Happy and healthy – a combination universally desired, but seemingly difficult to achieve while juggling our crazy busy lives. The relationship between the way we live and our health & happiness is a strong one. Some never come to realize that what you do entirely affects the way you feel internally. Even the simplest choices, that seem completely unrelated to your health, can affect the way you feel physically and mentally.
Instead of waiting for the new year to jumpstart your resolutions, get ahead of the game and start incorporating these 10 simple habits into your daily routine for a happier, healthier, and more successful life.
1. Get more sleep. Aim for at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. For you millennials, think about your body’s fuel as your smartphone’s battery – you need a full night’s charge to last all day. Realize that while you’re sleeping, your body is still hard at work, repairing your heart, blood vessels, cells, and internal organs. Lack of sleep can increase your appetite, slow down your metabolism, and dramatically increase your chances of becoming overweight. It also decreases your productivity, stalls your immune system, and causes you to feel fatigued, moody, anxious, and more likely to be depressed over time. Not to mention, lack of sleep also affects your appearance, giving way to more breakouts, premature wrinkles, and dark under eye circles.
2. Stay active. Try to complete at least one form of physical activity every day, whether it’s 30 minutes on the treadmill, a cycling or yoga class, or a walk/run around the neighborhood. Listen to your body and determine whether you’re a person who enjoys working out in the morning, afternoon, or evening… and stick to that routine! Morning workouts are a great way to start your day and jumpstart your metabolism. Afternoon workouts are great to boost your productivity and brainpower, especially if you have to return back to a desk job. Evening workouts are an excellent way to relieve a day’s worth of stress, giving way to a good night’s sleep.
3. Stay hydrated throughout the day. This is one crucial habit that most people tend to overlook. Hydration is key to a happier, healthier you. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. If water is too bland for your taste, try substituting with coconut water (which is even more hydrating, packed with simple sugars, electrolytes, and minerals to replenish your insides). Understand that water makes up more than half of your body weight, and also helps every cell, tissue, and organ work correctly. Staying hydrated throughout the day will keep you energized, help you think more clearly, and make you feel oh-so-good on the inside. Did we mention that it’s also the secret to glowing skin and beautiful hair?
4. Love yourself and what you do. Focus on the positive things about yourself and your life. Take time to find your passion and pursue it. If you’re not crazy about your job, don’t be afraid to make the jump and find something that you truly enjoy. Learn to love who you are and own your potential. Trust in yourself, work hard, and you will undoubtedly see results.
5. Show gratitude. Give thanks to yourself and the people & things around you. Gratitude means, “thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive.” A chance to live is the greatest gift. Don’t take it for granted. Showing gratitude will strengthen your relationships, improve your health, and reduce stress. It’s a win-win for everyone. Show gratitude for the people who love you, the people who challenge you, the people who serve you, the people who work with you, and most importantly, for yourself.
6. Be social. Surely, there’s a little introvert in all of us. Oftentimes, we shy away from social gatherings when we’re flying solo or are unsure of the crowd. Let go of those fears and spread your social butterfly wings! Studies show that social connections are so closely related to our well-being and personal happiness. Connect with people and network often. You’ll hear stories and learn things you wouldn’t find anywhere else. Every interaction is unique in its own way, and you’re bound to gain something from it.
7. Maintain your relationships. Make time for the people and things that matter most. For the people that you interact with on a day-to-day basis, pay attention to the way you communicate. Be a good listener, communicate clearly, don’t let your emotions dictate your behavior, and avoid assumptions. Let people know that you sincerely care about them and what they have to say. Be present in the moment and take time to build your relationships.
8. Make down time for yourself. Life moves fast, and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of things. Amidst your busy schedule, be sure to make time for yourself – to unwind, relax, and create a balanced lifestyle. Making yourself a priority is critical to your happiness. Whether it’s a bubble bath or an hour at the gym, be sure to set aside a block of time to focus on yourself. One simple tip – “de-tech” yourself and get rid of any communications (smartphone, tablet, computer).
9. Create a simple schedule and follow it. Building a schedule for yourself can actually boost your productivity, energy, and creativity. Try to start the day early so you can take time to wake up and find some peace within yourself in the A.M. Schedules will enable you to accomplish the things you really want to do and help narrow down what’s truly important. It can also help create a balance between your personal life and work life.
10. Set attainable goals and deadlines for yourself. Set them by the day, week or month — as often as you think you need to. Studies have shown that setting goals and making progress towards them directly correlates with improvement in well-being, satisfaction and happiness. Measure your progress and take comfort knowing that you are getting things done! An awesome tool to track your progress is iDoneThis. It’s also helpful to complete a monthly personal review with yourself. Assess your success and make sure you’re on the right track. Make a list of your proudest accomplishments throughout the month.