We all want to feel better. And we want everything to be fast and easy. We like fast foods, fast services, and fast results with as little effort as possible. We all want that quick-fix, miracle program that will FINALLY make us look and feel perfect. Guess what? I’ve tried more than my share and many of them do work—for a while.
Then life happens, and we slowly slide back into comfortable old habits. Fast, easy, convenient, unhealthy habits. Once again, we feel exhausted and depressed and we start the whole cycle over again. Let’s try something radically simple. Let’s begin with some small, daily habits that will result in BIG improvements over time. Changes that will encourage you to keep adding more positive actions to your daily routine so you can look and feel amazing. The best part? All 5 of these changes are things you can do TODAY—and they won’t cost you a cent!
ONE: Lose the all or nothing mindset.
You know what I’m talking about. The “Well, I had cake at the office party today. I may as well make the most of it and give myself an all-day pass to Binge Town!” NO. STOP. Get off the crazy train. All your body knows at the end of the day is this: Did it get what it needed to run efficiently and do its job?
So what if you had cake. Have a sensible dinner and get on with your life! We are constantly bombarded by social occasions with plenty of opportunities to make poor choices. That is never going to change. Instead of blowing off the whole day, break your day into parts and make better choices during the next meal. The cumulative effect will be a healthier, happier you.
TWO: Adjust your posture.
If you’re like me, when someone talks about posture, you instantly hear Mom yelling, “Stand up straight!” in your head. She had your best interests in mind, and you’re not a gawky teenager anymore, so walk and sit like the confident adult you want to be. You will look and feel better in a very short amount of time from this one simple practice.
Many of us tend to hold tension in our shoulders without even realizing it. The first time you do the movements I suggest, you may hear some “cracking and crunching”. Don’t be alarmed—this is just your body adapting to new movements. Aim for 2-3 posture checks a day. Do more as often as it comes to mind. Set an alarm on your phone so you’ll remember while you make this a habit.
Stand with your feet slightly apart and take a deep breath. Now turn your palms so that they are facing forward (this part is important for the best results). Holding your palms in that position, roll your shoulders in big circles forward four times, then back four times. On the last backward rotation, let your shoulders “land” in the “back” position and try to keep them there as long as you can. Roll your shoulders back once or twice every time you sit down and try to be conscious of holding the position as long as you can.
This will feel awkward at first, and maybe even be a little uncomfortable. Keep practicing and it will get easier. You may even gain a little height! Smile and think positive thoughts when you adjust your posture. Condition your mind to like this feeling so that your mind and body will work together and see this as a pleasant experience.
Three: Drink More Water.
I know you’ve heard this one before, but the fact is that most of us do not drink enough water unless we make a conscious effort to do so. Many of our so-called hunger pangs are actually our bodies’ way of telling us that we are dehydrated. You’ll feel better within days as you flush out toxins and hydrate your cells.
The most important time to drink water is first thing in the morning. Your body has been very busy all night taking care of the “house” that you live in! It has been taking out the garbage, watering the lawn, and repairing any damage in your cells. Water gives your system the fluids it needs to finish those tasks and prepare you for the day ahead. Start your day off right by drinking 16-32 ounces of fresh, clean, hydrating water. Your body will thank you!
Next, try this: drink 16-32 ounces of water 15-30 minutes before each meal. Avoid drinking a lot of liquid during your meals at this interferes with optimal digestion as it dilutes stomach acid. As you move into the evening hours, drink several glasses of water to stave off hunger and set your body up to clean and repair all over again.
Four: Practice gratitude.
This one simple habit did more to transform my life than anything else I can share with you. It’s that powerful! When you make it a point to look for elements of your life to be thankful for, a shift happens. Mentally and emotionally you begin to react differently to stress. You feel calmer, happier, and more joyful than you have felt in years!
Each morning, before your feet to hit the floor, think of 3 things you are grateful for. That’s it. If you are in a not-so-great place in your life, you may find this practice challenging. Trust me, I’ve been there. At first you may only be able to come up with silly, superficial things (I’m alive, I’m breathing, the house is still standing).
Keep practicing and more meaningful thoughts will come to you. Look for different things to feel grateful for each day: people, events, even trials and failures! After all, trials and failures give us wisdom and experience—we learn from them. This sense of gratitude will begin to infiltrate your entire outlook and you’ll feel more relaxed and loving toward yourself and others.
Five: Sleep better.
I envy my 10 year old daughter, Ella. Most night’s she can drop into a deep, restful sleep within minutes. She has been able to do that since she was 3. Partly because I took the advice of a wise, experienced mother who told me to establish a solid bedtime routine when she was very young and stick to it no matter what. Now I have a well-rested kiddo who generally loves going to bed.
Bed time routines aren’t just for children! As adults, we often have so much going on that we get into bed before we’ve had a chance to unwind and get into “rest” mode. This results in fitful sleep: tossing and turning and of course, the dreaded “clock watching” habit. Some people watch TV until they pass out or perform meaningless tasks on their phones or computers. Electronics just before bed interfere with the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
I’m guilty of slipping into some of these habits too, but I always pay for them with a big fat dose of fatigue the following day. Establishing new bedtime will improve your quality of sleep and set you up for an energy-filled day to follow.
Try these tips for more restful sleep tonight!
- Go retro: dim the electronic clock or get rid of it all together—if you need an alarm, consider getting a manual model without a light. The room should be as dark as possible for optimal sleep.
- Pick 2-3 activities you can do every evening that will signal your body it’s time to sleep: Take a warm bath or shower, do some stretches or light yoga, read a book, or lay quietly and breathe deeply for several minutes.
- Make sure the temperature in your bedroom is cool—around 65-68 degrees is best for most people. If that’s not feasible, at least try to keep your head cool with a strategically placed fan.
- Finally, make sure you allow enough time for sleep. Most people function best with between 7-9 hours. Getting to bed around the same time every night helps tremendously if that is within your control.
These tips and tweaks are super simple and small, but do them daily and you should see results within a week or two—sometimes within days. For more great ways to feel better fast, go to the Crazy Fun Health and Home main page and click on the topic that interests you!