As you read this, are you feeling a little sluggish, stressed or distracted?
It’s not surprising if you are. Today’s hectic pace places a heavy demand on our bodies and minds.
Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to recharge. It’s usually a matter of getting back to the fundamentals of good health so you can have more energy, feel refreshed, be productive and lead a fuller life. And even taking small steps can make a difference if you keep at it.
An easy way to keep track of these changes is by putting together a personal organizer. Easy to carry with you, the Avery Mini Binder makes a great portable companion as you make the effort toward a healthier lifestyle. Add accessories such as write-on dividers and calendar pages for each area you will focus on, such as diet, exercise and sleep.
Now, let’s see how you can take charge of your lifestyle:
Get moving and exercise
It seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? When you’re tired or frazzled, vigorously moving your body sounds like the last thing you should do. Yet, multiple studies show that exercise is a terrific way to gain more energy – and bust stress. For many of us, experts suggest getting at least thirty minutes of exercise, five days a week.
Don’t feel overwhelmed by those standards. Start slow, and work up to that pace. Keep in mind those thirty minutes per day don’t have to be continuous – you can break them up throughout the day. And while more strenuous exercise will likely produce the greatest results, relatively simple exercises (such as walking) can be quite beneficial. In fact, walking works out multiple body parts and relaxes your mind.
It’s best to mix up your exercise routine with different activities. Perhaps lift some weights, run on the treadmill, go for a swim, play tennis or take a hike during the week.
Proper nutrition fuels both mind and body. While individual needs vary – which is why consulting with a nutritionist or doctor is a smart move – following some general principles can improve your energy levels.
Like what? Cut back on sugary foods. Eat from all food groups. Reduce your consumption of processed foods. Opt for healthy snacks like yogurt, fruits, nuts and seeds that provide brain-boosting nutrients and maintain blood-sugar levels (so you don’t feel like napping every afternoon).
Try to prepare healthy, homemade meals. Then, store them in the refrigerator or freezer for the upcoming week. You can identify meals with freezer-safe labels that eliminate the what-is-this game, or add your name to food you bring to work to discourage co-workers from grabbing your lunch by mistake.
It’s so tempting to cut back on sleep time, isn’t it? After all, who’s going to care if you pack more into your day to stay up late to work on a report, watch a late-night program or complete some chores?
Well, your body cares. Most of us require between 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep for peak daytime efficiency. Sleep rejuvenates both the body and mind.
Keep your bedroom cool (65 degrees is a good temp) and as dark as possible to facilitate restful sleep. Even the light from a nearby alarm clock can interfere with sleep patterns.
Unwind before bedtime by shutting off stimulating devices – such as computers or smart phones – at least an hour before you retire. While it’s fine to have a light, non-sugary snack at night, don’t consume a heavy meal. It takes energy to digest it, and that’s not conducive to sound sleep. Also, try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends. Your body prefers a regular routine.
TRACK IT : It’s often helpful to keep a sleep journal. Just record what you did that evening and then track how well you slept that night. Doing so identifies personal patterns that may hinder or promote a deep sleep for you.
Practice yoga or meditation
Yoga and meditation benefit individuals of all ages and fitness levels. That’s why they’ve been used around the world for centuries. Both are wonderful for relieving stress and rejuvenating the spirit. Spend some time each day doing yoga or meditation and you’ll be more focused and productive.
Feeling intimidated about doing this? Attend a class, rent a how-to-video or read an article on these practices. You’ll get the hang of them shortly.
Research shows that when you try to permanently change habits, it’s best to make small changes. In other words, take baby steps. Little by little, you’ll find even minor changes to your wellness routine can make a noticeable impact on your health and vitality.