Life can be all about the pursuit of happiness — finding a good job, falling in love, traveling. But what about the pursuit of health? If we were to focus on the pursuit of health, we may find that happiness becomes an inadvertent, yet desired side effect. For example, if you are in shape and eat nutritiously, you may have the confidence that attracts someone romantically. If you make work-life balance non-negotiable, you can experience less stress and better relationships at home.
Now is the time to pursue better health. Bookmark webpages like Amway Connections and Well+Good. Follow Instagram pages like @livegreenhealthy for healthy meal ideas or use DAREBEE for free online fitness programs. These types of resources can help you along on your journey, starting with these four tips.
Sugar can make you fat, as we all know, but do we really care? Here’s why we should. Sugar is the cause of many chronic diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also highly addictive, akin to taking various types of drugs. Eating that morning donut for breakfast or ice cream after dinner releases dopamine, which makes us feel pleasure. We connect that sugary item with feeling good. But as time goes on, the body requires increasing amounts of sugar because dopamine levels drop. Your sweet tooth intensifies and you can experience serious withdrawal if you try to quit. David Gillespie, author of “The Sweet Poison Quit Plan,” says the first step is to have the right attitude. You’re not “giving up” sugar or “feeling deprived.” You’re quitting a dangerous toxin to break an addition. Then you can continue to change habits associated with sugar and find non-sweet snack replacements.
Trim Your Schedule
There’s a movement you can join if you’re constantly living in physical, mental and emotional chaos every day. The “Stop the Glorification of Being Busy” movement negates the idea that we have to be stressed to feel accomplished or be successful. We’re normalizing a culture where running ourselves ragged is the norm, says Maggie Harriman of The Grind by Standford Daily. For example, five hours of sleep isn’t a badge of honor, it’s a sign of poor health. If you’re “addicted” to busyness, re-evaluate your lifestyle and give yourself some slack. Identify areas of your life where you can de-clutter and restore time to relax and experience the glorification of living.
Some of us don’t want to spend 60 minutes working out, whether our schedule doesn’t permit it or we just don’t like it. But a sedentary lifestyle is a deadly one. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) requires only 15 minutes — and it’s effective. Shape Magazine describes HIIT as a fat-blasting workout that alternates between a burst of intense activity, followed by a period of low-intensity movement or rest. It’s efficient, burns fat, boosts the metabolism and can require zero equipment. Fitness resource DAREBEE offers a no-equipment, 30-day HIIT program to lose weight, tone muscle or improve endurance.
Prioritize Your Mental Health
Optimal health isn’t just physical. Anxiety disorders, the most common mental illness in the U.S., affects 40 million American adults, according to the National Institute of Health. Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability and affects more than 15 million American adults. If you constantly put others first, you can start by taking time to focus on yourself. Self-care is not selfishness. As a parent, living your best self means you can better care for your family. You can also live with intention. Replace coming home to the couch with a hobby. It can be fitness-related like yoga, learning how to sew, cooking healthy meals or DIY’ing around the house. These are quality outlets that can provide positivity, a sense of accomplishment, relaxation and purpose.