You probably clicked on this article wondering what 7 things could possibly keep you healthy. And I don’t blame you – health is a complex balance of physical, mental and emotional states that seems harder and harder to achieve these days. But while this list is by no means exclusive, incorporating these simple but often overlooked 7 habits will certainly push you in the right direction towards a healthier life.
1) Take more naps- Research has found that only 34 percent of working professionals nap on a daily basis, and that a third of these individuals made over $100,000 per year. Not surprisingly, studies have shown that naps improve cognition, memory, and alertness and reduce stress. Taking a short nap every day can help improve your health as well as make you more productive in the workplace.
2) Clean daily- Researchers in Scotland have found that those who engage in regular housework live longer than sedentary people. This is most likely due to the extra calories burned by performing chores, which is beneficial for maintaining a healthy heart. Research has also shown living in a clean-smelling environment improves your mood and increases our likeliness to donate and volunteer to charitable causes compared to less clean environments.
3) Eat soup from a box- Giving up canned foods can lower the risk of heart disease, brain cancer, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and infertility. A large number of studies investigating the effect of BPA, the chemical that is used to line canned foods as well as hard plastics, have shown its link in the development of such diseases. Opting for foods that are packaged in boxes or glass jars are a healthier and safer alternative to the canned options. Of course, choose the organic or natural options… or better yet, their fresh alternatives.
4) Give your body a break- We all know that exercise plays an important role in health maintenance as well as weight loss. However, pushing your body through long and intense workouts most days of the week can leave your muscles feeling stressed, sore and tired. Incorporating a few relaxation days into your regular exercise regime will therefore allow your body to recover and feel stronger.
5). Enjoy the meals you love- It seems that nowadays, eating can be more stressful than enjoyable when we are constantly analyzing our food choices and counting calories as we strive too hard to eat healthy. The reality is that this mindset may actually be sabotaging our efforts. Forcing ourselves to eat a salad when we really want pasta can lead to an unsatisfied feeling and result in overeating later. So while it is important to eat healthy foods, it is equally important to listen to your body and not over-analyze our meal choices. Enjoy the meals you love, however instead of dining out try making your favorite foods at home. This will not only satisfy your food cravings, it will also help you control the ingredients you use.
6) Eat with family and friends- Researchers at the University of Birmingham found that people who ate with the company of their laptops or smartphones consumed significantly more throughout the day than those who dined without distractions. This may be because overeating and snacking are often used as a way to escape stress and negative emotions, rather than true hunger. In today’s busy and often chaotic landscape, dinner is one of the few opportunities in the day to spend quality time with friends and family and can create the positive feelings that are usually temporarily fulfilled by snacking. A great incentive to put away your smartphone and share a meal with your loved ones!
7) Rekindle your hobbies- It seems that as we get older, we put aside a decreasing amount of our free time towards activities that we love. Drawing, pottery, crafts, playing a musical instrument, biking… whatever your flavor may be, rediscovering your passions is a great way to de-stress, increase happiness and unleash your creative side. Making small lifestyle changes such as embracing cleanliness and napping helps to bring your physical and mental health into balance and supports a long, healthy lifestyle. Of course, everything in moderation and don’t forget the other stuff - healthy diet, exercise, healthy relationships, etc., but these tips will have you well on your way.