Small Health Adjustments That Make a Big Difference
Getting Healthy… it’s a goal quite a few of us share for the coming year. It’s not only the most common New Year's resolution, it’s also among the hottest trending search phrases, and is reflected in thousands of social media hashtag and multiple magazine covers. But getting healthy is often viewed as a monumental task that takes months, if not years, to achieve. This can be the case, but often it doesn’t have to be.
There is good news for all of those who think you have to overhaul your entire life overnight for a positive change to count. Making healthy changes isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition; holistic practitioners tell us that making small changes can make a much bigger difference in your health than you think.
However, these same practitioners tell us that, when it comes to getting healthy, it’s important to take a multi-step or holistic approach. Total and complete wellness involves looking at all aspects of wellness including mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and social health. The best approach is a total body and mind approach.
Here are some small adjustments you can make each day that can bring you closer to a balanced life, and ultimately make a big difference in your overall health and happiness. The little stuff adds up, but you must be consistent and put in the work!
20 Tiny Adjustments That Make a Huge Difference in Overall Health
#1 Turn Off the TV & Challenge Your Brain Instead: If you have a habit of turning on the TV to unwind at the end of the day, try changing things up and doing something to stimulate your brain instead. Do a crossword puzzle, have a family game night, or work on a fun project. A study conducted by the University of Exeter concluded that regular crosswords and number puzzles are linked to sharper cognitive health later in life, so get a good amount of brain stimulation in now for a healthier brain down the road.
#2 Add Avocado to Your Diet: We need healthy fats in our diet for energy, brain health, and for hormone production. So, try adding more healthy fats like avocado to your diet for a nutrient-dense boost.
#3 Enjoy More Garlic: Eating garlic regularly is a good idea for many reasons. For one, it’s amazing for the immune system, so eat plenty of it during cold and flu season. It’s also great for supporting healthy blood pressure. Various clinical studies have found just how impressive the active compound (allium) in garlic is for lowering high blood pressure. Overall, it’s a great addition to a healthy and balanced diet, and it’s delicious, so consider enjoying it regularly.
#4 Clean Your Tongue: Scraping your tongue with a tongue scraper is an easy addition to your routine that can really help support better oral health (and better breath). The Cleveland Clinic talks about the importance of cleaning your tongue, as it can harbor bacteria, just like teeth. Cleaning the tongue is up there with brushing for keeping your mouth clean, healthy, and free of bad breath. Practice tongue scraping first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed.
#5 Wash Your Makeup Brushes Each Week: When’s the last time you washed your makeup brushes? If you can’t think about the last time they got a good clean, it’s a good idea to wash them at least once a week. Overtime brushes can accumulate bacteria, leading to acne and clogged pores. Try to make it a habit to wash them once a week.
#6 Wash Your Sheets Regularly: If you find yourself forgetting to wash your sheets more often than you would like to admit, you definitely aren’t alone. Nonetheless, you should try to incorporate a weekly wash into your routine. Sleep advisor says that most experts recommend washing your sheets weekly, as unwashed sheets can harbor things like sweat, body oils, dirt, skin cells, and dust mites. Dust mites can accumulate quickly, and can lead to things like eczema, asthma, and coughing, so you want to have your sheets washed frequently to avoid any buildup.
#7 Turn Down Your Thermostat: Turning down the thermostat, especially at night, may help you sleep better, and with better sleep comes better health. Sleep.org states that the optimal sleeping temperature range is between 60°F and 67°F. Temperatures higher or lower could cause you to toss and turn from being too hot or too cold.
#8 Perform At Least One Selfless Act Each Week: Putting some good out in the world is always a good idea, and it can actually bring you a lot of joy. Try to do at least one selfless thing each week, or volunteer doing something you really enjoy. Research shows that volunteering two hours each week can bring abundant amounts of personal satisfaction, while also benefiting your community.
#9 Incorporate Music Into Your Life: Go out dancing, take up singing in the shower or the car, or start doing dance fitness! Music can bring more happiness into your life, and moving your body along with the beat can also be a great way to burn calories and get your heart rate up.
#10 Meatless Monday: Adding more plant-based foods to your diet is the ideal way to support better health. Try taking on a meatless Monday challenge by eating only plant-based food once every week. It could become a habit that sticks, and it encourages you to eat more fruits and vegetables.
#11 Take a Multi Each Day: While we should always take a food first approach when it comes to nourishing our body, taking a multivitamin with a smartly formulated multi mineral each day will help ensure you are making up for anything you may not be getting through diet. Most multi’s are too low in key minerals, or dangerously high in some vitamins, so read the label.
#12 Wear Sneakers More Often: Ditch the high heels, and wear sneakers more often. Wearing sneakers most of the day will help push you to get more steps in, plus it will feel better on your feet and give more arch and ankle support.
#13 Wear a Step Tracker: While we’re on the topic of steps, wear a fitness tracker or pedometer to track your steps. Wearing one will be a good push to encourage you to get moving to reach your 10,000 steps each day. Better yet, if you have a smartphone, you may have a free, built-in step tracker already! Check out the “Health” tab on your iphone. It will tell you your daily steps and floors climbed!
#14 Pick a Hobby: Having a hobby can be fulfilling, and can help support happiness and relaxation through doing things that we enjoy. You can even pick a hobby that will help promote better health. Medical News Today says that the five best hobbies for better health include dancing for exercise, gardening, writing, music, and activities that involve being around pets. Most people that are newly retired find that finding a new hobby will lessen the feelings of work separation anxiety and lift mood!
#15 Use an Exercise Ball Instead of a Chair: Swap out your chair at work for an exercise ball. It may just be what you need to take tension off of your neck and back, plus it engages your core and can help with love handles... all while just sitting!
#16 Add a Superfood to Each Meal: Try adding one superfood to each meal. Nutrient dense superfoods like flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, spirulina, and coconut butter are all great options.
#17 Use a Reusable Water Bottle: Invest in a sturdy, non-plastic, water bottle and keep it with you all day. Refill it as needed to stay on top of your hydration. Keep your water bottle in clear sight as a gentle reminder to drink all day long.
#18 Establish a Morning Routine: Having a morning routine is a great way to tackle exercise, self-care, and meditation before your busy day starts. Dedicating some time each morning to these things is the ideal way to make sure you get them done and start your day off right.
#19 Try Herbal Tea Instead of Coffee: If you find yourself grabbing multiple cups of coffee per day, try swapping at least one cup with herbal tea instead to limit your caffeine intake each day. Too much caffeine can be hard on the adrenals and leave you feeling jittery, as well as making it difficult to sleep.
#20 Cook More At Home: If you tend to get takeout or go out to dinner more often than you cook, try making more food at home. Not only will you start to save money, you have better control of the quality and type of foods that go into your body. Start with incorporating more home cooked meals into your diet twice a week, and work your way up to eating almost all of your meals at home.
The Bottom Line — Small Changes Add Up!
Making healthy changes doesn’t have to involve a total overhaul of your life overnight. Instead, try making a few of these small adjustments and incorporating more over time. It’s easier to make small changes and they can cumulatively make a huge difference long-term. Adopt a few of these habits every week until you have done all 20. It won’t take long to see some serious changes in your overall health!