5 Daily Strategies to Improve Your Health

By: Lauren Tong, MLIS, MSHCI, NDTR and Yoga Teacher Training trainee

Not another “x number of simple steps to get your life together”, OH YES. Yes it is. But with a yogi / nutrition expert twist.

We all know that drinking water, sleeping well, and eating healthy are keys to overall well-being but lets get some actual tips on how to do these please! And thus, I present to you:

5 ideas to introduce small changes into your lifestyle: the basics

1. Hydrate – “8 ounces of water 8 times a day” is outdated, carrying around GIANT water bottles is tedious, and staying hydrated can feel like a chore, especially if you’re not one to naturally drink water all the time. Try adding a Rooibos tea bag. Rooibos tea isn’t actually tea; it’s made from herbs so it contains no caffeine. It can flavor your water without adding calories or artificial sweeteners. Iced or hot, it can change up your water drinking routine and might make it easier for you to stay hydrated.

2. Sleep hygiene – This doesn’t necessarily mean getting 8-10 hours a night, that might not work with your schedule or body. Think about your sleep environment: Is there light? Noise? Ahem… cell phone causing distractions when you go to sleep? Be mindful of your sleeping environment and notice which ones you can change to make for a better nights’ sleep. Cover lights with a pillow case or sock or dirty t-shirt, charge your phone on the other side of the room (bonus if you use it as an alarm – you have to get out of bed to turn it off), turn on a fan for some white noise if you live near a busy street.

3. Posture – I myself type this while sitting cross-legged in my office chair, half slumped over my keyboard. Set a timer, write a sticky note, etc., for desired intervals of time to take a yoga Mountain Pose. Lift the arches of your feet, pull your shoulders down and back, lengthen the spine through the crown of the head. Try to resume your tasks while maintaining these aspects of Mountain Pose for as long as possible, without forcing it. Notice if you feel any differences or if you don’t have to remind yourself as often. (mixing in a good Forward Fold can also feel fantastic)

4. Food choices – You knew this was coming. All of these lists have a point about eating and well, so does this one. But hear me out… Just be mindful. Slow down when eating: Notice, are you hungry? Bored? Stressed? Are you tasting your food? Enjoying it? Are there distractions of TV, cell phones, screaming children that keep you from paying attention to how much or how quickly you eat? Starting any food related change is difficult so by introducing mindfulness to your eating routine, you can notice areas where you want to try changes: location of eating, ingredients, flavorings, quantity, distraction levels, etc.

5. Exercise – go out there and run a marathon! Hike a mountain, swim 40 laps. <<JK>>. Please don’t if that is not in your practice. Think small: think extra walking. Need to get the mail? Walk over. Safe environment to take a longer route to your car after work? Try it out. Normally take an elevator? Walk a set of stairs or two. Have to tell that coworker a juicy slice of gossip? Saunter over, don’t text! All of these (well maybe not while walking to your car) have the added bonus of potential social interactions – and hey did I trick you with a double whammy? Being social and having face-to-face interactions – however brief – can have big positive impacts and can encourage you to move around more.

Start small, choose just one of these to focus on this week. And don’t forget to ask for help.Remember our blog post last week? Friends and community are a great support system and involving them is likely to lead to success in reaching your wellness goals.