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Smart and Simple Habits for Staying Happy and Healthy

Smart and Simple Habits for Staying Happy and Healthy

Guest post by Jennifer Mcgregor

Do you feel tired, hurried, and worn out more often than not?  In our bustling culture, it’s a vibe most of us can relate to. Thankfully, some of the best habits can be an easy addition to your lifestyle, refreshing your perspective and energizing your days.  If you’re looking for ways to be healthier without complicating your life, we’ve got you covered!

Boost your body and brain

Some may not be familiar with the term “microbiome,” but it is crucial to learn about it.  Basically, your gut is a hub for both good and bad bacteria that make up your microbiome, and when they’re balanced properly, you’re setting yourself up for improved physical and mental health.  A slew of factors determines your gut health, from the foods you eat to the air quality. And because there’s a connection between your gut and other areas of your body, like your digestive system, immune system, and mood levels, you really should focus on achieving a balanced microbiome.

How, you ask?  A healthy diet rich in probiotics and prebiotics can influence your gut to digest food better.  Fuel your body with sauerkraut, bananas, yogurt, onions, and other foods that fall under these categories.   Stay away from processed foods and sugar, as these are detrimental to gut health and can contribute to weight gain.  You should also take a good daily multivitamin to help boost your immune system, and make other healthy lifestyle changes, including the ones below.

Pare down your piles

Have you jumped on the decluttering bandwagon yet?  If not, there are lots of healthy reasons to! You’re probably aware of all the dust which clutter seems to harbor, and some experts feel the dust itself can damage your health.  It can lead to allergy and asthma troubles, not to mention it makes it hard to clean, so bacteria and viruses can hide more easily amongst your belongings.  Psychologically, clutter can trigger a whole host of negative emotions.  When you see clutter, it can remind you of incomplete projects, unpleasant obligations, and poorly spent money.  As a result, excess belongings can raise stress levels and make you feel defeated.  

If it’s time to cut clutter, give yourself a head start by hiring a professional to deep clean your home.  It’ll feel better not facing all those dust bunnies, and you’ll know a chunk of your work is already behind you.  Then, find a decluttering method that works for your personality and lifestyle, and do just a little at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.  Before you know it, your home will be tidy and organized, and you’ll feel great!

Refresh your rhythms

One of the casualties of our crazy-busy lifestyles is sleep.  In fact, some studies indicate about a quarter of Americans develop insomnia each year, and up to 10% experience chronic insomnia.  Doing without enough sleep can lead to serious health consequences, potentially contributing to stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.  Mentally, insomnia appears to be linked with anxiety, depression, irritability, and apathy.  

Getting better sleep can be a simple process.  We spend less time in the great outdoors than previous generations, and as a result, our health is taking a hit.  According to Verywell Health, most of us aren’t getting enough sunlight these days, and that can disrupt our circadian rhythms.  In some manner, every cell in our bodies responds to sunlight, and that helps our bodies know when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to be on the go.  On the flip side, when we don’t get enough sunlight, our bodies miss that guiding influence. With all that in mind, make it a point to get outside every day and take in some sunshine!  Try going for a stroll each morning before work, or eat lunch at a picnic table in a park. You’ll be catching more Zs in no time!

Gather near greenery

While you’re taking in sunshine, plan to take in some plant life as well.  It turns out spending time in greenspaces can be really good for you, potentially lowering your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels, and reducing your risk for anxiety and depression.  There is even evidence that trees are releasing antibacterial compounds that improve our bodily defenses. Time in nature might even lengthen your life! Plan to visit a local park, go for a hike, or pack a picnic.  

If you can’t get outside often enough, consider bringing some greenery to you.  As NBC News explains, house plants offer a number of health-boosting properties, cleaning the air you breathe, settling your nerves, and boosting concentration and productivity.  Make sure you pick plants that will thrive with the amount of sunlight and care you can provide, and soon, you’ll breathe fresher, cleaner air in your own home, and feel healthier and more relaxed. There is a huge variety of indoor plants available, and many can be purchased for under $10.

Finding ways to be healthier sometimes sounds more complicated than it really is.  Keep your gut happy, declutter your home, spend time in the sun, and decorate with a few plants.  You’ll be happier and healthier with these smart, simple lifestyle changes!

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Did you enjoy this article by Jennifer Mcgregor? I am always looking for ways to increase my energy. This week my focus is on getting 7 hours of sleep every single night and implementing an official shut down time of 9PM on weekdays. Is there a wellness focus you’d like to share for this week? I would love to hear more from you.

A big thank you to Jennifer, my first guest blogger to date. If you would like to find out more about her, please visit her site: PublicHealthLibrary.org