As much as I hate to admit it, I love a ‘new year, new me’ motto. Any excuse to create new goals and update my Pinterest boards, I’m there. For those of you who also want to start out the new year with a healthier version of yourself (however brief), this one is for you. But let’s hope it lasts past January this year. So, here are my 10 healthy living habits to improve your body and mind. And remember – make sure each goal / resolution you make is SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based).
Aim for 25 grams of fibre daily
I remember I always used to focus on how much macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fats) I was consuming – fibre never crossed my mind. But eating the right amount of both soluble and insoluble fibre (examples found in this post) is so important for gut health and the overall functioning of a healthy body. The recommended daily fibre intake for women is 25g. If you’re not used to eating a lot of fibre, it’s a good idea to start slowly to avoid digestive discomfort.
Drink one mineral rich beverage daily
Whether it’s raw milk, whole fruit juice, or coconut water, incorporating mineral-rich drinks is essential for health. When you just drink water, you can actually flush out all the beneficial minerals in your body. Having a balance of both minerals (potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium) and water is the recipe for long-lasting hydration.
Balance each meal with protein & fat
As well as fibre, protein and fat also help to balance blood sugar levels. Unstable blood glucose can lead to increased sugar cravings, poor sleep, irritability, low energy, and can wreak havoc on our hormones. Blood sugar balance is actually something I’ve learnt about more recently through a podcast episode with French biochemist Jessie Inchauspé (aka the glucose goddess). If you want to know more about this topic, she has a great Instagram page and a recipe book / glucose guide.
Create a sustainable exercise routine
Exercise is beneficial for your physical, mental, and emotional health. It also has the added bonus of improving your sleep and helping you to make healthier food choices. Note the use of the word sustainable in the heading. Exercise can (and should) be fun. Choose exercises based on what you enjoy – it’s much easier to maintain that way. Then, find a workout schedule that fits into the rest of your life. Once you make it a routine and a habit, it’s much harder to not do it.
Keep track of your menstrual cycle
I’ve been tracking my cycle for around 3 years now. It’s super easy to do and it gives me more control over my body. I know when I’m about to get my period (way less red surprises in my underwear), I know when I’m ovulating (so I can keep my legs closed), and I know when I’m in my PMS phase (and can be more aware of my irritability to try and counteract it).
All I do is take my temperature each morning, as soon as I wake up, with a basal body thermometer, and chart it. I use the app Kindara because it’s free and works really well. You can also track cervical mucous and symptoms if you wish. Do some research on how to properly read and understand your own chart and you’re all set!
Meditate for 10 minutes daily
Most wellness trends are overhyped. Meditation is not one of them. It’s difficult to stick to – I can attest to that – but the results are worth it. Improved clarity, state of mind, energy, and awareness are just a few benefits. There are, of course, more. There are also many different techniques you can use. I use the app Insight Timer for meditation practice and it’s great. Start with 10 minutes a day and work your way up. And don’t worry if your first 20 sessions suck, because they will. It’s about building up awareness and improving the more you do it – like anything else.
Start a creative hobby
Maybe this one isn’t for everyone, but doing something creative really excites and relaxes me simultaneously. Whether it’s scrapbooking, building a new life in a simulation game, or learning how to play an instrument, it’s great to use another side of your brain. Not only that, it gives you a way to escape reality and daily stress for a little bit. It’s not just a mindless distraction, but a task that requires you to focus your attention in a positive way.
Invest in Kinesiology / therapy sessions
I come from a background in Kinesiology – I went to see a practitioner as a teenager and am now a qualified Kinesiologist myself. This modality is so strange but so beneficial. It uses Eastern medicine techniques to clear stress from the body (even subconscious stressors you had no idea existed). Therapy is also another great way to help people learn more about themselves, become self aware, and recover from past or current trauma. Releasing stress has such a positive impact on our moods and overall attitude.
Read one book a month
This has been one of my New Year’s resolutions for quite a while now. Reading always provides an opportunity for learning. Even if you’re reading a fiction book, you learn new language – words, phrases, meanings. It’s just another exercise for your brain. Reading one book a month is also very reasonable and realistic (I’m a slow reader, too). If you need any recommendations, here are my top 3 life-changing reads.
Maintain a monthly budget
The best decision I ever made was starting a budget in my early twenties. Your twenties are a time of carefree shenanigans and that can quickly turn into major debt and destruction. Even if you don’t have a savings goal, it’s a wise idea to put aside some money each month. Use a spreadsheet and track all of your expenses and income to make sure you can hit your financial goals. You have no idea how easy it is to lose track of what you’re spending your money on (and most times it can be the most useless, unnecessary things). Keeping on top of your finances really does take the pressure off.
So, there you have it. My 10 healthy living habits for your body and mind. Now go crush 2024.
Cover photo by Aleksandar Pasaric