You’ve probably spent most of the past year focused on preventing illness. Why not consider it an opportunity to improve your lifestyle to promote positive health?
You don’t need to go on a month-long yoga retreat or live on a diet of green smoothies. Here are six simple goals for a healthier summer that you can work into your current routine.
Spring-Clean Your Diet
What does it mean to “eat clean?” The definition varies from person to person, but a few elementary rules remain universal.
can be as simple as making healthier substitutes. For example, replacing red meat with fish once or twice a week can significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Add veggies inconspicuously if you are adverse — sneak a kale leaf in your lunchtime wrap or add some slivered jicama to fish tacos for crunch.
Move Your Body
Exercise is vital to both your mental and physical well-being. Best of all, it need not be expensive or painful. You can find tons of free workout videos on YouTube or opt for fresh air options like hiking, biking and walking.
If impact hurts your joints, get in the pool. It’s the perfect season to do so, after all. Submerging yourself to your chest supports 90% of your body weight, taking the pressure off your knees, hips and back.
Take a Vacation
Unlike their cousins in European nations, Americans get the short end of the vacation stick. Fully a third of all citizens don’t get any paid leave, and those who do often leave it on the table out of fear of repercussions or returning to a mountain of work. However, failing to take a break when you need one can negatively affect your productivity — and health.
If at all possible, please bring back the summer vacation tradition. If you’re among the unfortunate who can’t afford to get away, find small ways to take more breaks. Could you leave an hour or two early on a Friday if you can’t afford a full day off to care for your health?
Become More Mindful
Mindfulness takes you out of spiraling future fears or ruminations about an unchangeable past and grounds you in the present. As such, it’s terrific for calming anxiety, but that isn’t the only benefit.
Researchers investigated chronic pain patients and found a noticeable reduction in pain symptoms. The practice also helped them cope with the mental effects of ongoing illness. You can start meditating in only minutes a day for free — all you need is a quiet place to sit.
You can also incorporate mindfulness exercises into your daily routine when you notice your thoughts beginning a downward spiral. Try the chocolate exercise. Break off a small square, but take time to sniff and nibble it before you pop it in your mouth. Once you do, experience the moment of savoring flavor and texture on your tongue.
Do a Kind Deed
It turns out that volunteering might do as much for your health as it does to help those you serve. Performing acts of kindness release a flood of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin.
Given recent events, you don’t have to search long to find opportunities. Many community food banks still need help distributing parcels to those who can’t make it to the center. Animal shelters nearly always need volunteers to help socialize felines and get Fido his exercise.
Get a Good Night’s Rest
Your sleep patterns impact everything from your mental health to your immunity. Sleep deprivation can prove as dangerous as drinking and driving in some cases — the effect on your cognitive abilities and reaction time is that severe. Worrying about not getting adequate rest can keep you from the very shuteye you need, creating a vicious anxiety cycle.
Your body also produces anti-inflammatory cytokines while you sleep. These substances help you fight infection, and insufficient levels could result in you catching every bug circulating the office.
Make your bedroom into a haven by removing all electronic devices and swapping out your alarm clock for a model that doesn’t scream, “you only have three hours left,” in bright red letters. Use whatever assistive devices that you need to make the space quiet and cozy. Blackout curtains and white noise machines can help shift workers and those with noisy roommates.
Embrace These 6 Simple Goals for a Healthier Summer
Why not make this season the one of self-care? Please embrace the six simple goals above for a healthier, happier summer.