One of the reasons we fail to get healthy is that we tend to think only big changes matter. We plan major lifestyle changes, when in fact a few small tweaks to our daily routines can have a surprisingly positive impact.
The following changes will make a difference, especially if you can do them consistently over the next thirty days:
As Jennifer Kromberg, PsyD, discusses in this Psychology Today article, many eating problems are emotional. Some of us turn to comfort food almost every day, sometimes several times a day. This means many weight issues, and a lot health problems caused by bad nutrition, can be helped by finding healthy comfort food instead.
I know it's not to everyone's taste, but it is worth trying- avocado or hummus on warm whole wheat toast is comfort food for me. For a snack, I love yogurt covered raisins.
Your healthy comfort food might be chicken soup, pasta in a rich tomato sauce, or strawberries and cream. Any of those are better for you than candy, chips and fast food.
2. Fit nature into your daily routine
Spending time in nature improves our health, and it doesn't have to be a significant chunk of time. According to this BBC news report, studies show that just a five minute walk in a green area can improve mental health and well-being. An even bigger effect was noted with blue/green exercise (where the walk included water, such as a river or lake). So a short walk in a green area can be highly beneficial, especially if your route takes you past some water.
If you're fortunate enough to have a backyard that feels like a natural setting, this is even better for you. Something as routine as drinking a cup of tea on your back porch can give you a small nature-induced sense of well-being.
3. Take the effort out of exercise
Most of us have resolved to exercise more and failed to stick to our resolution.
The key here is to keep it simple and super accessible. Often it's the effort of getting ready for exercise, or getting to a specific venue that prevents us sticking to a routine.
An exercise you can do at home or right from your front door is more likely to get done. So go for a walk or run, use a home exercise program or get into the habit of a little yoga or stretching as soon as you wake up.
Good oral health can impact all kinds of other things. According to The Mayo Clinic, your oral health is a window to your overall health, and is linked to everything from heart disease to dementia. When you consider this, spending five minutes a day to brush your teeth correctly, floss and use a mouthwash doesn't seem such a huge time investment.
Haven't been to the dentist in a while? Book an appointment now. Look on it as a small preventative measure that will support your general health in many different areas.
5. Identify healthy coping mechanisms
How we cope when things start to go wrong can have an impact on how wrong they go. Turning to alcohol or cigarettes every time you feel stress mounting will often contribute to that stress by causing both short and long-term health problems.
If you cope with stress by getting a massage, going for a run, or taking a long, warm bath with some health-giving essential oils in it, you may actually feel less stressed and healthier, often in an hour or less.
All of these things involve tweaking your daily habits, but none of them require a huge shift or whole new lifestyle. These five small changes you make, and stick to, will have far more impact than one big change you plan but never implement.