20 Super Simple Ways to Be Healthy in 2016 | Health Tips
by Renée Leonard Stainton
Posted: January 29, 2016
Our nutrition and wellness expert Renée Leonard-Stainton gives you 20 simple health tips to integrate into your lifestyle to smoothly transition into a balanced routine in 2016.
After weeks of drinking one too many glasses of bubbles, indulging in ‘just one more piece’ of pavlova and trading workout sessions for parties, many of us are itching to get back into a healthier routine at the start of the year. Here are 20 super simple ideas to help gear you up for a healthy 2016.
1. Make sleep a priority
Being sleep deprived disrupts our hunger and stress hormones, making us prone to binging on calorie-dense foods with lots of sugar, refined carbohydrates, and fat. If you have trouble sleeping, try relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga. Or try a small bedtime snack of foods shown to help shift the body and mind into sleep mode; oatmeal, cherries or chamomile tea. Aim for seven hours (minimum) a night.
2. Take small movement breaks
Does your back ache after a few hours slouched at your computer? Do you read the same line on a page over and over without taking anything in? Try tuning into your own “Break-time alarm" by noticing what happens in your body when you've hit a wall while doing sedentary work. Get up, do some stretches or have a walk around office; or better yet, head outside for a little sunshine. Giving yourself these short little movement breaks when your body calls out for them is a quick way to avoid burnout, increase energy and reduce stress.
3. Plan your meals
It sounds tedious and boring, but it really does help you to stay on track with healthy eating. If you plan your meals out a week in advance, you can then ensure you shop efficiently and have all the healthy food you need on hand. It also reduces stress when it comes to dinnertime and you’re hungry and tired after a big day!
4. Drink more water
Our bodies are 90 percent water and need it for almost every function. Aim for two litres of purified water every day.
5. Hang out in nature
Trees and other plants are regularly turning our carbon dioxide into rich oxygen we can breathe. Getting rich, oxygenated air helps kill bacteria and viruses, improves breathing, and increases energy. Hanging out in nature also reduces stress levels and helps connect us to the earth and it’s energy; a process often referred to as ‘grounding’.
6. Hug someone you love
When you hug someone you love, your body releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin that help minimise the risk of depression.
Just taking some time out to clear your thoughts and unplugging from technology and people can help you feel more balanced and peaceful. Any amount of daily meditation is a bonus, but 20 minutes every morning is a great ideal to aim for.
8. Focus on your breath
Deep breathe for at least five focused minutes daily. Research shows that deep breathing, even for minutes, can reduce stress hormone levels. That translates into less anxiety, better sleep, and less likelihood to pack on the pounds.
9. Have daily fresh juice
Preferably organic juice and with green veggies added. Green juices are very alkalizing to the body and provide ample nutrients and health benefits.
10. Reduce toxins in your home
Products containing harsh chemicals can disrupt the body’s hormone balance and cause allergies and skin conditions. Eliminate at least one item from your life that contains toxic chemicals. Look at your laundry and bathroom cupboards and as products run out or are past their expiry date, work at replacing toxic products with more natural options.
11. Dry skin brush
Dry skin brushing in small circles with a natural bristled brush boosts your blood circulation and the movement of lymph through your body. This helps eliminate toxic waste buildup in your tissues, while boosting your energy. Best results are achieved when you work from your extremities toward your heart.
12. Have Epsom salt baths
The magnesium in Epsom salts absorbs through your skin and helps relax your muscles and reduce pain levels. It also helps eliminate toxins from your body. Aim for 1.5 cups of epsom salts in a bath and soak for 20 minutes.
13. Consume probiotics
Research shows that your immunity begins in your gut. Probiotics help to support beneficial gut bacteria.
14. Write a journal
Putting pen to paper can be a liberating and/or cathartic experience. Try keeping a journal, or even just writing your anxieties and tossing them in the trash. A 2012 study found that writing down something that is stressing you out and then physically throwing it away may help clear your mind.
15. Stay away from plastic
It’s full of phthalates and other petrochemical byproducts. Don’t use it to microwave foods in and avoid drinking water from plastic bottles.
16. Think positive
Research shows a healthy positive outlook helps to build a healthier immune system and boosts overall health.
17. Focus on gratitude
Write down at least 10 things for which you are grateful. Focusing on the things you are grateful for allows for less time focusing on the things you want or are difficult to obtain. Increasing amounts of research show that gratitude builds better health and happiness.
18. Eat your vegetables
Shoot for five servings of vegetables a day.
19. Exercise daily
Studies show that even 10 minutes of exercise makes a difference, so get moving! Turn up the stereo and dance like no-one’s watching. Jump on a bike. Walk to the park with your kids. Go for a hike. Jump in the ocean. Your body was made to move. We all know this but, we often need a reminder to just do it.
20. Keep good company
You can have all the right health goals in place but if you have personal relationships with people who have unhealthy habits, it’s often an uphill battle. The healthiest people are those who have relationships with other healthy people. Get your family or friends involved with you when you exercise or plan healthier meals.
Aim to make the tips above daily habits and before you know it you’ll be living and enjoying a healthy lifestyle!
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