Finding ways to live a healthier lifestyle may sound easy to some, or a lot like hard work for others. At the end of the day, most of us want better health as we head towards our middle years and beyond. So, I’ve come up with 6 Healthy Lifestyle Hacks to carry out daily.
As we get older though, it’s easy to skip out on some of the steps required to improving health, taking short cuts instead. I’ve learnt the hard way & discovered that’s not a good idea.
I tried to get by just doing the odd “healthy” thing – a bit of exercise here, the odd healthy eating fad there. But sadly, this doesn’t work. At least not when you get past the age of 50!
Check out the infographic below which is a useful guide on how to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Let me walk you through each step. In no particular order of preference, but you may want to start at Number 1!
Hack #1 – Morning Ritual
- Get out of bed early! (I can hear the groans already!) You’ll see there’s a LOT to do to stay healthy, and in order to fit all these things into your day, you’re going to have to give yourself some extra time
- Drink a glass of water (warm, if you prefer) plus freshly squeezed lemon juice. This is a great wake up call for the digestive system, keeps your body in an alkaline state (as opposed to acidic) and can act as an appetite suppressant, thus curbing the craving for carbs we often get first thing
- Do some yoga or, if you haven’t yet discovered the pleasures of this ancient practice (you can try a FREE Heart Yoga Online Beginner Class by signing up HERE), any form of exercise, for 15 minutes only (it’s always good to start with little & often, so you don’t get bored)
- Tidy your space, make the bed
- Have a power breakfast, such as a fresh fruit smoothie or a luscious green juice (I’ve got an easy-to-follow 7-Day Green Juice Challenge ONLINE COURSE on this)
- Sit down & write out your daily goals (writing them down on paper will make them more visible & tangible), pin them where you can see (& act on) them
- Spend a few minutes meditating on (or visualising) your achievement of these goals
- Get ready to start your day with an “I CAN” attitude
Hack #2 – De-Clutter
Sounds dull, I know. But most will have heard of the maxim “A tidy space (desk) means a tidy mind”. And it’s so true. If you live or work in a space that’s cluttered with “stuff”, chances are you won’t be able to function properly, with a clear focus. It’s too distracting. So clear it away before you start. It gets easier if you do a little each day, trust me!
In yoga, we learn the term “vairagya”, meaning “to detach” in Sanskrit.
When we let go of stuff, it’s easier to declutter from a place of “enough”, rather than hoarding possessions for a time in the future (that may never come).
In effect, decluttering keeps us in the present moment.
Take some before and after photos of the clutter, then separate everything into piles of Keep – Trash – Donate.
You will feel so good afterwards.
Hack #3 – Clean Eating
I’ve written more extensive blog posts on nutrition, so do check those out HERE for specific details.
In the meantime, here’s a quick check list:
- Drink 8 glasses of water
- Include plenty of fresh fruit & vegetables (minimum 5-A-Day) at each meal & think “rainbow” colours so you include a broad spectrum of micronutrients (so, blue berries, red peppers, orange carrots, green leaves, you get the picture)
- Watch the sugar content in foods, especially diet foods – they’re laced with it – so start looking at labels and, in particular, the “Carbohydrates, of which sugars” content
- Reduce alcohol & try to have a couple of days alcohol-free per week, at least
- Supplements can be useful, but if you are eating a variety of fresh fruit & vegetables per above, you may only require an essential fatty acid, such as Omega-3 fish oil (or alternative source if you are vegetarian) which the body cannot manufacture itself. I also recommend a probiotic for healthy gut function and immune protection too.
- If you are not vegetarian or vegan, try having one meat-free day per week at least too. Find alternative sources of protein, such as avocado, tofu, nuts. This will rest the digestive system and allow optimum absorption of nutrients from the vegetarian sources instead.
- And finally, should weight loss have become an issue, try a form of intermittent fasting, such as 5:2 (ie, 5 days eating normally, 2 days fasting/eating fewer calories), 18:6 (ie, a period of 18 hours with no food, & 6 hours during which you have all your meals for the day). This gives the body a rest from insulin spikes throughout the day (18:6) or during the week (5:2) and helps to balance blood sugar levels, thus leaving less likelihood of the body laying down excess sugar as fat.
Hack #4 – Work Smarter (Not Harder)
Whether you are retired or still working, this tip still applies to healthy living. Implementing some sort of time management tool, even if it’s part of your daily journalling activities, will help you to determine your priorities (to-do list) for the day. Let’s face it, with more time on your hands, you can turn your “To Do” list into your “Success List”!
Goal setting (also mentioned in Hack #1 above) is a great way to help you work smarter. From my own experience, both in corporate life and since becoming a Yogipreneur, I recommend you get into the routine of setting SMART Goals. The acronym stands for goals which are:
S = Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
M = Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
A = Achievable (agreed, attainable)
R = Relevant (reasonable, realistic, results-based, resourced)
T = Time Limited (time bound, time-based, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive)
- learn to say “NO” more often (don’t take on other people’s stuff before your own, this can bog you down)
- plan for tomorrow the night before (another thing to write in your journal perhaps)
- focus on progress NOT perfection – waiting til something’s perfect is just PROCRASTINATION – imperfect action is better than none
Hack #5 – Re-cycle
NOW is the time to be thinking about the environment and saving our beautiful planet! Tomorrow will be TOO LATE!
The climate is changing, we are already experiencing the effects of global warming, earth’s natural resources are becoming depleted, so is the ozone layer. It’s up to each one of us (not just governments) to play our part in preventing a devastating impact on human and animal life.
If you haven’t already, get into the habit of a sustainable lifestyle – THINK LESS IS MORE!
- reduce your carbon footprint
- reduce single-use plastics, bring your own bag, get your usual take-away coffee in a reusable cup
- ditch the car & save fuel, walk, ride your bicycle (or car share) to work, switch off the lights, save energy
- recycle, reuse, donate
“If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled, or composted, then it should be restricted, designed or removed from production.”
Quote from the late singer & social activist, Pete Seeger.
Hack #6 – Spend time in nature
I’m definitely one who’s guilty of not getting out as much as I should. But when I do, I feel so much better. So to put this item on the daily hack list is critical. There are so many reasons for getting outdoors. Here are just a few key benefits:
- Mental health improvements include better mood, reduced stress, feelings of happiness, clears the mind, even your memory is likely to expand
- Increased Vitamin D absorption from exposure to sunlight boosts immunity, improving overall health
- Increased exercise (a good guide is 10,000 steps per day, but start small and build up) leads to potential weight loss, increased strength & mobility & better quality sleep
- You slow down, relax and BREATHE in the fresh air!
COVID19 has been a big wake-up call, with many of us trying to stay safe & well, both physically & mentally.
6 easy steps is all it takes. Can you afford not to?
Morning ritual – De-clutter – Clean eating – Work smarter – Re-cycle – Spend time in nature
The infographic above is available to download when you sign up to our Yogi News and you will automatically gain access to our Free Resource Library for further hints & tips on how to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Always open to more suggestions for blog posts, so do get in touch and let us know your thoughts.
Thanks for reading & stay healthy 🙂