Little Daily Habits for Health + Happiness  

If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, it may be time to start shaking up your daily routine to help your body + mind feel energized again. We’re not talking about a massive commitment to overhaul your entire life. As you’ll discover after trying one or two of these ideas, it’s often the little changes that make the biggest difference. Tiny modifications here and there can greatly improve your quality of life! 

Small changes = big impact over time. 

Pick up a new hobby

Whether it’s learning a new language, attending an art class, lecture or volunteering at a local charity, finding a new hobby is a great way to take some time for yourself. It helps keep your brain sharp + gets you out of your comfort zone. It’s also a great way to meet new people. Trying new things also brings a renewed sense of well-being and confidence. We’re never too old to learn something new! 

Take a morning walk 

Breathing in some fresh morning air is sure to help brush away the mental cobwebs and begin the day in a good mood. Walking in the morning can actually help you sleep better at night too, as natural daylight helps set the melatonin (sleep hormone) response for the evening. You can actually improve your sleep by taking a morning walk! Walking is also an incredibly underrated form of exercise that can strengthen your heart and lungs, reduce the risk of stroke, improve blood pressure, ease joint pain, and much more.  

Make time to read every day 

Not only is taking time to read an act of self-care, but it can actually help improve long-term neurological function. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fiction junkie, love to read memoirs, or just want to disappear in a good old-fashioned romance novel, your body and mind will thank you for it. 

Use sunscreen  

Regardless of whether it’s a sunny day or not, using sunscreen daily is imperative for both short + long-term health. Preventing sun damage and great, natural sunscreen options available these days you can easily find the one that best fits your skin type. Please don’t make me nag you about this! 

Stretch before bed 

Fall asleep faster, improve blood flow, and relieve muscle tension with a few simple stretches before hitting the hay. After a day of being hunched over a computer, hauling groceries and generally pushing my body and mind to their limits, few things feel better.  

Incorporate facial rolling or gua sha into your skincare routine 

This delightful form of self-care not only feels good but also has numerous benefits. It leaves skin feeling awake, stimulates the lymphatic system, and helps with inflammation. Just a quick few minutes of me-time can set the tone for a happy, healthy day, so why not? 

Cook more 

It took me well into my adulthood to really appreciate the joys of cooking at home. Aside from the obvious health benefits (lower calorie consumption, ability to eat a healthier diet and cook with good, fresh, high-quality ingredients) it simply makes me happy! It’s time away from a screen when I can listen to music and create something nourishing + wholesome from scratch. 

Drink more water 

Did you know that even being mildly dehydrated can negatively affect the body? Make sure you’re drinking enough to get you through the day without impairment—it may be a little more than the eight glasses you’ve been hearing about. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups a day for men and 11.5 cups a day for women. 

Ride your bike to do errands  

Dropping off some mail? Picking up a few ingredients for dinner? If you can, ditch the car and hop on your bike for some chill cardio. Even just 30 minutes on a bike can help to build endurance and strengthen your heart. It’s also a great way to clear your mind and enjoy being outdoors. 

Eat a few plant based meals each week 

While being vegan/vegetarian doesn’t interest everyone, just eating a few plant-based meals when possible can make a big difference to one’s overall health. Many doctors now recommend plant-based diets to their patients- and not just those with high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Plant based foods are full of fiber, rich in key minerals, and vitamins that our bodies crave and need, plus it’s delicious! 

Make your bed

It might be a small accomplishment, but making the bed sets the tone for the entire day. Perhaps no one has extolled this virtue better than Naval Admiral William McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations. In a commencement speech at UT Austin, he shared; “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and encourage you to do another task and another and another….By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.” 

Reduce alcohol consumption 

Whether you’re looking to redefine your relationship with alcohol, are looking for help quitting, or just want to drink mindfully, cutting back is almost always a good idea. Reducing alcohol intake can lead to better sleep, increased mental clarity, weight loss, and lower the risk of heart and liver disease, cancer, and stroke. 

Don’t forget to floss 

Did you know that flossing helps heart health? If you’re not an everyday flosser, commit to a month of mindful flossing before bed. Once you create a healthy daily habit you won’t be able to imagine skipping it. 

Swap sugary desserts for fresh fruit 

Listen, sometimes you just need a cookie or a piece of cake, and since life is long and hard you should definitely have it. But if you have been in a habit of eating sweet treats for dessert then it may be time to start mixing it up with a bit of fresh fruit. You get that palate-cleansing burst of sweetness that we all need after a savory meal.

Get enough sleep 

We all know that awful feeling when we’re sleep-deprived. It’s hard to focus, our bodies feel depleted, and our moods suffer greatly. But did you know that a lack of proper sleep can lead to weight gain, reduce productivity and leave you at an increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Prioritizing your sleep is an absolute must. 

Meditate If you’ve been trying to find a sure-fire way to help reduce stress and anxiety, quiet a buzzing mind, or simply want to go deeper within, then may I suggest giving meditation a whirl? I know…. you’ve heard this a million times before, (and as a longtime meditation skeptic I really do hate to admit this) but it does make a huge positive impact on one’s general well-being. 

Limit processed foods 

Sometimes its unavoidable. But whenever possible, eating fresh, wholesome food makes a big difference for our general health. (And it’s delicious!). Processed foods contain a lot of hidden sodium, fats, and sugar that can throw your body out of whack. Your body will thank you.