Between your relationships with family and friends, your job or community groups, maintaining your home and countless other obligations, it can be hard to make having a healthier lifestyle a priority. But here’s the good news: you don’t need to spend a ton of money or overhaul your lifestyle to make significant improvements to your health and well-being. Sounds crazy, right? But it’s true!
To prove it, we wanted to share these seven hacks you can do today that can give your physical and mental well-being a big boost.
Make your exercise gear more accessible
For those of us who have a harder time getting motivated to exercise, something like changing into workout gear or getting to your equipment can easily become a barrier to getting started. A simple solution is to change your habitat to help change your habits. One easy way to do this is to gather your exercise clothes the night before and lay them out where you normally change. Also, rethink how exercise is incorporated in your home: equipment that is hard to get to will probably not get used. Consider where you enjoy spending your time at home and how exercise can fit in!
High-five your phone
No, really! Most of us hold our phones eight inches from our faces, which can cause our eyes to strain harder to read the text. Try holding your screen 16-18 inches from you instead—high-five your screen as a rough guide. If you are having a hard time seeing the text, adjust the font size in your screen settings. Another eye-saving tip: Turn on your phone’s blue light filter to protect your eyes against digital eye strain.
Tidy up the accounts you follow on social media
Social media isn’t a mindless activity. It is a meaningful one that, like a human relationship, can have a big influence over our well-being. And like any relationship, it is important to check in with how the accounts you follow are making you feel. So, look through your follows and assess: Does the account bring you joy, enrichment or value? Or does their content annoy you or make you upset? By muting accounts, turning off notifications or unfollowing altogether, you’ll have much more control over your social media experience.
Make a grocery list before you shop
This might sound obvious, but making a list isn’t something we always think about! And when we go into a store without a plan (or worse, when we’re hungry), we tend to add things to our carts on impulse. Having a list not only helps us save money, but also eliminates the risk of buying duplicates of an item you already have. (Shoutout to those with five bags of shredded cheese in their fridge—we’ve been there.)
Plan ahead for produce
Speaking of saving money on groceries, let’s have a real talk about produce. Buying a head of kale or a bag of carrots is a great first step in eating healthier, but if you don’t have a plan for them, they could end up becoming food waste, which accounts for 30-40 percent of the food supply here in America. If you find yourself struggling to use produce before it expires, think about what you want to do with it first. For example, that kale can be cooked down in pasta or carrots can double as a roasted side dish or a vessel for hummus. Bonus: buying in-season produce offers even more health benefits!
Call a friend
As humans, we are wired to be social creatures. From the communities we are born into to the ones we join throughout our lives, even the most introverted among us crave social contact from time to time. And the science backs this up: research shows social connections reduce our levels of stress and improve feelings of belonging and self-confidence. So, pick up the phone and bring on the good vibes! Or, if you’re not a phone person, you can also shoot over a message via text or set up a video chat for the same effect.
The bottom line: Healthy doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, with just a little planning and creative thinking, you can give your health and well-being a huge boost.