enough time in the day, some don’t enjoy it, others have put it off for so long that the thought of returning brings anxiety. While all are valid reasons, it’s imperative to move your body in one way or another to maximize, or maintain, your health and happiness.

Set aside ten minutes a day to move your body, even if it’s a quick walk around the block. Slowly increase that time until you reach 30 minutes a day for the most health benefits. Ask a friend to join you, or listen to a podcast while you walk. If walking doesn’t entice you, find something that does! Move your body in a way that feels best for you, and the rest will fall into place.

The main takeaway is this: start small and be patient with yourself. Healthy habits take time to stick, but it will always be worth it in the end! Once you take the first step, you’re already on your way to a healthier and happier life.