There are SO many wonderful healthy habits you can (and should) incorporate - lemon water, oil pulling, tongue scraping, meditation, dry skin brushing. And that's just to name a few! But when should you implement these practices? How often? And for how long? It can get confusing! Today I want to discuss my top 10 healthy habits and how I incorporate them into my own day to day life.
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With only so many hours in a day, it's overwhelming to implement everything all at once. It's too much and eventually you'll want to give up. Instead, I want to provide you with an action plan that will have you incorporating these life-changing habits permanently and with ease.
Your action plan: Make one change each week. Just one. Start with my first healthy habit and work your way down the list. Eventually, these practices will become second nature.
- Hydration. This is such a vital starting point. Aim for 2L each and everyday. Grab yourself the largest stainless steel or glass water bottle that you can find. Determine how much water it can hold - that way you know exactly how many times you need to fill it up to meet your 2L goal. You'll be surprised by how great you feel simply by increasing your water intake. This is an everyday healthy habit - no negotiating here! And this leads me to my second healthy habit….
- Lemon water. Now, I'm not fussy here about whether you opt for warm lemon water or room temp water - it's completely your choice. Just not iced or cold water. Ideally, you're incorporating this habit everyday first thing in the morning. I like to keep a glass of room temp water with half a squeezed lemon by my nightstand. That way as soon as I wake up I can rehydrate myself. After a night's sleep the body can be very acidic. Lemon is very cleansing, it's liver supportive, detoxifying and alkalinizing.
- Get your greens in! Once you've got the water thing down it's time to really focus on getting your greens in - this is another daily habit. Dark leafy greens are absolutely essential to optimal health. Read more about the benefits of greens here. The easiest way to incorporate greens into your day to day is to include green smoothies and salads each day. One of my go to breakfast options is a green smoothie with tons of spinach and kale in it and I'll often include a fresh veggie salad at lunch and dinner. Be sure to include a wide variety of leafy greens such as spinach, swiss chard, dandelions, kale, arugula, mustard greens and collards.
- Quality sleep. You should certainly be striving for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. This is when our body is working the hardest to repair and restore. Tips to help you achieve a more restful sleep:
- Avoid stimulating activities ex. TV or computer.
- Develop a calming bedtime routine.
- Read/journal in dim lighting.
- Exercise 3-6 hours before bed.
- Hot bath with epsom salts and essential oils before bed.
- Avoid carbs at bedtime, as well as caffeine and alcohol.
- Incorporate evening meditation to help eliminate stress and anxiety.
- Legs up on the wall technique
- Spoonk Mat (from Nature’s Emporium)
- Diffuse essential oils to help create a calm environment such as lavender, vetiver and ylang ylang.
- Exercise. Physically moving our body 3-5 times a week is absolutely essential in maintaining our weight but more importantly it's crucial for overall health and wellness. Daily physical movement can improve our quality of sleep, mood, bone and joint health and cognitive function. Find an activity that you enjoy and schedule it in the same way you would any other appointment. Some of my favourite activities include yoga, Pilates, walking, jumping on my rebounder and swimming. If you can't manage an hour long session then squeeze in what you can - even 15-30 minutes is better than nothing.
- Meal planning. This strategy will not only help to keep you on track with your healthy eating goals but it will also save you time in the kitchen. It's also a really great way to save you money on your grocery bill. When you're only buying what you need for the week ahead you won't be purchasing more than you need which also means less waste come the end of the week - huge bonus! I meal plan and do groceries once a week. I find that this works best for my family. We do one big grocery shop, strategically eat what will perish earlier on in the week and save heartier fruits and veggies for later on. One big food shop also means less opportunity to fill my cart with items I don't actually need for the week but might otherwise be tempted to buy. This may or may not work for you. You may prefer to hit the grocery store more regularly. Find a routine that works for you and your family. Read more on how you can meal plan here.
- Get outside. I try to make this a daily habit as much as is humanly possible. Even if it's just for 10 minutes a day. Get yourself out of the house, out of the office and out of the car and into the fresh air. As many of my readers know I'm a summer girl through and through, so I find this to be much more enjoyable in warmer/sunnier weather. Whatever the season - try and get outside to breathe in fresh air, soak up the sun and look up at the sky.
- Oil pulling. Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy used for oral health and detoxification. Now this is a habit I'm pretty fond of for many reasons such as oral health care but other benefits include increased energy, clearer mind, reduced inflammation, allergies and improved sleep - to name a few! The method is pretty simple! Take about 1tbsp of oil (cold pressed organic sesame or extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil are best). Swish the oil around your mouth in the same way you would use mouthwash – ensuring the oil is moving in and around your teeth, gums and tongue. Do this for at least 15-20 minutes. Be sure not to swallow the oil as it will be loaded with toxins from all the swishing. Spit it out into the toilet and rinse with water. I also like to add a drop of peppermint essential oil when I'm oil pulling to help freshen my breath. I like to oil pull at least 2 times a week depending on my schedule. I will incorporate this practice first thing in the morning while I'm getting ready, or while I'm journalling or meditating. But I've also done it while watching an episode of something on Netflix. Read more here.
- Dry skin brushing. This is one of the easiest ways to detoxify on a more regular basis. I implement this healthy habit 2-3 times a week and I'll do it just before I shower. Our skin is our largest organ but it’s also one of the most important elimination organs in the body. It plays a HUGE role in daily detoxification. When our blood is full of toxic materials from all the ‘gunk’ we put on our skin, our nails, hair and scalp, not to mention air pollution & the pesticides used on our food we start to see these signs of imbalance & deficiency through our skin in the form of rashes, dry patches, acne etc. Dry skin brushing can help to reduce the appearance of cellulite, it encourages new cell renewal which results in smoother, brighter and more glowing skin, it can help with ingrown hairs but my favourite part is that it can help to improve the relationship you have with your own body by forcing you to get up close and personal with all the areas and bits you try to avoid. Read more here to find out what you'll need and how to dry skin brush correctly.
- Self love. Now, don't just skip over this part. There is a very real connection between the mind and body in terms of health. This last habit may sound super cheese ball but it's also incredibly important to our overall health and wellness. I'm not asking you to do anything that doesn't resonate with you. If meditation, massage or an epsom salt bath with essential oils isn't your bag then that's totally ok. I'm simply asking you to incorporate one act of self love each week - you can incorporate more if your schedule allows for it. An act of self love is a time out from your hurried schedule. Something that's just for you. Time to shut it all down and get back in tune with yourself. Something that truly brings you joy and contentment. Peace and relaxation wouldn't be bad either :P This could look like a regularly scheduled coffee date with yourself. Where you treat yourself to a latte, some journalling or a book you've been meaning to read. It could also look like zoning out on the couch with a glass of organic vino, some raw chocolate and a good chick flick.
I wanna know, what are some of your daily essential habits for maintaining your health & wellness?