Setting yourself up for a healthier lifestyle can be overwhelming sometimes. It’s hard to know what works when there is so much competing information out there.
Not only that, but making lasting changes takes patience and time. For example, it’s not easy to go from eating out to preparing meals at home each week. Fortunately, you needn’t expect yourself to change your lifestyle on a dime. There are low-pressure ways to create a healthier life for yourself, and here are seven tips to get you started.
1. Reduce Your Household’s Tech Dependency
In the modern world, technology is impossible to avoid. If you have children, it’s even harder when they use tech for both school and fun. Preventing screen addiction should be a top priority for the whole family. You can look for ways to lower dependency on it so your family can focus on living in the moment. This lack of digital connection can result in improved online security and a better quality of life.
You can also manage tech use by incorporating responsible phone use for your kids. When it’s time for your child to get a phone, consider choosing a kids phone that only provides communication capability. This way, they won’t be able to get distracted when they should be focused on more important activities. You can also restrict television time (including for yourself) or make bonding times during the day where technology is off. Introducing physical activities and hobbies is a good way to make this transition seamless.
2. Establish a Basic Routine
If you sometimes forget to keep up with important habits, establishing a basic routine can help you commit to them. Tasks like tooth brushing, showering, or making dinner are much easier when you’ve created a time slot for them. You don’t have to have an intense schedule, but try to introduce a bit of structure into your day. Even after a full workday, your time at home will be more manageable.
Another way to decrease stress is to separate the workplace and your home. Once you leave the office for the day, make a point to disconnect from work and be present at home. Whether you’re by yourself or with family, this time is for you to focus on home life, not work. Relax and enjoy it!
3. Check In on Your Relationships
A helpful goal for better mental health is to be present in your life. One way to do this is to keep up with your relationships. Connect regularly with those you love and value. This includes parents, siblings, friends, partners, coworkers, etc.
If you’re feeling like you aren’t connecting enough, sending a simple text is all it takes to start a conversation. Don’t feel pressured to ask people to meet up if you don’t want to, but be open to doing so. If you have a live-in partner, spend some of your time after work with them. The same goes for children — your presence is as good for them as it is for you.
4. Wind Down Before You Sleep
It’s a common piece of advice that you should get the right amount of sleep each night. It’s also not always that easy. Unpredictable events in your day might affect your ability and time to get rest. So how do you change this? Instead of heading right to sleep at a certain time, spend a little time earlier each night winding down.
Simply put, you’re more likely to sleep better if you follow a bedtime routine. As you go through it, your body will catch on that sleep is approaching and prepare. Avoid screens during this time, brush your teeth, say goodnight to your loved ones, and do some reading instead. You’ll be surprised at just how ready you are for bed and how rested you feel the next morning.
5. Meal-Prep Your Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and also the hardest to push yourself to make. Ten minutes in the morning feels like an eternity. You may have looked for multiple meal-prep options already and found them overwhelmingly complicated. Truth is, many of these online recipes look tasty but still require a fair amount of work to make.
Avoid stressing yourself out about your morning; prepare as basic of satisfying meals as possible. If you hard-boil eggs for a whole week of breakfast, that’s already much healthier than a bowl of cereal. You also won’t need to make time for a fancy dish because overnight oats are just as healthy and satisfying. Sometimes the simplest and quickest way to cook can be the most effective.
6. Create a Simple, Flexible Budget
There’s no denying the importance of budgeting for living healthily. Create a budget so you know your income, your expenses, and what’s left over. Then, you can set up a plan to both save and have a little spending money on the side.
Saving leftover income is good practice and will give you a cushion to fall back on should you need it. At the same time, it can be tiring to put everything away towards the future. Remember to take care of your current situation. While it’s always good to have a fallback, don’t stress yourself out. Instead of restricting yourself, focus on occasionally treating yourself. This can have a much better effect on your mental health.
7. Take Care of Your Body and Mind
If you’re reading this right now, you’re already halfway done with this step. It’s important to understand your body and your mind and work with them however they need. Exercising daily, for example, will have a noticeable effect on both even after a 10-minute run. Preparing healthy, stress-free meals will do the same.
Remember to put emphasis on the “stress-free” aspect of things. While difficulty is unavoidable, you do have alternatives. Little changes to your life have a big impact when they build up. Even if you have trouble making them, give yourself the patience you deserve. That on its own will make a difference.
In the end, keep in mind that no matter how dedicated you are to living a healthier life, off days happen. You might end up going a day or two without doing any of your routine, and that’s okay! Allowing for unpredictability will amplify the benefits of good habit-keeping and prevent you from going too far the other way. You are only human — take care of your body and mind as best you can, and you’ll feel better regardless.