As they say – new year, new me. People are constantly striving to get their health in order, in one way or another. Some attempts are more effective than others, but there’s always a drive for making improvements. When you want to get healthier, there are a lot of things you have to change, and different changes will have different levels of impact on your day to day life. If you’re looking to make some natural improvements, there are a few key things you should try out. Here are some of the best examples and how to stick to them.
Keep stress under control
There’s been a lot of talk about stress and its effects on the human body. It’s no wonder, people are more stressed-out than ever. It’s a consequence of living in a fast-paced world and getting things done. However, progress and success shouldn’t come at the cost of your health. This is why it’s important to take care of that stress before it really starts to impact your life. It’s surprising how easily negative emotions can affect our bodies. At the same time, it’s rather difficult to improve your emotional standing without making some drastic changes.
There’s plenty of things that can cause stress in everyday life. One of the most common culprits is pressure at work. When you’re constantly stressing about how you’re going to meet your deadlines, this can make you feel like you’re under pressure. To avoid this, you’re going to want to either reduce your workload in some way or change your perspective. For most people, reducing their work and income simply isn’t an option, which is why the latter choice seems more reasonable.
So, how do you deal with the tons of work piling up every day? The simplest answer would be to start early whenever you can. If the work truly isn’t reasonably spaced out, there would be no way to finish it, even if you tried. What’s more likely is that it can be finished, but in a timely manner. If you’re able to force yourself to start crunching before the deadline is even close, you might find that it would increase your efficiency and give you more time for complications and delays, should they occur.
The cause of some stressors isn’t easily solved. But what you can do is keep them manageable, so that they don’t negatively impact you. Many different life events can cause great stress. Things like moving states, changing professions, or relationship issues can strain your thoughts every single day. It’s good to have someone to talk to about these things. If you aren’t comfortable with discussing this with close ones, you can always talk to a therapist. They can be surprisingly helpful in these situations.
Put the pack down
There’s no reason to beat around the bush for this one – smoking is bad. There are very few people that would argue against this. The drawbacks outweigh the benefits of cigarettes by quite a bit, especially when it comes to physical health. Despite this, smoking remains a worldwide phenomenon and people refuse to quit cigarettes.
The issue is that most people aren’t aware of all the different effects nicotine and tobacco have on their bodies. It’s not just the looming threat of cancer that should worry you. Smokers experience a wide array of effects from regular consumption of tobacco. Everything from lethargy to constant coughing can be attributed to consistent smoking habits.
Surprisingly, smoking can also affect your sleep schedule. What you may not know is that nicotine is actually a stimulant. Consistently taking a small dose of nicotine throughout the day won’t really impact your day much, but it will grant you a tiny bit of focus right after a cigarette. When consumed at night, this small effect can add up. You’re less likely to be sleepy after taking a cigarette because it stimulates you to stay awake. Your heart rate and blood pressure go up and your wakefulness increases, even though there’s a calming feeling. Many will end up suffering from insomnia due to the effects of cigarettes, which can keep you awake with cravings even after you put them down.
Getting rid of cigarettes would greatly benefit your health. If possible, try to make the quitting process easier on yourself by first reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke. Afterward, you can try moving on to low-nicotine alternatives or vape pens, as they are much healthier.
Maintain regular sleep
Sleep is one of those things that have a bigger impact on our health than we might think. It’s absolutely crucial that you get the right amount of shut-eye every night so that you improve your physical and mental well-being.
Avoid delaying your beauty sleep in favor of responsibilities. Most people will just crunch all night while doing work and then say that they’ll sleep it off later. When there’s a big week coming up, things like exams and work projects often take priority to oversleep. It doesn’t really matter though, you’ll sleep it off on the weekend anyway, right? Unfortunately, sleep doesn’t really work like that.
The common myth of repaying your sleep debt isn’t something you should stick to. Every night is crucial for your sleeping schedule and you have to get as many hours out of it as possible if you aren’t able to get a full night’s sleep. If you’re a night owl, you might want to utilize some helpful aides to get you sleeping earlier. The right tea or music can put you in the mood, especially if you have adjustable lighting in your bedroom. On the other hand, you could also try exercising in the form of yoga, or meditating to get you fast asleep.
Keep in mind, there’s also such a thing as too much sleep. Even if you aren’t exactly fast asleep, you might be spending hours laying in bed and trying to fall asleep. This time is not only wasted, but it also contributes to your sleeplessness. To get the most out of your sleep schedule, go gradually towards a healthy tempo. Go to sleep fifteen minutes earlier than your usual time every night, and try to time it so that you eventually reach a healthy rhythm. You’ll find it a lot easier than forcing yourself to lay down at 11 PM.
Reduce salt intake
Salt is the definite king of kitchen spices. You can’t prepare a meal without including salt in some shape or form. It’s also one of the most essential minerals that we require on a daily basis. However, this often goes unmentioned because of the sheer amount of salt available to us at all times. You’re rarely if ever, going to run out of salt for long. On the other end of the spectrum, overdoing salt is very much a common problem.
Saltshakers are readily available at every dinner table, and people don’t hesitate to add a little more with every meal. Getting it too salty can prove to be hazardous to one’s health. Overconsumption of sodium can cause a host of health issues. The problems stem from the increase in blood pressure that comes with high sodium. High blood pressure causes and exacerbates many heart-related issues, making it very dangerous in the long-term.
To reduce salt intake, you’re going to want to put down the salt shaker during dinner. Taste your food while preparing it and you might find that it’s just as tasty with only a bit of salt. At the same time, try to compensate for less salt by adding more herbs, red pepper flakes, and other spices to make the food tastier. Salt is just one of the many things that can make your healthy food delicious, but it’s not the only thing.
Get your blood pumping
It’s no secret that exercise is good for you. It’s one of the first things mentioned whenever there’s talk about improving health. The extent of how much exercise and fitness help might be understated, though. It’s something that can improve your quality of life in many different ways.
Starting with the physical aspect, exercise gets your blood pumping. It helps keep your heart in good condition, making it easier to partake in normal, everyday activities. You feel less lethargic when you’re used to exercising because your body is always primed for physical activity. Sweating from time to time is pretty good for your pores as well.
There seems to be no shortage of physical benefits to exercising, but that’s not all it has to offer. Physical activity can also affect you on a mental level. Working out releases endorphins, giving you a feel-good sensation every time you exercise. Doing so regularly has been shown to improve mood and allow for better and more stable sleep schedules. It can also mitigate depression, which is why so many psychologists advocate for physical activity when symptoms are present.
Working out takes time and motivation, which is something people don’t usually have, especially when they aren’t used to regular exercise. Running on a treadmill gets boring pretty quickly, but that’s not the only option out there. Coupling exercise with the outdoors has been shown to be extremely effective at getting people out there and improving their mental well-being. Riding a bike can be made even more fun with some interesting natural backdrops. Mountain biking gets your blood pumping and makes for a solid adventure. All you need is a solid bike and some safety gear. Choosing your ride shouldn’t be a problem, there are many types and designs for quality full suspension mountain bikes out there. Safety gear is also probably readily available at any bicycle store in your area. Soaring through the mountains is something that you might fall in love with, which will make getting your daily dose of exercise much easier.
Stretch from time to time
While we’re on the topic of physical activity, exercising is just one part of the equation. Once you’re done with your regular workout, it might be time to get some stretching done. Even experienced athletes sometimes forego stretching, simply because it doesn’t seem like such an important aspect of their routine. However, stretching comes with its own set of benefits for your health.
There are entire exercises, such as yoga, that involve a lot of stretching. This is because stretching activates your muscles and releases endorphins much like exercise. There’s also the added element of relaxation that it provides for your body. Stretching helps rip any weak or inflamed muscle fibers that might not recover any time soon, making way for existing fibers to grow and expand. This makes muscle growth quicker and easier.
If you’ve ever stretched well before bed, you’ll know that it’s something that helps get you in the right mood for sleep. It’s a casual and relaxing activity that makes your body feel a lot more comfortable, especially if done after some major exercise. It’s not uncommon for people to fall asleep while they’re doing stretches on their bed.
There are also practical stretches that can help you improve balance. Tai Chi is one such stretching exercise with lots of benefits. It’s much like yoga, except it utilizes different move sets and exercises. With a little practice, you can prevent falls and increase your overall balance. Plus, you get some martial arts experience from it, if you choose to focus on that aspect.
Improving your health doesn’t require a lot of money or assistance from health professionals. The main ingredients you require are dedication and consistency. Making important changes in your daily habits and sticking to them is the best way to improve your health, without a doubt. How you approach your health will have a long-lasting impact on your whole life. Introducing some of the above changes can make a difference, which is why you should consider it. The best part is – once you start keeping a regular schedule of healthy behavior, you’re going to find it difficult to stop.