There are sooo many versions of a wellness lifestyle out there that we can often get caught up and a little confused and lost amongst it all – “Don’t do this… Eat this…. Avoid that… etc.” It’s fantastic that there’s an abundance of information out there that we can tap into whenever we want, however, with all the free information out there, it can be challenging to navigate through the unnecessary, invalid advice, to find the golden nuggets amongst it all.
Your most expensive advice is the free advice you receive from financially struggling friends and relatives. ~ Robert Kiyosaki
Robert perfectly sums up the downside of taking free advice from friends and family in the fact that we often take on the advice of others given to us who actually haven’t achieved the results we’re looking for. So in terms of health, we might take on the advice and opinions of others who actually haven’t achieved the health results we desire like a fit, athletically toned body, clear glowing skin, huge amounts of energy and vitality, etc. Instead, we unquestioningly take on the advice given to us (sometimes when we haven’t even asked for it) without questioning it’s validity.
So, to begin with I thought share what a wellness lifestyle isn’t.
What a Healthy Lifestyle is Not
If you’re looking to make truly lasting changes to your health, they must be a complete lifestyle change, not just a diet. Diets rely mainly on willpower, and bring with them a deprivation mentality (as we often think the whole time we’re on a diet, “Oh can’t have this. Mustn’t eat that. Oh how I want that so bad, but it’ll undo all my hard work, etc.”) which sets many people up for failure.
The Wellness Lifestyle isn’t about following a temporary diet to lose weight, but is more of a true commitment to changing your overall health through focusing on nourishing and strengthening (rather than depriving) your body from the inside out.
For me, I don’t follow any one diet specifically, for example Paleo, Primal, Keto, etc. but rather incorporate many of the beneficial aspects of many different lifestyle diets into my “Wellness Lifestyle” as there are many valuable resources in all of these areas.
Healthier Lifestyle Changes
I believe it all starts with food – what you put into your body on a daily basis is predominantly what you will get out of it (in terms of energy and things). It’s the single most important thing you can do for your health. Like the saying goes, “It’s 80% nutrition, and 20% exercise.”
1. Eat More Nutrient-Rich Foods
Now, for me I’m vegan, so my diet mainly consists of fruits and veggies. However, I’ve also been gluten-free by choice for many years now due to the research I discovered about consuming too many grains (particularly grains high in gluten, like wheat).
It’s a well-known fact that if a person wants to be healthier, they must eat healthier foods. We’re all aware of this, but the part that gets confusing is there are so many opinions on what classifies as a healthy food? Rather than thinking of a food as being “bad” and trying to avoid it like the plague, turn your focus onto the nourishing and healthy aspects of real, wholefoods and the many fun ways you can incorporate them into your diet. One of my favourite recipe books I use to include more greens into my diet is by Pete Evans, and it’s called “Eat Your Greens.”
Removing grains and sugar (especially refined sugars) from your diet and consuming more healthy fats is another great recommendation. Instead of directing your focus on how you aren’t eating your favourite foods like pizza, chips, doughnuts, sandwiches, ice-cream (or whatever your favourites are), turn instead to simply just trying to add more healthy foods into your diet. Strive to add more veggies and healthy fats into your daily meal plans, and focus on the nourishing aspect of food, and the wondrous things it does for your body, rather than the short-term pleasure unhealthy food brings.
If you’re overweight, or have health issues like autoimmune problems or diabetes, a more strict version may be helpful for a short time. Consider removing grains, dairy, sugar, nightshades (eggplant, tomato, peppers, potatoes, etc.), nuts, and eggs for 30 days or so, and then reintroduce them back into your diet slowly to gauge your reaction.
2. Smart Supplementation
There are hundreds of different supplements out there to choose from, and just as many opinions on which ones you should use. For the most part, it is best to get your vitamins and minerals from foods, though this isn’t always possible due to our depleted soil, food quality, and other factors.
The main supplements I take include magnesium, probiotics, vitamin C, zinc, iron, and B12 (as this nutrient comes from consuming animal products, so I don’t receive it in my normal diet).
3. Getting Adequate Sleep
Sleep is something we tend to slack out on these days, what with our busy lifestyles and all. However, it’s one of the most important factors for maintaining good health. It is recommended that 6-8 hours is enough, but for some (like me) who require more sleep, that number looks more like 8-10. Gauge what’s enough for you and ensure you’re giving yourself enough time to rest and recuperate for the day ahead.
But the quality of sleep you get also matters. While you rest, your body goes through different stages of the sleep cycle. Deep sleep is the stage of sleep you need to feel refreshed when you wake up in the morning.
Here are some tips to help you sleep better (and more deeply):
- Follow a bedtime schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
- Get plenty of exercise. About 30 minutes each day is a good start, just avoid working out in the hours before bedtime.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks before bed. Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine make it harder to get a good nights’ rest.
- Create a bedtime routine to unwind from the day, like reading a book or taking a bath (these are some wonderful relaxing bath options I use)
- Remove bright lights and loud noises from your bedroom. Too much TV or computer time may make it difficult to settle your mind down and relax. I leave my phone to charge in the kitchen, way away from my bedroom and use an alarm clock as my alarm, rather than my phone.
- Instead of laying in bed, tossing and turning, consider getting up and doing a light activity, like reading, until you’re tired again.
- If your mind is racing with thoughts that you can’t get out of your head and are causing you stress, right them down onto paper, you’ll be amazed at how the simple act of writing down your thoughts on paper will help to relax and calm you down.
- Consider replacing your pillows if you’ve had them for over a year and have trouble getting comfortable.
- Increasing magnesium levels through food or supplementation can help improve sleep too. Many people notice improved sleep from increasing their magnesium levels, as magnesium plays an important role in regulating hormones, including sleep hormones.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
We are so blessed to have access to clean, drinkable water, yet many of us don’t drink enough of it. Start the day off with a glass of water (you can even add a bit of lemon in it), or herbal tea, or even drink a cup or more of water between meals. For those who don’t regularly drink enough water, this act alone may improve sleep and energy levels, and may also help to get rid of headaches.
5. Improve Oral Health
There are many nerves and blood vessels that run from the mouth and other parts of the body so infection in the mouth can contribute to problems that arise in other parts of the body too.
Certain supplements and lifestyle changes can help support good oral health, and using natural, homemade products can help to strengthen teeth. I enjoy making my own homemade toothpaste.
6. Clean Without Toxic Chemicals
Household cleaners and detergents are huge sources of chemical exposure for many, and this can be a detrimental problem, especially for children. By making your own cleaners, you can avoid these harmful chemicals and save money (bonus!). Here are some recipes for natural cleaners as well as healthy living ideas.
7. Get Outside
Spend some time in the sun! Not all sun exposure is harmful. In fact, despite the high use of sunscreen, skin cancer rates have continued to rise.
When we’re in the sun without sunscreen on, our body naturally makes Vitamin D, which helps to protect against many other types of cancers. Even using a low SPF sunscreen can prevent this process from happening. Instead of lathering on the sunscreen, we should consider getting sun exposure wisely.
Exercise is very important, but a healthy physique is made in the kitchen, not at the gym. Despite contrary belief, you can’t out-exercise a poor diet, as health issues eventually catch up with you and exercising isn’t an excuse to then go and eat junk food.
Cardio forms of exercise are generally encouraged for weight loss, but there are other types of exercise, like weights and high intensity interval training (HIIT), which are better for weight loss, muscle growth, and physique (plus it doesn’t make women look “bulky” if that’s something you were concerned about).
9. Make Your Own Beauty Products
Beauty products are another major source of chemical exposure for many people. There are so many homemade alternatives that you can make for almost every product that are much healthier on the body, work just as well and can be so much cheaper! Here are some of the recipes I use for making my own beauty products.
10. Reduce Stress
Stress has a big impact on the body as it disrupts normal hormone production and can affect things like sleep quality, blood sugar levels, and an array of other functions. Often, a diet, lifestyle changes and supplements that will support the body are needed to help reduce stress, along with deep breathing exercises and forms of meditation.
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle, or trying or using any new products.
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Have you already implemented any of these changes into your lifestyle? Which ones are you going to incorporate in the future? Share in the comments below!
Wells, Katie. (January 8, 2019). The Wellness Lifestyle: 10 Small Changes With a Big Impact. Wellness Mama. Retrieved from https://wellnessmama.com/707/wellness-lifestyle/
Marcin, Ashley. (July 26, 2018). What Is Deep Sleep and Why Is It Important?. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/deep-sleep