Did you know that the vast majority of Americans are considered unhealthy? According to The Atlantic, “Less than 3 percent of Americans meet the basic qualifications for a ‘healthy lifestyle’” [source]. The consensus is we don’t exercise enough, eat right, or sleep well. We are addicted to our devices and mismanage our money. 

In short, we don’t take care of ourselves. Consequently, our health suffers, our bank accounts dwindle, and our attitudes suffer. But, the story doesn’t have to end there. If you relate to any of these things (and who doesn’t?), read on to discover five ways to start taking better care of yourself today. 

1. Get Outside and Move Your Body

A study by the Mayo Clinic revealed a healthy lifestyle should include “moderate or vigorous exercise for at least 150 minutes a week” [source]. Are you getting at least 150 minutes of exercise a week? Sadly, fewer than half of adults meet this recommendation. If you are not meeting the requirement, are you really taking care of yourself?

There is a clear connection between how much you exercise and your overall health. Regular physical activity helps prevent and manage diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and several cancers, according to the World Health Organization [source]. It also helps prevent high blood pressure, maintain body weight, and can improve mental health, quality of life, and well-being. Pretty good, right?

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2. Get Enough Sleep

In addition to not exercising enough, many people also struggle with not getting enough sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, “35.2% of all adults in the U.S. report sleeping on average for less than seven hours per night” [source]. 

Not getting enough sleep is bad for your overall health. It can lead to higher stress levels, unhealthy food choices, and less motivation to get out and exercise. If you struggle to get enough sleep, try the following suggestions:

  • Get a better mattress, such as the ZINUS 12 Inch Green Tea Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress. The Sleep Foundation reports, “93% of people say that a comfortable mattress is important to being able to get quality sleep” [source].
  • Go to bed at the same time every night.
  • Don’t eat or drink right before bed.
  • Avoid artificial light before bed.
  • Get enough exercise during the day.
  • Listen to a yoga nidra on a free mediation app.

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3. Pay It Forward

If you want to better yourself, start thinking about bettering the world around you. Multiple studies have found that paying it forward, or doing something kind for someone else, is really good for you. Studies have shown that helping others releases endorphins, which make you feel happier. And, if Legally Blonde taught us anything, it was “Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t.”

When many people hear “pay it forward,” they immediately think of money. Sure, you can pay it forward by paying for someone else’s coffee in the drive-thru, but you can also pay it forward by giving your time, energy, or words. Until you have space in your budget to pay it forward financially, there are plenty of other ways to uplift those around you, like volunteering at a soup kitchen, food bank, or animal shelter, donating clothes to a women’s shelter, or giving blood.

4. Eat Healthy Foods and Drink More Water

Experts recommend we should drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day and eat a diet packed with healthy fruits and vegetables. Water keeps your body functioning the way it should because it distributes nutrients and oxygen to cells; gets rid of bacteria from the bladder, helps digestion, and can stabilize your heartbeat. If you aren’t drinking enough water, consider using the HydroMATE Half Gallon Water Bottle. This water bottle has motivational sayings and times to encourage you to keep chugging water all day long. 

Fresh fruits and vegetables add vitamins and minerals to your diet, which can lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Non-starchy varieties can even help with weight loss. Spend some time in the produce section, and you will discover a wide variety of flavors, colors, and textures. And, when you start buying more fruits and vegetables, use specially designed containers to help keep them fresher longer.

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5. Unplug and Experience Mindfulness

Are your best friends’ names Siri and Alexa? If so, we need to talk. While there are many perks to cell phones and devices connected to the internet, staying connected is hurting us. We sit longer and stare at screens, and we waste a lot of time on social media when we just wanted to check our email. Look at the following statistics from Tech Jury [source]:

  • The average smartphone owner unlocks their phone 150 times a day.
  • Using smartphones for longer intervals of time changes brain chemistry.
  • 66% of the world’s population shows signs of nomophobia.
  • 71% usually sleep with or next to their mobile phone.
  • Smartphone use and depression are correlated.
  • 75% of Americans use their mobile phones in the toilet.

For many people, taking better care of themselves begins with unplugging from their smartphones. Try unplugging and practicing mindfulness. Find a space to sit in silence, away from your phone and other distractions. Pay attention to your breathing as you inhale and exhale. Notice how your body responds to the quietness and breathing. You can expect your mind to wander, and that is OK, but refocus your attention and be aware of what’s happening with you.

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