Not everyone has time to work out twice a day, make kale smoothies for every meal, and wake up for sunrise yoga. And not everyone wants to. But a busy schedule doesn’t have to keep you from feeling your best. These are quick, affordable, and efficient ways to improve your life without destroying your schedule.
1. Drink more water
We’ve all seen the Instagram influencers promising perfect skin and a six pack if you drink a million gallons of water a day. I can’t promise you any of that, but I can tell you about the very real benefits of hydration. Drinking on a consistent schedule will lessen fatigue, raise your metabolism, make you feel less hungry and overall make your body happier with you. After all, you’re 70% water.
The best way to stay hydrated is to keep track of your water intake. Make it into a game, or, even better, a habit. Reward yourself when you finish the bottle. Given that an adult should drink at least 64 ounces in a day, having a good water bottle to keep refilling is a great way to make sure you are drinking enough.
2. Try some yoga
You don’t have to disappear into the mountains for three weeks and come back a new enlightened version of yourself (that’s what Coachella is for) but yoga has been proven to help with anxiety, depression, stress, breathing, and sleep.
Doing a little something is better than doing nothing. There are great beginner yoga videos on YouTube, and you don’t even have to finish them. If you have fifteen minutes before you go to sleep to try a sunrise salutation or even just sit in child’s pose, that’s fifteen minutes working towards your health and quality of life.
3. Meal plan
If you want to make mason jar salads, more power to you! If, however, you want something a little less involved, pack yourself a lunch or even just remember to eat breakfast. This will do more for you than one might think.
We have a national obsession with eating carbs for breakfast- pancakes, cereal, granola. Putting a little bit of protein into your morning routine will do wonders for your energy levels throughout the day. Peanut butter is a really good way to spice up your breakfast. You can even buy it in packets to take with you on the go.
Bringing lunch with you to the office is a great way to save a few bucks each day (which adds up to quite a bit over the course of a year), and to make sure you’re getting a balanced meal. This is a great way to take control over what goes into your body.
4. Cut back on caffeine
A daily cup of coffee won’t kill you, but it can add to anxiety, irritability, and headaches. Do you have a tendency to justify late nights knowing there will be an americano awaiting you in the morning? Caffeine is a stimulant which is why it wakes you up, but it’s not a great sleep substitute.
Try switching coffee for tea and replacing an afternoon latte with some of that water that we discussed in #1. Some coffee is fine as long as you’re getting your eight hours. Cutting back on coffee, especially late in the afternoon or early in the evening, will help you sleep better naturally.
Life is stressful. Little tricks like meditating and journaling will work wonders for your mental health. You get out of the world what you put into it, so exuding confidence and positivity will make the world around you a little brighter.
There are some great (free) meditation apps, that will help you get in the mindset and guide you through the process. You could also write down one positive experience a day or spend a minute thinking about something you accomplished (even something small like doing a load of laundry) to help train your mind to focus on the positive.
My personal favorite, however, is random acts of kindness. They’re scientifically proven to make your day a little better (it has to do with our empathy neurons).
Of course, there’s no perfect fix for a stressful schedule- but these quick tips will do wonders for your happiness and state of mind.
*Over the next few months, I will dive deeper into each of these topics. Let me know in the comments if there are specific ideas you would like to hear more about.
By Kate Marin | @ikate186