Sometimes you want to do something to be healthy but you just aren’t sure where to start. Sometimes you are looking for anything small and doable to help you get a quick win so you can get momentum to accomplish the harder things that you know you need to do. I hop this list of 25 small and easy steps you can take today to boost your overall health can be a source of inspiration for you. If you choose to tackle several ones it will likely have a bigger impact, but the big thing to remember is that these are supposed to be easy. Taking on too many small changes at one time suddenly feels not so small and easy.
- Make a smart snack change. If you are addicted to chocolate, perhaps look for a darker chocolate with less sugar or even a sugar free recipe like my favorite here. Or maybe you are a potato chip person and you need to switch out the Doritos for some Tortilla chips (way less man made chemicals, and extra points if you can find them baked instead of deep fried in a bad oil!) Or maybe you are ready for some home popped popcorn with coconut oil drizzled on top and a shake of Nutritional Yeast (it has a cheesy flavor). You could even add a sprinkle of actual cheese without being as bad as Doritos! For this step just focus on one snack exchange at a time. And keep trying until you find a relatively healthier snack you enjoy!
- Drink more water and healthy teas and less sodas and sugar filled drinks. It does not have to be all water all the time, but find a way to increase your hydration and decrease all the nasty stuff! If you are super addicted to sodas, I recommend checking your local grocery stores for the Zevia brand. It’s a zero calorie option that uses stevia as the sweetener and fizzes like regular soda. They have replacements for most of the major types of soda brands. It might take a little while for your tastebuds to adjust to the sweetener difference, but it might just be crazy enough to try, right? Also, for those of you who cannot stand the taste of boring old regular water, I recommend the True Lemon brand which is also sweetened with Stevia and only has 10 calories per pack.
- If you drink coffee, rev it up with some incredible health boosting ingredients and toss the artificial or sugar laden ones out. I prefer either Pyure or Truvia brand sweeteners. I still often use a swirl of heavy cream or half and half for a delicious creamy finish, but I try not to overdo it. I also add about a tablespoon of MCT oil to give me some sustained mental energy. The final ingredient I add is a scoop of collagen which has so many amazing benefits for your hair, skin, nails, bones and so much more! I’m planning a full post about the many reasons I include this in my coffee, but for now feel free to Google it or just take my word that it’s incredible!
- Add non-starchy veggies to your plate. Even if you don’t take anything off your plate adding some non-starchies will fill you up faster and buffer your insulin spike following a meal. Personally, I love keeping some chopped cabbage, cauliflour rice, and cut okra in the kitchen ready to go. It’s amazing how many dishes you can toss some into and barely notice.
- Choose one meal or snack a day to consistently eat healthy. You can totally handle eating healthy once a day right? And by this I don’t mean calorie restriction, I mean a meal with lots of real foods and real nutrition power. After you conquer one meal or snack a day, you can add a second one if you feel.
- Find a healthy replacement for sugar. There is a lot of controversy out there about sugar substitutes. I am a huge advocate of natural ones that do not raise your blood sugar. Personally I tend to rely on ones that have stevia and erythritol. I occasionally use honey for when I’m sick as it does have soothing properties but it does raise the blood sugar a little too much for my preferences.
- Tweak your favorite indulgent recipe to be safe for your blood sugar. Extra points if you can make it in under 15 minutes!
- Food, Mood Poop Journal. This one sounds disgusting but I swear it’s a game changer. Jot down at each meal or snack what you are eating, how you are feeling and make note of your “output” – the consistency, color, volume, and so on. It might sound disgusting but it helps you identify trends between what you eat, how you feel and your digestive health. It’s truly a powerful tool that is overall easy to use!
- Adjust your movement: Don’t stress yourself out over this one, but just aim for moving more during the day, for longer at a time. If you sit all the time maybe you need to add regularly scheduled stretching breaks. If you walk a lot maybe you need to plan for strength training 10 minutes 3x/week. But, if you work hard to get shredded at the gym maybe you need to pull back and see how you can use movement effectively without over-stressing your body. There’s new research emerging about the dangers of over exercising causing more harm than good.
- Get a massage or body treatment. This can help you feel good, support your body’s natural waste removal system and give you some glowing skin.
- Start body brushing. If you have never heard of body brushing before, it’s a great way to support your lymphatic system
- Jump 10x in the morning. This is helpful for several reasons. It gets your circulation going in the morning. Movement specifically in the morning also helps to raise cortisol levels to where they should be in the morning to support your circadian rhythm. Also, the impact of jumping also supports your lymphatic drainage which is responsible for clears toxins and other waste out of your body.
- Self impose a regular bedtime. I will absolutely admit that this is one of my struggles. After the kids go to sleep, it’s so easy for me to get wrapped up cleaning or writing or mindlessly watching television that I just don’t make myself go to bed. But a consistent bed time reinforces your body’s natural circadian rhythms and helps it to work more efficiently throughout the day because the quality of your sleep tends to improve.
- Sleep in complete darkness. I am a huge fan of an eye mask, but research is coming out that indicates that shielding your eyes is just not enough. When a low level light is on in the room you are sleeping in, the mitochondria which is the power houses of your cells start to wake up and function as if it’s day time. Only sleeping in complete darkness will really give you an optimum night’s sleep.
- Say goodnight to screens before transitioning to bed. At least one hour before bed, go ahead and plug in your electronics and turn them all off. You can use the last hour to read, meditate, take a relaxing bath, have some special time with the family, or anything else that will be relaxing. Giving your eyes and brain a rest from those screens is important for a quality night’s sleep. If you need to look at them later, I recommend some blue light blocking goggles to shield your eyes from the most dangerous spectrum of lights that is emitted from screens that interferes with sleep quality.
- Do something fun. Find at least 20 minutes everyday for an activity you enjoy
- Learn something new everyday. It’s easy to stop learning at a certain age. But pushing yourself to try to learn something new everyday can help keep your mind sharp. You don’t have to learn a whole new language, but you could easily learn one new vocabulary word a day or one new fact about a favorite subject. This adds up over time and signals to your body that you haven’t given up on growing yourself.
- Cook at home. Scale back eating out and choose to prepare more whole food at home. Just by doing this one step you will likely take in less food since it won’t be served to you on overflowing oversized plates. Additionally, you can choose to use ingredients overall. And as a bonus, you can season it however you like!
- Peace and Prayer. Find at least 10 minutes at the start and end of everyday to quiet your mind and connect with the Creator. Personally I am a believer in Jesus and this practice grounds my days with an understanding that this life is bigger than just me.
- Practice thankfulness I love the book 1001 gifts and there’s so much science to back up this practice!
- Journal the change you want. For example, if you know you should be eating more vegetables, plan to journal exactly how many vegetables goes into your mouth for a week or two. Often I find that is about how much time it takes for me to gain mental awareness. If you are naturally a journal person, you can keep doing it. Otherwise consider it a short term challenge to increase awareness of a goal you have.
- Find healthier personal care products. I have a simple 5 step process for finding chemical-free replacements that are similar to your current favorite brands.
- Get out of your own way. Stop saying you can’t or repeating to yourself why your health journey is so hard. Ouch, did I just step on some toes there?
- Declutter your frustrating items. You know that size way-too-small dress that used to motivate you but now mocks you every time you come across it in the back of your closet? Let it go so you can embrace where you are right now and find new motivation to keep going. Or maybe it’s a gift someone gave you that takes up space you wish you could use for something else? Take a moment to appreciate their kindness in giving you the gift and then load it up for the Goodwill. Letting go of things that we don’t need or want can prime our brains to let go of old thinking patterns we no longer need.
- Breathe. There’s such amazing benefits to intentionally breathing from the spiritual/emotional benefits of appreciation of the current moment to metaphysical benefits of increased oxygen to the brain and body tissues. Couple this breathing practice with visualization and it’s a powerful combination! If you want an app to help you, check out the Calm app. It has wonderful soothing sounds to help you relax and breathe better.
I hope that this list inspires you to look at your own life at some small changes that might be just right for your health journey. This list is obviously not an exhaustive one, but it is long enough to give you ideas to address all of the core areas that support your health status. Have you experienced a health boost because of a small shift before? I would love to hear your story in the comments. If you would add to this list, please let me know that as well. My biggest hope is that in this list you will at least see that even if your health problems are big, there are some small easy changes that could make a difference. Once again, I want to caution you from believing you need to tackle all of these at one time. Instead choose 2 or 3 to implement at a time. And when those become habits, adjust your focus and choose a few more small steps. Your health journey might be a long road but if all you can do is take the next step, focus on taking that one next step and you will pick up speed as you go.
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