32 Ways to Feel Healthier and Happier, No Matter What the Day Brings
Remembering to take care of yourself can often be the last thing on anyone's to-do list. Whether you've worn the same sweatpants three days in a row or can't help but get an anxious feeling whenever you go to unlock your phone, you might not be feeling yourself these days, and that's OK.
According to a recent study from the American Psychiatric Association, 36 percent of Americans believe the pandemic has taken a significant toll on their mental health, while 59 percent say that COVID-19 is affecting their daily lives. Feeling stressed and anxious is not uncommon, now more than ever, but there are ways to combat all the negativity. If you're not feeling like your healthiest, happiest self, making big changes can feel like an intimidating challenge, but it doesn't take any drastic measures to feel better in your own skin. To work toward a happier life and establish healthier habits, these are some small things you can do that will make a real difference.
Take a Social Media Break
If your notifications are giving you anxiety, go to your phone settings to create social media time limits and reminders. If that's still not enough, do a social media cleanse and try going off the grid for a few days.
Experts agree that one of the best ways to become a happier person is to express gratitude. To do this, start a gratitude journal where you write down what you're thankful for each day or give thanks vocally.
Shift Your Fitness Goals
It's easy to get fixated on the scale, but finding another way to assess your progress can improve your relationship with your body. Focus on getting strong instead of skinny, and see how it affects the way you feel about yourself and your workouts.
Cook Your Own Food
Not only is this a great way to know exactly what you're putting in your body, but cooking for yourself can also be a huge stress reliever — and save you money.
Be Mindful of Negative Self-Talk
The way we talk to ourselves affects the way we think and the things we choose to believe. Be mindful when your internal monologue turns negative and try to catch yourself before engaging in defeatist self-talk.
Let Yourself Be in Awe
Research shows that incredible, awe-inspiring experiences actually have a way of improving your mood and making you feel more connected to the world around you. To have a moment like this, go stargazing or find an amazing view near you.
Go on a Road Trip
If your normal routine is driving you crazy, travel safely and go on a new adventure.
Drink More Water
Drinking water has a huge effect on your health. Here's how much water to drink each day, according to experts.
Read a New Book
Reading can provide a much-needed mental break, so be sure to check out these recommendations for books to read while you're staying at home.
Do a Restorative Flow
Restorative yoga is designed to help with stress relief and relaxation. Usually done at a slower pace with longer pauses, you can try a restorative flow here.
Volunteer Your Time
It's simple: helping other people makes you feel good. If you do decide to volunteer, just be sure to stay safe and follow CDC guidelines.
Find Workouts You Actually Enjoy
Exercise doesn't have to be something you dread. Try different activities like hiking, swimming, rock climbing, biking, or yoga, and see what you like best.
Schedule Your Next Doctor's Appointment
Part of prioritizing your health and happiness means finally booking that checkup you've been putting off. Make sure your appointments are up to date so you can ensure you're living your healthiest life possible.
Get a Good Night's Sleep
A minimum of seven hours of sleep is ideal for most adults, but if you still aren't feeling yourself, it could be your body's way of telling you it needs more rest.
Listen to Some Calming Music
Music has a way of helping people de-stress, so play some of your favorites or cue up one of these calming playlists.
Talk to a Friend
Living in a pandemic means a lot of alone time, but calling up a friend and talking about your day can help.
Go For a Morning Walk
Start your day on the right foot and go on an early-morning walk to get the endorphins flowing.
Follow a Guided Meditation
Meditation is an effective way to reduce anxiety and increase mindfulness. Use these guided meditation videos to engage in some relaxing self-reflection.
Limit Processed Food
Not all processed food is bad, but products that are high in processed carbohydrates can spike your blood sugar and leave you feeling unsatisfied.
Clean Your Favorite Space
The spaces we inhabit have a very real effect on how we feel, but if you don't have the time (or the desire) to tidy up the entire house, just make one of your favorite spaces a little more organized and comfortable.
Try a New Online Workout
With many gyms still closed due to the pandemic, online workouts are great a great alternative to get the blood flowing. Here are some free online workouts you can try from the comfort of your own home.
De-stress Your Commute
Keep the good energy going by making a happy playlist, grabbing a coffee, or listening to your favorite radio station on the way to work.
Spend Time With Your Pet
If you're all alone in your apartment, pets can actually help provide the social support you may be lacking. Use this as an excuse to hold your fur baby a little closer . . . for science, of course.
Sometimes, you just need a space to let loose and get creative. Even if you're not a certified artist, art-based activities like painting, expressive writing, and dance have been proven to have positive effects on mental health.
Compliment the People Around You
Making a genuine effort to uplift the people around you helps you connect and feel closer to others. Give a compliment or two and see how it makes you feel.
It's healthy to treat yourself to your favorite foods every now and then without feeling guilty about it. Especially with all of these delicious fall snacks to choose from!
Set Concrete Goals
Taking a moment to set achievable goals can help you feel more motivated and productive. Set a few of your own and track your progress to keep you on track and remind you what you're capable of.
Keep Your Sleep Schedule Consistent
A consistent sleep schedule can help create a more stable circadian rhythm, which will help you feel energized and ready to take on the day.
Remove Yourself From Toxic People
If you have people in your life who are constantly bringing you down, limit the amount of time you spend with them. Making sure your close friends are people who lift you up is a simple way to feel happier right away.
Let the Light In
To make your space even more calming, open the window and let a little natural light in. Natural light can also help combat seasonal depression in the fall and winter.
Celebrate Your Successes
Finally, to be a happier and healthier person, you need to acknowledge your hard work. Celebrating your achievements can help you become more optimistic and less stressed. The only rules? Do it immediately and often.