The Little Things

Health is not about large, over-reaching and broad changes that alter absolutely everything about your lifestyle. To achieve health and happiness, the little things count.

Sophomore year of high school was the first time I began to think about my health and how I was treating my body. Now, in my freshman year of college, I am finally figuring out how I can achieve my own goals health-wise. It has taken me three and a half years of living, researching and observing to figure out how to be healthy! Isn’t that insane? I always feel like it is something we should know from the beginning of our lives, and it is kind of messed up that we have to figure it out on our own, or that we even need to “figure it out” at all.

But for those still searching, I am here to help! I admit I am not a certified health professional or on my way to being one, but I have done my fair share of research. Here are some little things to change about your life to feel healthier and happier!

  1. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day
    • Your body benefits from anĀ average of 7-8 hours of sleep a night and it is absolutely crucial! Sleep regulates your hormone levels and helps keep your hunger in check. Not to mention it is the time when your muscles repair themselves after a hard workout! Going to bed and waking up every day at the same time allows your body to set a schedule and consequently makes you more alert in the morning and ready for the day. It will make you feel so much better! Personally, I go to bed at midnight every night and wake up at 8am ready for a workout šŸ™‚
  2. Drink water!
    • How many times have y’all heard this? TONS. BECAUSE IT’S TRUE! Your body needs hydration, and water was put on this earth because we need it! Drinking lots of water (no, it doesn’t have to be 8 glasses) keeps your skin glowing and moisturized and your body functioning the way it’s supposed to. Sometimes when you feel hungry, you’re mistaking your thirst as hunger! Drink a couple glasses and you’ll realize you’re not hungry for that cupcake at all. When you get thirsty you are already dehydrated so drink even when you’re not thirsty! TMI–but your pee should be a light yellow when you are hydrated well!
  3. Take the stairs, and your bike, and your feet
    • Think the elevator will be faster? Make it a race and run up the stairs! Feeling like the car is the only way to get around? NO WAY! Any time that you substitute walking or biking, or heck even rollerblading, you are on your way to a healthier life than those in their cars. According to The American Heart Association, for every hour of brisk walking you can increase your life expectancy up to 2 hours, and walking for just 30 minutes a day keeps your heart healthy. Next time you are on a Netflix binge for a couple hours, take a break between episodes and go for a quick walk. Even better, take a post-meal stroll to aid digestion (this is great after big holiday meals!)–your heart will thank you, and you can burn some calories along the way. Although working out 3 times a week is the goal, the little things add up!
  4. Think of 5 things that went well
    • At the end of your day, take a minute to think of 5 things that you enjoyed in your day. Thinking about the positives keeps you in a better mood and will make you happier overall! Whenever a friend is stressed out or upset about their day I recommend doing this, and it really works. Instead of dwelling on bad things that happened, it lets you see that even on the worst days you can be happy about certain elements. Here are a couple examples of little things to be happy about:
      • Ate/cooked/prepared a really good meal
      • Worked out (even if you didn’t feel good during it)
      • Got out of bed (yes it can be an accomplishment on some days)
      • Ran errands or was productive in any way (even small tasks!)
      • Drank enough water
      • Got enough sleep
      • Stretched
      • Ate mindfully
      • Took time to just relax and enjoy life
      • Paid attention to how you were feeling and addressed it
      • Was alive and hadĀ all the amenities you need to survive (I love to think about this when I run–isn’t it amazing that we can have the strength to carry ourselves and run when some people don’t have that?)
      • TookĀ the time to think about 5 things that were good about your day and becameĀ a happier person because of it!
  5. Be mindful in everything you do
    • This is another one you’ve probably heard, but being mindful in what you do is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself. When you are mindful, you pay attention to what your body needs and craves and you will feel more fulfilled by your daily activities. When you do something, reflect: Am I happy doing this? Why am I doing this? How do I feel before/during/after? This kind of reflection allows us to see what works for ourselves because being healthy is so individualized! Being mindful is the way to see if what you are doing is the best for you, and provides you with the opportunity to alter your lifestyle if it isn’t working.



2 thoughts on “The Little Things

  1. Thank you for this.
    This is great, I’m going to write these down and review them every few days.
    The mindfullness and 5 things that went well are great tricks!


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