1. Set your alarm a half hour earlier.
How many mornings have you rushed through your morning routine in a crazy whirl? Waking up an extra half hour may sound like a terrible idea, but it’ll give you a little extra breathing room in the morning to to slow down and actually get your day started on the right foot.
3. Exercise before you eat breakfast.
If you’re looking to have the most impact from your workouts, then try exercising first thing in the morning. A 2010 study found that working out in the morning when the body is still in its pre-breakfast fasting state will help you burn the most calories and fat.
4. Make your bed.
This is a total game-changer. Making your bed in the morning is a tiny thing you can do to get your day started on the right foot. It’ll give you a small sense of pride and accomplishment to help you get moving forward. Plus, there’s nothing better than coming home to crisply folded sheets and fluffy pillows. NOTHING.
6. Smile more.
Smiling has a “fake it till you make it” effect on our emotions. When you smile, the brain actually increases the levels of cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine to your nerve centers, which produces a calming, relaxing effect. It’s a free mood enhancer!
7. Attempt to brush your teeth with your nondominant hand.
If you’re left-handed, use your right hand, or vice versa. It’ll give your brain a small dose of exercise by challenging your brain to do something new. It may initially confuse your brain, but over time, you’ll build up additional neurological strength and awareness that’ll make your brain stronger overall.
11. Quit your soda addiction.
Soda is so great, right? Except that it’s linked to weight gain, diabetes, and dental problems. How bad is it? According to Dr. Christopher Ochner, assistant professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, “If everything else in their diet is equal, a person who has a can of Coke a day adds an extra 14.5 pounds per year, just from the calories alone.” As an alternative, switch to seltzer water with lemon or lime.
12. Keep your wallet out of your back pocket.
Keeping your wallet in your back pocket can potentially cause wallet sciatica or sciatic neuropathy, which can lead to pain and numbness in the lower legs and back. OW.
13. Carry a water bottle with you.
Most of us are majorly dehydrated and we don’t even know it. Carrying a water bottle helps quench your thirst and helps stave off hunger. Often when you think you’re hungry you’re actually just thirsty. So before you grab a sandwich, try drinking a glass or two of water first.
14. Pop a squat.
Sitting while pooping is a relatively modern development, which is why many advocate for squatting as a superior way of elimination. Squatting makes elimination easier and faster, protects prostate nerves, prevents straining, and for pregnant women, avoids pressure on the uterus. Read more about the benefits of squatting over sitting here.
16. Meat eater? Try a Meatless Monday.
Meatless Mondays are a great way to try out a vegetarian diet without fully committing.There are several health, financial, and environmental reasons why vegetarian and vegan diets are beneficial, and Meatless Mondays — a weekly commitment to meat-free living — are a good place to start.
17. Take a daily media break.
If you work in a job that involves spending hours in front of a screen, give your eyes and your brain at least a 20-minute break when you get home. Try something non-tech-related, like reading a book, playing a sport, or practicing an instrument. Consider it a challenge! Over time, your 20 minutes might grow into 40 minutes or an hour. And who knows? You may find yourself going the whole evening without picking up your phone or watching television.
18. Addicted to a particular website? Put a block on it.
Extensions like StayFocused (for Chrome) and Leechblock for Firefox allow you to temporarily block distracting websites and limit the time you spend on them. You can block entire sites or even specific site content, as needed. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you are!
19. Take the stairs.
Stair climbing is a great way to get a little physical exercise in without heading to the gym. By including stairs in your daily schedule, you can lose weight, strengthen your muscles, and increase your overall health. Read all about the benefits here.
22. Sleep in a completely dark room.
Light has a huge effect on our circadian rhythms and sleep cycles. Exposure to blue light — that is, light that mimics daylight to our brains — can keep us awake for longer than we want. It helps regulate the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy. If you’d like to fall asleep, you need to minimize your exposure to blue light, which means turning off your computer or television (both of which mimic natural blue light), and shut your blinds and curtains when you’re ready for bed. To read more about blue light and changing up your sleeping patterns, click here.