If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, it may be time to shake up your daily routine and help your body feel energized again. And you’ll be pleased to know that this doesn’t require an entire overhaul of your life. In fact, adopting just a few healthy daily habits can make all the difference in the world. (Great news for those of us who happily identify as lazy.)
A lot of these tips support physical health, but remember the power of the mind-body connection. Implementing daily healthy habits that benefit your body has a positive ripple effect on your mind and soul as well. As you’ll discover after you try a few of these, it’s often the small changes that make the biggest difference.
Tiny modifications here and there can greatly improve your quality of life in so many ways. We already know all the obvious options to stay fit and live a healthy lifestyle, but there are plenty of tweaks that can be easily embraced without a lot of effort. We’re all about taking a proactive, yet realistic, approach toward creating a well-lived life—and these healthy daily habits will help you get there. Let’s dive in.
Featured image by Teal Thomsen.
Scroll on for 25 easily adoptable healthy daily habits.
Make time to read every day
Not only is taking time to read an act of self-care, but it can actually help improve long-term neurological function. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fiction junkie, love to read memoirs, or just want to disappear in a good old-fashioned romance novel, your body and mind will thank you for it.
Go on a walk
Breathing in some fresh air while on a walk is sure to improve your mood, clear a muddled head, and offer a moment away from the computer. It’s also an incredibly underrated form of exercise that can strengthen your heart and lungs, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, improve high blood pressure and high cholesterol, ease joint pain, and much more. Put it this way: Walking is a simple, fun, and low-impact way to improve your overall health.
Stretch before bed
Fall asleep faster, improve blood flow, and relieve muscle tension with a few simple stretches before hitting the hay. After a day of being hunched over a computer, hauling groceries, and generally pushing my body and mind to their limits, few things feel better.
If you’ve been trying to find a surefire way to help reduce stress and anxiety, quiet a buzzing mind, or simply want to go deeper within, then may I suggest giving meditation a whirl? I know you’ve heard it before, (and as a longtime meditation skeptic, I really do hate to admit this) but it does make a positive impact on one’s wellbeing.
Use sunscreen daily
Regardless of whether it’s a sunny day or not, using sunscreen daily is imperative for both short- and long-term health. Preventing sun damage and cancer is not something that should be taken lightly, and there are so many wonderful sunscreen options available these days that you can easily find the one that best fits your skin type and needs. Please don’t make me nag you about this!
Spend time outside every day
Get a breath of fresh air and chase away the blues by spending even just a few minutes outside every day. There are few things that being around some trees, people watching, and looking at the clouds can’t cure.
Drink more water
Did you know that even being mildly dehydrated can affect the body? Make sure you’re drinking enough to get you through the day without impairment (psst… it may be a little more than the eight glasses you’ve been hearing about). The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups a day for men and 11.5 cups a day for women.
Get a little cardio in
Strengthen your heart, lower blood pressure, improve your sleep quality, and so much more with regular cardiovascular exercise. And this isn’t just relegated to workouts! Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk instead of hopping on the bus, do jumping jacks between zoom sessions. Even better, throw on some music and dance it out on your lunch break. Everything helps!
Eat a plant-based diet whenever possible
More and more, doctors are recommending plant-based diets to all of their patients, not just those with high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. While being fully vegan or vegetarian is not an option for all, even just eating plant-based whenever possible can make a big difference to one’s health. Plant-based foods are full of fiber, minerals, and vitamins that our bodies crave and need. Bonus: They’re delicious!
Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption
Whether you are wanting to redefine your relationship with alcohol, are looking for help quitting, or trying to drink more mindfully, cutting back is almost always a good idea. Reducing alcohol intake can lead to better sleep, mental clarity, weight loss, and lower the risk of heart and liver disease, cancer, and strokes.
Ride your bike to the store
Dropping off some mail? Picking up a few ingredients for dinner? Ditch the car and hop on your bike for some chill cardio. Even just 30 minutes on a bike can help build endurance and strengthen your heart. It’s also a great way to clear your mind and enjoy being outdoors. Just make sure you don’t forget to wear a helmet!
I learned how to cook in my late 20s when I realized that not being able to feed myself was no longer cute. But it took me well into my 30s to understand the joys of cooking at home. Aside from the obvious health benefits (ability to eat a healthier diet and cook with good, fresh, high-quality ingredients) it simply makes me happy! It’s time away from a screen when I can listen to music and create something nourishing and wholesome from scratch.
Don’t forget to floss
There are few things that are worse on planet Earth than having to floss one’s teeth. The fact that I have to do it every day until I die is an abomination. Unfortunately, it’s incredibly important for one’s overall health. Yes, it’s obviously key for gums and teeth, but did you know that flossing helps heart health? If you’re not an everyday flosser, commit to a month of mindful flossing before bed. Once you make it a healthy daily habit, you won’t be able to imagine skipping it.
Develop a consistent exercise practice
Getting your body moving here and there is great and certainly better than nothing. But having a regular workout routine is one of the best things you can do for your body and mind. It is good for sleep quality, anxiety, and stress, lowers blood pressure, improves cardiovascular and bone health, and more. The list truly goes on and on. Find a workout that best fits your lifestyle and schedule and commit to it. You will be amazed by how good it feels.
Swap sugary desserts for fresh fruit
Listen, sometimes you just need a cookie or a piece of cake, and since life is long and hard, you should definitely have it. But if you have been in a habit of eating sweet treats for dessert then it may be time to start mixing it up with a bit of fresh fruit. You get that palate-cleansing burst of sweetness that we all need after a savory meal but without the added sugar overload.
Swap your coffee for green tea
Coffee is a delicious gift from the earth and we can’t get enough of it. That said, replacing it with green tea can come with a whole bunch of health benefits (while still giving you a caffeinated kick!). It can help reduce inflammation, has antioxidants that can help prevent cancer, promotes fat burning, and more.
Pick up a new hobby
Whether it’s learning a new language, knitting, trying out a new sport, or volunteering, finding a new hobby is a great way to take some time for yourself on a daily basis. It helps expand mental muscles, gets you out of your comfort zone, is a great opportunity to meet new people, and comes with a renewed sense of wellbeing and confidence. We’re never too old to learn something new.
Get enough sleep
We all know that awful feeling when we’re sleep-deprived. It’s hard to focus, our bodies feel depleted, and our moods suffer greatly. But did you know that a lack of proper sleep can lead to weight gain, reduce productivity, and leave you at a greater risk for heart attack and stroke? Prioritizing sleep is an absolute must.
Limit processed foods
Sometimes, processed foods are unavoidable. But whenever possible, eating fresh, wholesome food makes a big difference for our general health. (And it’s delicious!) Processed foods contain a lot of hidden sodium, fats, and sugar that can throw your body out of whack. Your body will thank you.
Incorporate facial rolling or gua sha into your daily skincare routine
This delightful form of self-care not only feels good but also has numerous benefits. It wakes up your skin, stimulates the lymphatic system, and helps with inflammation. Just a few minutes of me-time can set the tone for a happy, healthy day, so why not?
Sit down with your journal
Carving out a few minutes in your day to free-write your thoughts is such a healthy practice. Journaling helps you stay in touch with your thoughts and feelings, which can keep them from bottling up and eventually exploding (we’ve all been there). Save yourself the emotional rollercoaster by journaling every day… you won’t regret it!
For me, connecting with people is life’s greatest joy. And it’s something that’s so simple, but often forgotten in our busy day-to-days. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget to reach out to those around us, which is totally normal and not something to beat yourself up over.
That said, it’s important to connect with the people around us. And it can be as easy as a quick phone call to a loved one, or as intentional as a handwritten letter to an old friend. However your connections look, they’re one of those healthy daily habits I think we could all use a little more of.
Do something for yourself
Maybe there’s a new TV series you’ve been dying to start, or you’re in need of a manicure/pedicure. Or maybe you could use some good old fashioned afternoon zzz’s. Whatever you’re in need of, now is the time to make it happen. Doing something for yourself every day keeps you in touch with your mind and body, which can lead you to a happier and healthier lifestyle.
…and something for those around you
I love to start each day with the intention of doing one thing for myself and one thing for someone else. It can be as simple as delivering bedside coffee to your S.O., sending one of those “checking in, hope you’re having a great week” texts, or writing a happy note to pack in your kiddos’ lunch boxes. Small acts of service like these always put a smile on other people’s faces, which is another one of life’s joys you really can’t have enough of.
Listen to a new podcast
I know I may lose some of you by saying this, but I haven’t always loved podcasts. When I was first introduced to them, I wasn’t overwhelmingly impressed—which left a bad taste in my mouth and resulted in a “podcast boycott” for a while. It wasn’t until I actively sought out topics and people that interested me that I began to appreciate someone talking in my ear for hours at a time.
Starting a new podcast can inspire you, push you outside of your comfort zone, and ignite new passions. A podcast is a great way to feed your mind and soul, which is never a bad idea. If you need a place to start, check out our editors’ list of feel-good podcasts.
This post was originally published on August 2, 2021, and has since been updated.
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