I’m a fan of developing healthy habits at any time of the year, not just around New Year’s. But for many, this is when people are motivated to make changes in their lives for the better so I’m very happy to share five easy things that I’ve changed in my life over the last couple of years and that you can do to help kick-start your journey to wellness. Remember that any habit takes at least 3 weeks (21 days) to become automatic so try sticking with it for as long as you can and soon you won’t even need to think about doing it.
1. Drink lemon and water in the morning.
This one habit has truly changed my life. When I don’t have time to make a fresh green juice in the morning, I have lemon and water on an empty stomach before breakfast. The health benefits are endless from hydration, balancing your body’s pH, improving the immune system (all that vitamin C!) as well as detoxifying the liver and blood. Plus it’s such a simple reminder to take care of your body and that attitude can help you to make better choices for your health throughout the day. *Note: Some may be concerned about tooth enamel erosion due to the acid content in the lemon. Personally, I drink this through a stainless steel straw, have my breakfast and brush my teeth right after and I’m happy to say that a recent dentist visit confirmed my teeth are fine and I have been doing this for years.*
2. Listen to your body.
It knows best! If you’re tired, go to bed. If you’re fidgety, exercise. If you’re hungry, eat. If you eat something and your belly is disturbed, your body is telling you it doesn’t like it. Most coffee makes me a Nervous Nelly so I tend to avoid it or on the rare occasion I treat myself to one before 2pm. Every person is different in this respect so following a specific diet might work for one person and not for you. Choose clean, whole, unprocessed foods and respect your body and what it’s telling you. Eat mindfully. Eat intuitively.
3. Make time everyday for yourself to do more of what you love.
Take the time to care for your body and mind. Whether it’s an exercise or yoga class, a walk in the park, doing something creative like writing or painting, a relaxing bath or simply curling up with a good book and cup of tea. Making time for yourself to rejuvenate and to boost your mood will work wonders for your outlook, stress level, immune system and overall productivity.
4. Replace beauty, bath, hygiene and household cleaning products with safer versions.
This is another habit I have slowly been incorporating in my life in the last couple of years with huge differences in my skin health (and wallet in some cases!). Many “beauty” and household cleaning products are often laden with chemicals (like phthalates, parabens and triclosan) that disrupt hormone balance in the body which can (ironically) create acne, fertility issues and in some cases, have been linked to cancer. How can you find out how safe a product is? You can head to Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) website which allows you to search thousands of products for toxicity and it has great information about the chemicals that are listed on your product’s label (and some that aren’t!). I’m vowing to make more household cleaners and products myself and have a super simple recipe for handsoap you can try!
5. Avoid using electronic devices at least 1-2 hours before bed.
I find this one difficult to avoid at times, but I really notice a difference when I do it. Research has shown that backlit displays commonly found in tablets, smartphones and computer screens can reduce melatonin production by 22%. Melatonin is the hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain that regulates sleep patterns and its production is suppressed at night when exposed to light causing sleep interruption and increased risk of diabetes and obesity. Turning off your devices and ambient light a few hours before bedtime will help prepare your body naturally for a restful sleep. Develop a new bedtime routine where you wind down, take a bath or shower, read a book or magazine, have a cup of tea, do yoga relaxation exercises or simply spend quiet time with your loved ones.
Hopefully by incorporating even just one of these simple habits in your daily life will help you to start feeling amazing and live an even healthier and happier new year!