What do you usually think of when you hear “healthy lifestyle?”
Exercise and diet, right?
While technically correct, there’s so much more to a healthy lifestyle, especially regarding your mental health. If the world’s fittest athlete is absolutely miserable off the court, then his health is just as poor as the average Joe’s.
Here are four healthy lifestyle tips to boost your well-being in the areas you may be overlooking.
#1 Build Your Community
One of the biggest predictors of life expectancy is the strength of your bonds with your community. This can include an intimate relationship with a partner, meaningful bonds with your family and friends, and a close network of support.
If you find yourself lacking a safety net to fall back on, you can build your circle by getting involved with the local community in a variety of ways:
- Volunteer at a not-for-profit or other organization
- Join an amateur sports league, gym, or fitness club
- Form connections with those around you by making friends with neighbors
And if you’re feeling up for it, consider downloading a dating app to find a whole other type of relationship, too.
#2 Alleviate Common Sleep Disruptions
Getting a good night’s sleep can feel like navigating a minefield. There seems to be no end to what factors can disrupt your sleep quality, from caffeine intake to daytime naps to eating too late, to not eating late enough (seriously, it’s like you can never win!).
Luckily, though, you have several easy fixes for iffy sleep at your disposal:
- Teeth grinding – Nearly 1 in 10 adults grind their teeth at night. While it’s not necessarily harmful in small doses, regular occurrences can disrupt sleep and even cause severe dental damage. Before you reach the point where your dental fees are through the roof, purchase a night guard to alleviate symptoms, and catch some Zs.
- Restless leg syndrome – If you’ve ever found your sheets in a tornado of a mess in the morning, you might have restless leg syndrome. Your brain repeatedly wakes up in response to your shaking legs, which disrupts your sleep. To start, eliminate highly caffeinated items from your diet, like coffee, tea, and (sorry) chocolate. For cravings, you can substitute regular chocolate for white chocolate instead.
- Sleeping position – Some people swear up and down that they get their best night’s sleep lying flat on their stomach. Regardless of personal preference, the science pretty clearly suggests that face-down sleeping is the worst of all. Your spinal cord and muscles aren’t able to fully relax, and your breathing is labored. Switch to your side for better, easier sleep.
#3 Set Boundaries
With the sudden intermingling of work and home life, it can be incredibly difficult to set boundaries while working from home. But a work-life balance has always been important for maintaining positive mental health and meaningful relationships with others.
The next time your boss calls you well after dinner or asks for a “teeny-tiny super quick favor” on the weekend, respectfully tell them that you’re off the clock and will deal with their request as soon as you’re back in the office (even if you’re already literally in your “office”).
You’re a human being before you’re an employee. It could help to remind your boss that they are, too.
#4 Start A Hobby
Finding a passion completely separate from your career and other obligations will introduce a meaningful, stress-free activity into your life. You won’t have to worry about deadlines, making money, or living up to anyone’s high expectations (except maybe your own).
There are tons of at-home hobbies to choose from:
- An art project – With painting, sketching, sculpting, mixed media, and more, there are so many visual art forms that require nothing more than a positive attitude and a few easy-to-find materials. Creativity does wonders for the soul!
- Photography – In addition to giving you something to learn about and focus on (no pun intended), photography will give you an excuse to get out of the house as you search for the perfect shot.
- Cooking – This one has a pretty obvious added bonus: the confidence and skills to make healthy, inventive meals that will contribute to your overall health. Start by purchasing a quality cookbook, and before you know it, you’ll be whipping up your own unique recipes.
Prioritize Your Well-Being
For these healthy lifestyle tips to work effectively, you have to commit to making real, meaningful change. Sure, you can eat nothing but kale and flaxseed and complete your daily ab routine and ride your bike to work every day, but if you don’t invest in yourself fully, all you’ll have at the end of the day is a tight six-pack and a bland salad.
Featured Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay