It’s important that we organize our thoughts and goals to find the little things that make the most out of our days. That’s why I’ve created a list of things that help my mood, health and to manage through my daily stress. Writing these things down can help me to remember the benefits that result from making the effort.
Below are MY 10 things to do daily for a happier and healthier life. I encourage you to consider incorportating these things into your daily routine and to reflect on your own 10 things that help you to get through the day. Share your 10 things below in the comments – I’m always open to new ideas!
I have also provided some convenient product recommendations that can help you to meet your goals. Simply click on the image provided to order.
Working outside of the Monday through Friday, 9-5 world, it’s really easy to fall into the habit of not leaving the house on your off-days. To combat this, I try to get outside for at least 30 minutes collectively on any given day. The fresh air helps to lift my spirits, kick-start my motivation and dispel any writer’s block or a creativity drought that I may be experiencing. Plus, the extra Vitamin D from the sun helps with my overall mood, too. This can look like a 30 minute walk, or parking at the back of the parking lot when running errands, making an extra trip to the mail center or dumpster. taking the long route back to my office on workdays or having my lunch break outside. I encourage you to take a look at your average day and see where you can afford to venture outdoors even on the busiest of days.
Being in Michigan, this is easier said than done during the late fall and winter months. I purchased a Verilux UV light (click the image below) in November and for the first time in my life, my spring blood tests came back with healthy, normal levels of Vitamin D this year. $39.95 well spent, if I do say so myself.
Are you a victim of “text neck” or getting sucked into your phone/laptop etc.? I build time into my calendar to make sure that I stay off of the devices consciously. This gives me time to do some of the other commitments that I’ve made to make the most of out my time.
After a busy work day, I’ll come home from work and put my phone in the bedroom. I’ve been doing this for so long that it’s not uncommon for me to completely forget about whatever was bothering me on my way home and won’t check my phone again until the next morning. My iPhone is set to limit me from using social media, texting, and web browsing after 10pm.
When I’m feeling like I need a break from social media, I’ll go on a detox every 3 months or so where I actually delete all social media apps from my phone for 72 hours. Sometimes I find that the increase in my productivity has improved vastly and I’ll go even longer, only allowing myself to check social media on my laptop browser. I even delete my work email hosting app off of my phone while I’m on vacation. It’s liberating.
I challenge you to try a 48-72 hour social media detox this weekend.
Some people have a problem with impulse buying shoes, accessories and clothes; books are my kryptonite. I recently received my first iPad as a gift. initially I intended it do rent eBooks for graduate school, but then my curiosity landed me with a few novels using the Kindle App. Boy, was I surprised to find that I like eReaders. I never thought I’d see the day.
One of my goals for 2019 is to read 30 books before 2020. I’m a little behind on my goal due to a busy winter semester, but I still try to read at least 20 hours a month to meet this goal. This works out to about 5 hours a week that I find the time to fill reading when I’m “unplugged”, on my lunch break or at the gym.
Click on the images below to see 3 of my favorite reads of the year so far!
Also – make sure that you check out my notable recommendations and book reviews!
You don’t need a Fitbit or an Apple Watch to accomplish this, but they do help. Like getting outside more, make it a point to get more activity incorporated into your day. This can be parking in the back of the lot, taking the stairs to getting yourself to the gym more.
For me, having a chronic illness can make this very challenging. Doing regular at-home yoga helps me to combat this. Yoga with Adriene had been a lifesaver for me. She’s the whole package and her yoga videos focus on helping you to “find what feels good” versus trying to have perfect form. This alleviates the stress of comparing yourself to others in a class, along with the extra added cost of studio class – which can add up fast. Her videos range from 5 minutes to a full hour+ and you can search to find what will help you every time that you practice (back pain, flexibility, relaxation etc.)
I challenge you to complete one of Adriene’s 30-Day Yoga Challenges and tell me how you feel in the comments!
Click on the images below if you’re looking for some items to get you started:
Everyone has the ability to be creative. You don’t have to be an artist. I work in a world-class art museum because I believe that everyone deserves access to art of the past, present and future and that everyone needs an outlet for creative expression.
I have a lot of creative hobbies: knitting, crochet, macrame, jewelry making, interior design, and journaling – just to name a few. Between balancing work, school and life in general, it’s imperative that I have some form of creative outlet to keep me motivated.
To my friends, family, and colleagues, it’s not uncommon to see me with a knitting project in my purse, knitting needles in my hands or to have my bullet journal out on my desk.
What inspires you? Are you doing it enough or do you need to find more time for yourself to create weekly?
I can go on and on and on about the importance of journaling, and I will in posts to come. But for the purpose of this article I am stressing the importance of journaling.
According to Intermountain Healthcare, there are 5 powerful health benefits of journaling:
- Stress reduction: 15-20 minutes of journaling a day has the ability to decrease blood pressure and organize your thoughts and stressors in a healthy way.
- Improved Immune Function: Yes – because journaling improves your blood pressure and liver function, it can actually help you to combat illness by boosting your overall immune system functioning. Forget the apple a day: expressive writing everyday can keep the doctor away! (but still remember to eat fruit regularly)
- Keeps memory sharp: Like reading, journaling boosts memory, comprehension, and increases memory capacity.
- Boosts mood: Journaling can boost your mood and give you a better sense of well-being. For those of us suffering from depression and anxiety, journaling can help because it gives us a creative outlet (hint, hint – the previous section!) to express our thoughts, worries in a private social way that allows us to organize our thoughts and make sense of them; rather than keeping them bottled up inside.
- Strengthens emotional functions: Bottom line, journaling helps us to connect with our innermost needs and desires, while evoking mindfulness and helping us to keep perspective of what’s important.
Try to incorporate journaling into your daily routine and see how it helps your stress and anxiety. For me, this sometimes takes the form of list making (grocery lists, to do lists, goals).
Journaling can be an abstract concept beyond “Dear Diary” – and social gender construct tells us that its only something for women, but all genders can benefit equally from journaling.
30 Minute Declutter
Ah, the 30 minute declutter. How many times a week do you come home from a long day work, school, running errands and sitting in traffic and drop your things, shed your clothes for something comfy and post up on the couch until its time for bed? I’m guilty of this so much that when my days-off come around, I’m stuck cleaning for hours at a time.
A messy home makes me anxious, and sometimes it makes me so anxious that I shut down and cannot complete my daily tasks until it’s addressed.
Something that I try to do before I got to bed is set a time for 30 minutes and walk around the house and declutter all of the things that have accumulated where they don’t belong. This can include clearing the sink, emptying the dishwasher, running the vacuum, straightening up the living room, and putting laundry away. Before I know it, the house looks noticeably cleaner and I go to sleep with a clearer mind.
Log What You Eat
I’ve done the weight-loss thing, where you log every single thing that you eat into an app that calculates unrealistic results to tell you whether or not your on track with your weight loss goals. While this has many benefits and can teach your more about body composition and weight loss, it also creates an unhealthy obsession of negative thought regarding the food that you eat.
I have certain food goals that I try to meet daily, such as a net caloric consumption, making sure that I’m getting enough protein and fiber, and that I’m eating foods that are clean and healthy. I use my journal to rapid log my meals and snacks to help track these things. Sometimes I don’t remember to do this – and that is okay! The important thing is staying conscious about what you are putting into your body and that you are getting enough nutrients.
Drink More Water
How much water do you drink a day? Mayo Clinic has spelled out their recomendation for fluid consumption within a day. For women they recommend about 90 oz. of fluid a day and men about 125 oz. of fluid a day. I translate this into making it a goal to drink at least 100 oz. of pure water a day, in addition to the other fluids that I consume and track this in my journal.
Through journaling, I’ve discovered that if I do not drink enough water or get enough sleep, my autoimmune symtoms flare up with a vengence and it can take days to reverse the effects that this can take on my body.
What does drinking 100 oz. of water look like? Drinking approximately 4x .75L water bottles within a day, which CamelBak makes durable waterbottles this size that are relatively slim and can fit into your purse or backpack. I like the Camelbak model the most because the straw design makes for a faster consumption that hydrates me faster. Click on the image below to order one today:
One of my focuses this year is to write more heartfelt notes to give to people. Time goes by so fast and one thing that I’ve learned as an adult, is that sometimes we forget to tell those we care able how much they mean to us. We send Facebook messages on their birthdays or purchase a generic card to give them at the holidays, but sometimes forget to say the things that really matter.
This is why I have started to purchase blank notecard sets when I set a collection that I like and save them for the occasions when a card is appropriate or to keep on hand for when I want someone to know that I’m thinking about them, am thank for them and am proud of them for all that they’ve accomplished. It’s the little things like this that can turn someone’s day around.