Even though you might not even realize it…you have habits. You might even call them routines…but a routine is still a habit.
You have morning habits. Before bed habits. Work habits. Daily habits. Habits all day long.
Now, some of those habits might not be the best habits. Because there are good and bad habits, right? Brush and floss every day – good habit. Skip the flossing – bad habit.
So, what healthy daily habits can you put in place everyday?
Now, waking at the crack of dawn is not necessary. But, in order to achieve optimal health, you need to wake up early. Your brain and body have evolved to follow a circadian rhythm. This rhythm helps to regulate your sleep and wake patterns that are set by your natural environment – the rising and setting of the sun.
This natural circadian rhythm also corresponds with the body's natural cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that helps with your metabolism, immune system, stress and energy levels. These levels peak around 8.30 am or 9.00 am. Which is why waking early is the best way to maximize your energy, productivity and health.
After 8-10 hours of sleep your body is dehydrated. Hydrate it 1st thing. Water intake is important for brain health and blood flow. Water intake is also something that we tend to forget when we are busy, so if you start off with 8-10 ounces you are headed in the right direction. When you are dehydrated your body gets fatigued. Fatigue can bring on headaches and increased cravings too. And, you definitely don't want those cravings, do you!
Beginning your day with thoughts of thankfulness and gratitude clears your mind and leaves little room for frustration and irritation. Which creates space for more gratitude…and so on. The best time for this routine is in the morning. It sets up your day. Plus you can drink your coffee or tea while you are sitting and thinking. Just 15-20 minutes a day is a perfect amount of time.
This little routine only takes about 5 minutes. But it is oh so important. You are smoothing out the sheets and the blanket. You are setting up your bed for the night. So that when you climb back in you have the feeling of an ending. Making your bed is probably the 1st habit for you to add to your list. Because it is so small and so easy.
Studies have shown that when you begin your day with a healthy breakfast you give your mind and body the fuel that it needs to get going. PLUS 80% of all premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented through your healthy choices. Healthy meals is one of those choices.
Eat your fruits and veggies. Eat whole grains. Don't forget the protein. Eliminate (or limit) starchy foods and highly processed foods.
One way to ensure that you choose healthier options is to plan ahead. Plan your meals and then create a grocery list. Don't forget to actually go to the store and get what you need. If time is your enemy, make a bunch of meals ahead of time. Then just dump them in the crock pot!
Sitting in a chair all day is terrible for your posture and your blood circulation. Not to mention murder on the brain! Set a timer for 50 minutes and when it goes off go for a walk. Stand up and stretch. Drink water. This will help you sustain your energy to get through the day.
My mom used to tell us when we were kids to ‘get outside and blow the stink off.' As a kid I thought this was weird. As an adult I still think it's weird…but I get it now. Our bodies were made for movement. They were made for walking and stretching. The old saying ‘Use it or Lose it‘ is definitely true as we age.
Walk for 30 minutes. No phone. Just you. Look at what is around you. Think about your new daily routine and the healthy daily habits you are starting.
Stretch. Arms over head. Bend at the waist. Twist from side to side.
One thing that you need to do to get your blood moving is to get your heart rate up. This can be done with exercise. Now, exercise does not have to be hard core. Like Barre, Cross Fit or Boot Camp. Yoga can definitely get your blood moving. So can Pilates or even an app on your phone or computer. Exercise lowers your blood pressure, helps you lose weight, strengthens muscles and more.
Use your brain for something besides scrolling on your phone. Pick up a book or a kindle and read. Fiction, non-fiction. Totally up to you. Hopefully something for your own personal pleasure and not work related. Reading exercises your imagination. Reading brings you into worlds that you never new existed. Plus, when you are reading you are resting and taking a break from all of the other things you need to do every day. Reading is definitely a great healthy daily habit.
I know this sounds crazy but….I know people who do not take the time to enjoy their meal. Their food is a means to an end…fuel to the body. Which is great. On the other hand, a meal can be an opportunity for you to slow down and savor the flavors and the opportunity to just sit. When you are sitting your brain registers the amount of food that you are eating. You are paying more attention. When you are sitting down you are likely to consume fewer calories.
Do the dishes. Dry and put them away. Clean the sink. Going to bed with a clean kitchen allows your mind to rest when you wake the next day. That is one less thing that needs to be done in the morning. Which can make you more productive all day.
Look at your calendar before you go to bed. What appointments do you have. Do you need to prepare? Bring anything? What is on the schedule for the kids? Who are you meeting and where? How long will it take to get there?
When you gather all of this the night before you will definitely eliminate the morning rush and hopefully be more organized and not be late.
Take it one step further and gather everything that everyone needs the night before. Homework, backpacks, briefcases, umbrellas. Maybe even pack lunches and get out the breakfast items.
Set a limit for your social media. Scrolling through the lives of others is not necessarily beneficial to you. In fact, it could be the opposite. When faced with what others have sometimes you then look at what you don't have…and are caught up in the dreaded comparison trap.
And turn off your phone. Pick a time and don't use it. Read that book. Go for a walk. Exercise. Play a game. Anything but the phone!
Now I love my YouTube. But man on man….it sure can be a time waster. One thing leads to another which leads to another…and what have you done? Wasted hours and probably stayed up way too late. Set a time limit and stick to it!
Studies have shown that going to bed early sets you up for success the next day. It does go back to the circadian rhythm. Climbing into bed (the one that you made in the morning) is an opportunity to end the day. An opportunity to let your mind rest. Plus, this way you get your 8 hours and can get up early in the morning (see #1 above).
With all of the viruses that are around wash your hands. All day. All the time.
Pick one. Pick all. But start with one…and begin living your life as it is intended to be lived. Joyfully. You are in the driver's seat. You can either choose joy…or not. And, believe it or not, your daily habits will add or subtract from the joyful life you are meant to be living.
Need more motivation or worksheets to help you out? My Joyful Living Toolbox is filled with amazing goodies for you. This Daily Gratitude Journal is just one of them. There is also a great ‘Habit Tracker'. You can grab it HERE.
Which then can lead to stress, right? . And when stress sets in it is sometimes difficult to be happy or joyful. So, don’t let stress have the last word!
Go on and take a look at the ‘Top 5 Stress Reducers’ (Action Plan included). So that you can eliminate what causes you stress and get on the path of living a joyful life.
Joyful Living is ALL about not letting let the circumstances of YOUR life determine who you really are. You learn to choose YOU instead! Not sure how to do that? Let me help!
To begin, go ahead and read:
PIN FOR LATER: 15 HEALTHY DAILY HABITS
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