If you want to improve your health but are so overwhelmed with all the advice that is out there you might not know where to start.
My biggest advice on this one is pick just one thing to start with. Hopefully that will then get the ball rolling.
I've picked a few habit and lifestyle changes that I think might be at the simpler end of getting you started.
Pick one you like that you can easily integrate into your day. After you've made a success of that one, try picking another. You would be surprised at how quickly you can make progress with your health by making incremental changes to your day.
They should fit seamlessly into your life. If they don't then the chances of your success will reduce.
#1 - Go to Bed earlier
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do. It is time for your body to reset, recover and recoup from the day so that the following day you can wake up and kick ass again. Sleep deprivation can lead to a reduction in your capacity to deal with the stresses of the day.
Have you ever been up all night with your kids, gone to work the following day and just been snappy and angry with the people around you for no real reason? Or simply just unproductive?
In a tired state, you also lose some of your ability to control your impulses regarding food. If you're attempting to lose weight by eating a healthier diet getting a good nights sleep is vital.
#2 - Eat dinner as early as possible
This relates to sleep too. When you eat dinner late the processes that kick us into a sleep state start later.
I think about it like this: If i want to rest, I want to have as little going on around me as possible. If my digestive system is still whirring away because I ate dinner late I'm not going to be in my most relaxed state. Blood is drawn away from the brain to the guts to absorb the nutrition from the food. Your brain is amazingly active during sleep, it needs blood to perform that activity. Also, your Intestines need a chance to rest too. Having a longer "fast" between dinner and breakfast gives the cells in your gut the chance to heal better.
#3 - Wear a facemask to bed
A blindfold, not a cosmetic facemask of clay and minerals etc. Any light that is in your room at night has the ability to disturb your sleep. It may not wake you fully but it can disrupt your natural rhythm of sleep. More of a problem in Summer when the Sun rises early and sets late. However, with rooms full of technology there may well be blinking lights and small sources of light from an electronic device.
Why take the chance of getting disturbed by a little blue light when the change is so simple.
Alternatively, remove all sources of light from your room. All electronic devices switched off at the plug, phones are left downstairs etc.
#4 - Drink plenty of water when you get up
Overnight the processes in your body are still ticking over. You've all seen your breath on a cold day, the mist that seems to rise out of your mouth. And no doubt you have a bladder full of fluid in the morning too. Sweating also doesn't stop when you're in bed either.
If you've been in bed for 8 - 9 hours, you haven't had any fluid in that time. It makes sense to me that you will need some water. Drink at least 1 pint of water when you get up to replace the fluids that you have used in tour sleep.
#5 - Walk further and more frequently
Gentle exercise is a great way to improve your health. By getting your muscles moving you encourage blood to return back to your heart, lymph (your body's sewer system) is also assisted by movement, encouraging waste products back up to the heart where they can re-enter the blood to then be filtered by the kidneys and out in urine.
Ways to add more walking into your day - park slightly further away from where you need to be. Go out for a 10 - 20 minute stroll after dinner. Walk to the train/bus station, get off one or two stops before you really need to.
You don't need a watch to tell you how much you've walked in a day but it might motivate you to do a bit more.
#6 - Smile often
The act of smiling not only might brighten up someone else's day it also releases endorphins in your own body that help to lift your mood.
Who doesn't want to be happier?
Count the number of times you smile at people one day? Can you smile more the next day? How does it make you feel?
#7 - Thank people for their service
How do you feel when someone thanks you, with meaning, for some favour you have done for them, big or small? Whether it's a cup of tea at work, or someone serving you a coffee at a cafe and it's their job. Look up at them, in the eye, and genuinely say thank you.
This might help with number 6 too. Not only are you probably going to smile yourself but you may well bring about a smile to someone else who might be having a tough time that day.
Spread a bit of happiness.