The first topic of conversation when we meet new people is often “what do you do?”. One of the first things I tend to hear once I tell people I’m a health coach is that they just don’t know where to start.
The word health is going to mean something different to everyone. It’s one of those things that doesn’t really come as a one size fits all package. Yes, there are always going to be things that are healthy, and things that are not. And it’s always great for you to fall somewhere in-between – preferably more towards the former. But you can’t always just take one full approach or lifestyle and try and make it work for you. Instead, you need to work on a much more smaller scale. When you actively try to make a change, and just enjoy tweaking your health by making more beneficial lifestyle choices, you’ll find great benefits. But, is it really that easy?
In short, yes. But it also does depend on how badly you want to help your health. Sometimes, you will find certain things hard. And that’s only natural. But what you’ve got to do instead, is switch out the swaps that you’re struggling to make for ones that you find much easier. Because if this is going to work, you have to be able to stick to it. If you’re struggling all of the time and falling at the first few hurdles, you won’t be helping your health.
At this point, you probably also want to know exactly what it is that you need to do to be able to help your health in the first place, right? So here are ten simple steps to improve your health. None need to be perfect, none need to be done in any particular order. And I’m not doing any of them perfectly! But doing a little better at any of these will be a great step in the right direction.
- Switch Off In The Evenings
As much as you may be expecting most of these swaps to all about healthier food and less harmful approaches to life, they’re actually going to be much easier (and nicer to you) than that. Like this first step, which is to start switching off more in the evenings. When you’re really active all day, and your mind is racing all evening, you’re really going to struggle to sleep. But when you can turn your brain off, relax, and just enjoy your evening, it’s going to help you get a better quality of sleep, which will then really boost your health levels. I’m pretty bad at this, but I know I get better sleep when I put my phone down and pick up my book.
- Get To Bed A Bit Earlier
You might be wondering just why sleep matters. It’s because our bodies heal and recharge when we sleep. It’s often why you wake up feeling energized and well-rested after a good night’s sleep. So this is what you now need to aim for. To do this, you need to start going to bed a bit earlier, and at the same time each night. By aiming to get to sleep around 10-11ish and then sleeping through, you’ll be kickstarting your body for the next day. Being overtired can make you crave sugary carbs so getting a good night’s sleep is a great way to help your diet.
- Get Up At The Same Time Each Day
Next, you’re going to want to think about creating a regular sleep pattern. Now that you’re going to bed earlier (and at the same time each day), you may also want to think about getting up earlier too. By getting up at the same time each day, you should find that you feel more energized and productive in the day. I know, I know, this one is hard for me too. I love sleeping in on weekends! But when I’m getting a good night’s sleep regularly I find that my body naturally gets up around the same time every day.
- Make The Most Of Your Mornings
Now that you’re up and energized, it’s time to make the most of your mornings. Don’t snooze the alarm, don’t drag yourself out of bed in a rush to get ready. Instead, pop some music on, make a coffee, and feel great. Now is where you can start to put your health first and really work on your this morning. So you’re going to want to eat well and maybe even get a workout in! Long time readers will know how much I need my quiet morning time! I get up at least 5 minutes before the rest of the house so I can have a quiet cup of coffee. I’m a much better mom when I’ve woken up slowly than when I’m trying to get Girlie ready at the same time as I’m trying to wake up.
- Focus On Fitness
Then, you’re going to want to make sure that you rekindle (or find) your love of fitness. Join a gym like Club Fitness that you not only feel comfortable in, but that has a range of services too. If you don’t like the gym, take a class. Scheduling something for the morning is a great way to kick-start your day and your metabolism in one. While I am more of an afternoon or evening workout person I do like to get moving with a morning walk. Once I got Spenser into the habit of our morning walks he now definitely lets me know if I’ve skipped more than a day or two!
- Prioritize Nutrition
From here, you then need to think about nutrition. Note, that doesn’t say ‘go on a diet’. (Come on guys, this is me here!) The word diet can often make you feel restricted, and you’ll be less likely to stick to it. Instead, if you make sure that you’re getting the right vitamins and nutrients by adding more fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains to your diet, you’ll be doing right by your body. Eat some real food.
- Drink More Water
Water is the key to your health. It really truly is. Water is the key to life. It gives you energy, it helps with digestion, it plumps up your skin, and it also makes you feel fuller for longer. So yes, you’re going to want to increase your water intake for sure. I aim for about one half to one ounce of water per pound of body weight but if you aren’t anywhere near there, build up slowly! I know a lot of fitness programs push drinking a gallon of water per day regardless of weight. If you don’t like drinking water try adding lemon or other citrus slices and getting a cool new water bottle.
- Avoid Stress
If you’re letting yourself get too stressed too often, it’s going to really take it out on your health – mentally and physically. So if there is only one thing that you take away from this list, let it be this one. Learn to detach yourself and stay away from stress if you want to feel happier and healthier in yourself. I know this is hard! I try to remind myself and others that today has enough trouble in it, don’t borrow any from tomorrow. Yes, there are things we need to do and think about to prepare for the future but stressing unnecessarily will just ruin today.
- Reduce Your Sugar Intake
We all love sugar, because it makes everything taste so great. But you know that it’s not great for you. So it’s time to try and reduce your sugar intake. Don’t add unnecessary sugar to food. While in some ways sugar is sugar is sugar, I find that using different types can result in different amounts. For example, I find brown sugar sweeter than white so I’ll replace the sugar in most cookie recipes with brown sugar and cut the amount to about 3/4 of the original. I recently started experimenting with stevia, since I do avoid most noncaloric sweeteners. Generally, cutting back is the way to go here. Most sugary foods are sadly not very nutrient dense so eating more nutrient dense “real food” and less sugary “junk food” is the way to go. Yep, I just gave you the exact same health advice as your grandma. In this, Grandma was right.
- Focus On You
Finally, you then need to start prioritizing yourself. This isn’t something that many of us find easy, because it’s only natural to think about those closest to us. Especially for us moms! But instead of putting all your efforts and energy into others, it’s time to focus on you. Think about how you want to feel and what kind of health levels you want, and go from there. I found that for a long time the only way I was able to really prioritize myself was to think about the example I was setting for my daughter. Would I want Girlie to be an unhealthy martyr, trying to pour from an empty cup? Or would I want her to be living a fulfilled life, prioritizing herself as well as her family? Easy answer.
There you have it. 10 Simple Steps to Improve Your Health. None were painful, no restrictive diets or crazy workouts. To paraphrase; chill out at night, get more sleep, get up in the morning and do something positive to start your day, move your body more, eat more real food and less junk food, drink more water, stress less, and take care of you.
Which of these tips seems easiest for you? Most difficult?
This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links. All opinions are, as always, my own. I am not a medical professional and the information provided in this post is not to be considered medical advice.