It’s true that you can never be 100% sure your health, but you can take actionable steps to improve it every day. Here are some of the best tools that will change your life and make your daily routines easier and less stressful. Even if you’re already fit, chances are you might not know about some of these awesome health tools!
Not all of us are natural-born morning people. Even if you are, there’s still something to be said for morning journaling. It doesn’t have to be overly-intellectual or meaningful—you don’t even have to write down actual words—but it is a great way to start your day and get into the zone. Start with 10 minutes and work up from there; once you get used to it, writing in a journal can take as little as five minutes in the morning. Plus, being able to look back on what you wrote on previous days can help keep your mind going at a good pace and make sure you stay focused throughout your day.
Use the 24-Hour Rule
Before you eat anything, have some kind of physical activity planned for within 24 hours. It doesn’t matter if it’s going on a walk or hitting up a class at your gym; you just need to make sure that exercise is in your plans before you sit down to eat. If you only have time to do 10 minutes, that’s fine! Whatever small amount of time works for you will benefit both your weight loss and overall health. No excuses! Get moving!
Lying Down for Relaxation
Sometimes you just want to shut down and unplug, if only for an hour or two. If relaxation is your goal, nothing beats lying in a quiet room with soft music or white noise playing. The important thing is to avoid thinking about what you need to get done—which is easy because there’s nothing to do! Also, don’t worry about falling asleep: It’s fine if it happens.
Yoga and Meditation
Many people don’t realize that exercise—especially non-intense, stress-reducing exercises like yoga and meditation—can help calm you down. As far as research suggests, these are two of your best bets for reducing stress levels in a healthy, holistic way. One study published in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that among various types of complementary and alternative kampung bloggers medicine (CAM), yoga was the most frequently used relaxation therapy by cancer patients. If you’re going through treatment or just want to feel more centered, try some gentle yoga poses at home or sign up for one of many free community classes offered around town.
Writing in a journal can be an effective way to deal with anxiety and keep track of your progress. It’s easy to forget what you ate for breakfast by afternoon, but you’re more likely to notice if your anxiety spikes or how long it lasts—and how those things affect other areas of your life. Try writing down three new things each day that you experience as positive or productive, either personally or professionally. Writing prompts like these can help you get started: How did I feel? What caused my feeling? How did I react? What could I have done differently? Are there any tips or habits that would have made my feelings better or prevented them from happening at all? Write down a few things you learned about yourself today.
A sleep mask is an effective way to block out light and promote a more restful sleep. Studies show that exposure to bright lights in your environment can lead to disruptions in your circadian rhythm, or natural sleep-wake cycle. Our bodies are at their most vulnerable when we’re asleep; if you want a deep, restful night’s sleep, you should make every effort to ensure your body gets what it needs. If you’re waking up every morning feeling like there’s a brick lying on top of your head and a jackhammer going off inside it, consider investing in an eye mask.
The number of hours you sleep affects your energy level and health. If you’re not sleeping enough, chances are it’s having an effect on your brainpower, too. The recommended amount of sleep is seven to nine hours a night; experiment with different hours until you find what works best for you. Try to go to bed and get up at roughly the same time every day. This will help regulate your body clock so you can fall asleep more easily at night and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.
If you’re not getting enough sleep at night, you’ll wake up feeling groggy and grumpy. If you have trouble sleeping through a good portion of your day (due to light exposure or other reasons), consider investing in a sleep mask. A simple item, it blocks out light from coming into your eyes at night, reducing stress and making it easier for you to fall asleep. When picking a sleep mask for yourself, look for one that has an adjustable strap so you can tighten it to fit around your head. These are also available with Velcro straps in case you need something extra secure but still easy to remove when needed.
Even if you’re not trying to lose weight, consuming too much caffeine can lead to dehydration and poor sleep quality. Kick your java habit by sipping on some herbal tea. Chamomile and peppermint teas are good for settling your stomach when you feel nauseous, or try licorice root tea if you have a cold or flu and you can’t stop sneezing. You can also make a caffeine alternative out of citrus fruits—oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits—by freezing them and then letting them steep in hot water for a refreshing beverage.
Keep Warm in Bed
Does your partner snore like a freight train or kick you every time they roll over? If so, you probably don’t sleep as well as you could be. That can lead to more stress and even depression; being constantly tired and inattentive can really put a damper on your mood, even if you don’t realize it. One solution: Buy a bed warmer—it’ll provide heat without forcing both of you to huddle under three layers of blankets all night long. Using a body-heat-powered unit, keep warmers are an effective and easy way to guarantee better (and more) ZZZs for everyone in your household.