As women we take on the world: We have careers, relationships, family and still need to have time for ourselves. At the end of the day, women are feeling overwhelmed and fatigued. National Women’s Health and & Fitness Day takes place this week and it couldn’t come soon enough as we strive for healthier lives. According to Maestro Health, 70 percent of female employees felt burnout in their jobs since the pandemic started, and yet as a group, we still try to be our best and incorporate more healthy behaviors. With a busy mindset, it’s sometimes difficult to make changes even though we know we should.
Whether you’re trying to make changes to live healthier or improve your performance in your job, there are some easy strategies to put in place to make these habits stick. Best-selling book, “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones”, by James Clear. Defines making changes into four buckets:
How to make good habits
- Make it invisible. Decrease your exposure to the habit. This is clearing out your junk food cabinets to help decrease the risk of snacking on these foods in an effort to lose weight or eat healthier.
- Make it unattractive. This is highlighting the benefits of avoiding your bad habits. An example is putting the money you would normally spend on junk food into a jar in your kitchen to remind you the money you are saving by skipping these snacks.
- Make it difficult. This principle is about creating friction between the habit and change. An example might be that if you are going to have that high-calorie snack, that you are going to walk or take the stairs to get there. This would then burn some additional calories to minimize the calorie equation quotient in weight loss.
- Make it unsatisfying. This would be creating an accountability partner or tracking your steps to make sure you walk a certain number of steps in a day. You wouldn’t get the reward of meeting the “goal” with a tracker or confessing to your accountability partner that you didn’t get out and walk.
Here are five ways to live healthier almost anyone can add into their daily routine
Go to bed 30 minutes earlier and wake up 15 minutes earlier
Good sleep is one the most important habits we can incorporate into our lives. Although according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine1, Americans need 7 hours of sound sleep per night. “Sleep is critical to health, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise,” said Dr. Nathaniel F. Watson, incoming AASM president. “Our Consensus Panel found that sleeping six or fewer hours per night is inadequate to sustain health and safety in adults, and agreed that seven or more hours of sleep per night is recommended for all healthy adults.” If you have trouble falling asleep try a little magnesium.2 Health experts recommend between 300-400 milligrams of magnesium right before bed according to the Sleep Foundation. (Always check with your doctor before taking any supplements.) Reframing your mindset is a good way to approach for this change. Set an alarm for bed and waking. Make sure you turn off all lights, music, etc to set the stage for sound sleep and close your eyes. Think of breathing and other mediation techniques to fall asleep.
Eat more fruits and vegetables
A good way to eat more fruit and vegetables is through meal pre. Visit the grocery store at the beginning of the week and plan your portions. You can never eat too many fruits or vegetables and having them available is key to making this habit stick. Add chopped veggies to your breakfast omelette or smoothies, add them to your salads at lunch and think of berries for dessert. Try a new recipe that’s vegetarian and commit to at least one day each week as a vegetarian day. Drink vegetable juice over fruit juices and think smoothies that include the fiber pulverized into a drink over pressed-juices. Although pressed juices are a good way to add more nutrients into your daily intake. According to Pritkin Longevity Center, smoothies are good but whole foods are better to control appetite. Research shows that calories that are in solid food form help the brain tell the body it is full while drinking your calories decreases satiety or the feeling of being full.
Floss your teeth everyday
The prevalence of people flossing everyday is about 3 out of 10.4 Flossing helps prevent embarrassing moments with food in your teeth, as well as reduce the likelihood of bad breath. Flossing daily can also help the health of your gums and reduce the chance of respiratory disease by removing bacterial plaque. If you aren’t in the habit already, tag habits together like brushing and flossing. Place your toothbrush on the counter with the dental floss next to it. By placing them together, it will give you a visual cue to do both and increase your chance of changing the habit. If you can’t floss because of braces, non-removable bridgework, crowns, or dental implants try using a water flosser. Pressurized high pulsating water is used to clean away food particles between teeth and under the gum line.
Remove your shoes
Removing your shoes before coming inside the house. The most obvious benefit is keeping the dirt outside from being brought into the house. But research shows that removing your shoes before entering the home can cut down on possible transmission of disease-carrying bacteria. Research at the University of Houston studied shoes brought into the home. They found that 40 percent of the bacterium were resistant to most antibiotics. Aside from the spores, other researches at the University of Arizona found E.coli, Klebsiella pneumonia and other pathogens present.
Be kinder to yourself and others
See the glass half full and have a positive mindset. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about how you react to your world. When we carry negative energy, we react differently than when we have a positive outlook, are smiling or after we received some good news. Negative situations and circumstances that occur may receive a knee-jerk reaction. But to help prevent escalating a situation causing stress to the body, take a personal time out. Wait a few seconds and think positive thoughts, smile, and take a breath. Stop and think about your reaction and practice kindness. Kindness to others and kindness to yourself. It’s not easy to just stop reacting, especially in a negative situation or confrontation. But you may be able to change the outcome. Use humor when possible–something we explore in Laughing Matters. Be objective. Ask yourself why is this situation happening? Identify the root cause and then respond. Self-reflection and awareness is key. Be empathic and don’t dwell on negativity.
Andrea Metcalf is a health and wellness expert, best-selling author, certified Personal Trainer and trusted television personality including appearances on the NBC Today Show, Steve Harvey, and Oprah.com. She is the co-founder of ONYX Interactive, an at-home Pilates Reformer and Pilates inspired content provider. Find her at AndreaMetcalf.com.