Health and wellness. These are two big buzzwords you hear all the time going into 2020. The health and wellness concept speaks to keeping both your body and mind in top condition by taking care of yourself in the best ways possible. It is more than a state of being though. Working on your health and wellness is a constant practice where you need to strive every day to do the right things for yourself. It isn’t easy either. It takes thought, discipline, and planning. That is why health and wellness is not just a concept; it is a lifestyle. As we wind down 2019 and head into the 2020s, improving your health and wellness may be something you are resolving to do. To help with that journey, here are 8 “dos” and “don’ts” to help you achieve this healthier lifestyle.
DO eat well.
One of the first steps to developing a health and wellness lifestyle is through eating well. Changing your diet for the better is something almost everyone should and can do. Whether this means making small tweaks and cutting down on food vices or making wholesale changes to improve a poor diet, eating better is a good thing for everyone. Being more thoughtful about what you put into your body is not just good for you physically either. When you commit to a healthier diet, there are several added benefits for your mental state as well. Eating healthy will give you more energy and contribute to better moods. A wholesome diet will also improve memory, concentration, and overall brain health.
Tip: The best way of eating healthy is to eat foods that are the closest to their natural state as possible. That is where you will find the most nutrients and health benefits. The ingredients in packaged or processed food are obviously far away from their natural state, so it is best to cut down on or avoid these foods. Eating things like fruits, vegetables, and nuts as close to raw as possible will allow you to get the most out of your food.
DON’T yo-yo diet
The truth is, changing your diet is hard and, especially in the short term, there is a good chance you will not always succeed. That is ok. What is not ok is to get into a cycle of yo-yo dieting. This is when you go through intense periods of harsh, overly-restrictive dieting followed by periods of binging or eating in a very unhealthy way. Dieting on a rollercoaster like this will not only frustrate and discourage you but it can also lead to long-term weight gain and muscle loss as well as increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes among other things.
Tip: Do everything in moderation. This does not just apply to the bad stuff; it applies to the good stuff too. Making small changes and building on them when they are successful is a much better way to change your eating habits than large scale changes that will be difficult to stick to.
DO take care of your outside.
What you put in your body is so important for health and wellness but so is what you put on the outside of your body. We do things to take care of the organs inside of our bodies but we shouldn’t neglect the biggest organ, on the outside of our bodies, our skin. Skincare is just as important as anything else you do to your body and, as such, you should be just as thoughtful about what you put on your body as in it. You want to find skincare products that are made from premium, natural ingredients and that do not contain harsh and harmful chemicals. Using products with cheap, synthetic ingredients is just as harmful as eating garbage or indulging in bad habits like drinking too much alcohol or smoking.
Tip: Create a holistic skincare regimen to take care of your entire body from head to toe. This will help the outside of your body be as healthy as the inside. Using natural skin care products like shower bars, face gel, and even things like beard oil, if it applies, will help you look and feel (and smell!) your best.
DON’T use products with carcinogens.
While it is mentioned above that you do not want to use skincare products with cheap, synthetic ingredients, it is worth going even further to drive this point home. This is because not only can those types of products be generally bad for you, they can truly damage your health. This will happen if they contain ingredients that are deemed carcinogenic. A surprising amount of cheaper skincare products contain ingredients that are widely believed to cause cancer when used regularly and over a long period of time. Ingredients like BHA, DEA, and DBP (just to name a few) can be very harmful and are found in quite a few products.
Tip: There are three simple steps to avoiding carcinogens in your skincare products. First, do some research on what the ingredients are. Knowledge of these ingredients is power and you need to make sure you know what to look for and what risks come with each ingredient. Second, you need to read the labels. The longer the ingredient list is, the better chance a not-so-great chemical is in there. Finally, to cut out these ingredients entirely, look for natural skincare products that never use carcinogenic ingredients like the ones made by Edenkist.
DO drink more water
Keeping your body hydrated is a key to health. Health professionals recommend that the average person should be drinking around 64 oz of water every day. However, in a 2018 survey, a whopping 77% of respondents said they are frequently not drinking enough water. This is problematic because even suffering from mild dehydration can have a negative influence on your productivity, energy levels, and alertness. Water also helps your muscles and kidneys function better, your skin looks better, and can even help you lose weight.
Tip: To help yourself drink more water, you can get a big, 64 oz water bottle to carry with you so you know how much you drink. You can add some fresh fruits or vegetables, like strawberries or cucumbers, to improve the taste If you are not a fan. You can even drink a full glass of water before every meal. This will not only remind you to drink but will also help you eat less and process calories faster.
DON’T keep up bad habits
Committing to a health and wellness lifestyle will make you feel good and give you a sense of pride and accomplishment. This is great! What is not great is letting these good feelings and positive changes act as an excuse for you to perpetuate negative habits. It is ok to treat yourself for a job well done but rewarding yourself for being healthier by overeating, drinking alcohol to excess or smoking will not only perpetuate bad habits but also negate all the good you are doing for your mind and body long term.
Tip: Instead of rewarding a good decision with a bad one, do the opposite. Create rewards for yourself that are good for you. Find “good” ways to treat yourself when you avoid a vice, such as giving yourself an extra health snack or buying yourself a great, all-natural skincare gift set you have had your eye on.
Making changes to what you put in and on your body is a great place to start living a health and wellness lifestyle but the next step is to get up and get moving. Exercise is a key piece to this lifestyle. This may mean changing your exercise routine to better target the areas of your health and wellness that need help. It may mean committing to turning your occasional exercise routine into a more regular one. It may even mean getting off the couch and starting an exercise program from square one. No matter where you are with your current physical fitness, exercising more or more thoughtfully will be good for your physical and mental health and wellness.
Tip: You do not have to go it alone as you try to improve your exercise routine. Getting a friend to join you is great for so many reasons. It will help with motivation, accountability, and setting and achieving fitness goals. It will also be good for your overall health and wellness because it adds a much-needed social aspect to your workout as well. Get a friend, family member, or partner to join you on your fitness journey and it will become much easier.
DON’T sit so much
Even if you cannot commit to a new gym membership or a regular fitness routine, you still can help both your body and mind become fitter by committing to NOT doing something instead. There is a saying nowadays that says, “sitting is the new smoking”. This is because as our jobs and personal lives become less and less physical, we end up sitting a lot more than is healthy. Right now, the average American is sitting around 10 hours per day. This more sedentary lifestyle leads to an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers, such as breast and colon cancer.
Tip: Experts recommend for every half hour you have to sit, spend 20 sitting, 8 standing and at least 2 walking around. This will help mitigate the health risks of long periods of sitting. This will cut down the risks associated with sitting dramatically.
Remember, health and wellness is a journey, a lifestyle, and cannot be achieved overnight. By trying to follow these few dos and doing your best to avoid the don’ts, you will be well on your way to living a health and wellness lifestyle in 2020 and beyond.