We get it, healthy behavior doesn’t always come naturally to everyone and it’s easy to beat yourself up about failing at certain diets or exercise regimens. In the spirit of wellness and self-care (and not making yourself feel terrible), Abby is sharing some simple everyday “hacks” she’s adapted to make life a little bit healthier. Read on for her 12 tips.
I’ll be the first one to admit, I’m not a naturally healthy person. Growing up, I hated eating my fruits and vegetables (to the point where I’d pay my sisters a dime to eat them for me), I love junk food (put french fries in front of me and they are gone in a flash) and to this day, I still have trouble prioritizing my health and participating in self-care. For me, health and wellness can be a struggle—it’s work, and if I’m going to be honest, I just get lazy about it. If you’re anything like me, you are always bookmarking health and wellness articles in hopes of adapting better habits and routines, but you either never look at them again or you try them once or twice but they never stick. Today, I’m sharing a few easy tips on how to be a little healthier each day—and the lazy girl way (aka my way) to do them.
As I’m writing this, I fully know that I haven’t mastered all these tips on the daily. I’m still working on it, but I’m trying to do a few each day and maybe one day, I’ll work them all into my daily routine. Some things are just harder for some people—like astronomy or astrophysics. I’m a work in progress, and that’s OK.
- Do a few stretches in the morning: When you do some stretches in the morning, it wakes up your body and mind. It makes me feel less groggy and moody even though I’m really not a morning person—seriously! When I get out of bed in the morning, I do a big yawn and stretch with my arms over my head. If I need a reminder, I look over at my dog, Nellie, who always stretches before she gets out of bed. There, I’m much more awake and ready to start the day!
- Drink a glass of water before anything else: This is one I’ve fully mastered (gives herself a pat on the back). When you wake up in the morning, typically your body is dehydrated. Before, I’d skip the water and go straight for the coffee—french vanilla with a packet of Truvia—which just continues to make me feel more dehydrated and sluggish mid-morning. I make this into a game (like a child) and see how quickly I can chug my water. I’ve also started a water tally on a Post-it note on my desk and I put a tally every time I drink a glass of water, so I can keep track during the day and make sure I’m getting enough.
- Add some supplements into your diet (after consulting your doctor of course): There’s really no world where I can see myself just whipping up a turmeric or matcha latte or drinking some sort of detox drink on the regular. Don’t even get me started on green juice. I consulted with my doctor to see how I can get the same benefits, and now I take magnesium, turmeric and vitamin D supplements once a day with my meal. I keep them at my desk so I don’t forget, and typically take them before I get up from my desk for breakfast or lunch.
- Get up from your desk for a few minutes every hour (if possible): Like most of these things, you’ve heard this one before. I’m guessing a lot of the people reading this spend the majority of the day at their desk. I feel you. I pretty much have a permanent hunch that I’m actively trying to reverse. Being stationary for so long is not healthy. These are my three “hacks,” if you will. If you work from home and have a pet, you’ll need to walk him/her every so often, which really helps (my dog literally changed my entire lifestyle). Or, if you are getting your water intake in (see number 2), you’ll likely have to get up to use the bathroom more often. The other thing I love for pretty much anything that has to do with time blocking, is this dice timer. Set it for one hour, and when it goes off, get up, walk around the block (or the floor of your office), or just step outside for some fresh air.
- Don’t eat at your desk: This one I have not mastered yet, but I’m trying. You see, working from home in my apartment, my office/desk is literally right next to the kitchen table, so I always find myself eating while browsing Pinterest or catching up on emails. Right now, I’m making it a goal to eat my lunch outside every day (weather permitting, but I do live in Southern California). I mean what’s not to love about eating, getting fresh air and a little sunshine. This also brings me to my next two items.
- Add some sort of fruit or vegetable to each meal: I feel like I always get caught up on trying to figure out what’s healthy, what’s not and if I am eating healthy enough. I beat myself up about it, which makes me a very unhappy person. So, I make it a point to eat a vegetable or add some sort of healthy component to each meal. I’ll add spinach and avocado to my eggs in the morning, or chia seeds and raisins to my oatmeal, and fortunately for me, I do crave salads now. I’m also loving riced cauliflower, zoodles and sweet potato noodles—Trader Joe’s makes it so easy.
- Put on sunscreen: Be prepared to be horrified. Until last spring, I hadn’t been to the dermatologist in 10 years. It took my sister having melanoma for me to wake up, get to the doctor for regular checkups and start wearing sunscreen on a regular basis. I am lucky that even though I’ve just had some moles removed, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I’m not going to say that I slather my whole body in sunscreen every day before I leave the house because that would be a lie. But now I put sunscreen on my face and neck before I leave the house, especially because I’ve added retinol to my skincare routine. I asked my dermatologist for a good facial moisturizer with SPF from the drugstore and she recommended this one from Neutrogena. I apply it every day after washing my face. For the rest of my body, I keep an aerosol can of sunscreen on the entryway table and try to remember to spray it on me if I’m wearing short sleeves or shorts. However, don’t ask me to apply sunscreen from a tube all over my body every day before I leave the house because it’s not happening. If skin cancer is not enough to scare you, think of sunscreen as a big part of your anti-aging routine. You’ll have to spend less money on outrageously expensive products and treatments later on in life.
- Take the stairs: Who hasn’t heard this one before? I pretty much always take the stairs unless I’m carrying something big or heavy. If you are standing and looking at the elevator or escalator, chances are the stairs are nearby. I simply repeat this to myself “the stairs are the healthier choice.” Also, I feel so much less guilty if I have to skip the gym later on in the day. That being said, if you work on the 20th floor or higher, that might be a little aggressive. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone passing out in stairways.
- Park further away in the parking lot: Parking further away from your destination in the parking lot gives you that extra chance to get some steps in (and also sometimes means you are closer to the exit). This one’s pretty easy for me because, let’s just say, I’m not the most confident of drivers and have anxiety squeezing into tighter spots. When in doubt, I park further away, where there are less cars and fewer chances to ding another vehicle.
- Create a morning mantra to repeat to yourself every day: I struggle with depression and anxiety, so creating a positive mantra to repeat to myself daily is hugely helpful. “Today’s going to be a good day,” “the glass is half full” and “tomorrow’s the first day of the rest of your life” have been helpful for me. If you have trouble remembering to repeat it to yourself, write it down and keep it next to your bedside table or desk. It totally changes my mindset when I remember these phrases.
- Try lavender oil for de-stressing: It’s not a secret that the smell of lavender is ultra-calming and helps you to relax and de-stress. I found a little roller ball of lavender oil at the drugstore and now carry it around with me and have one on my bedside table (similar here). I roll it on my wrists and behind my ears during the day if I’m feeling stressed or anxious and always put it on before bed—kind of like a nightly perfume. The roller balm is so easy to use, portable and it won’t spill all over your stuff.
- Put your phone away before bed: Yes, everyone says that and yes, I have a lot of trouble with it. I mean sometimes I just want to get into bed and catch up on Instagram and Instagram stories that I probably missed throughout the day because of that dumb algorithm—or you know because I have a job—either/or. Also, if you plug in your phone by your bedside table and use the alarm on it to wake up every morning, it’s pretty much just begging for you to do some scrolling. I give myself no more than 30 minutes to “play on my phone” and then set my alarm for the next day and turn over the phone so the screen is hidden and you can’t get all those tempting social media notifications. Then I’ll take the next 20 to 30 minutes to read (when I say read, I mean read a magazine that I’ve been wanting to go through). I do envy the people who love to read books and find it enjoyable. To me, it’s pretty much always felt like a chore (high school summer reading pretty much ruined it for me), and who wants to do chores before bed? Reading a magazine or fashion and style coffeetable book though? To me, that’s much more enjoyable. I mean it’s pretty much real life scrolling on Pinterest and it relaxes my mind and my eyes.
So there you have it, my lazy girl guide to being just a little bit healthier every day. Are you a lazy girl, too? Have any hacks to share? Leave a comment in the comments section below. I’d love to know your tips!