Now that it’s warmer out and it’s summertime, people (myself included) want to look our best in a swim suit or more form fitting clothing that the summer requires.
My biggest issue is food. I’ll tell that story another day, but I’ve been trying to find ways to get myself healthier, or at least in a healthier mindset, in recent times. Turns out there are so many options for getting yourself healthier that are not only easy, but don’t involve food in the slightest!
You don’t realize how much drinking more water can benefit you until you actually do it! Not only is it warmer out so you’re sweating more, but you’re probably spending more time outside, or being more active in comparison to the colder winter months.
Have a headache? Drink some water
Feeling hungry but you just ate? Drink some water
Feeling fatigued and you don’t know why? Drink some water
Skin starting to look a bit dull? Drink some water
Bored and don’t know what to do? Drink some water!
Being dehydrated can cause so many problems that we may not realize. Previously, whenever I got a headache I would assume it was due to stress or an allergy attack. While it’s possible those things are true (I’m allergic to almost everything that’s green and pollinates) more often than not it’s because I’m dehydrated!
As someone with binging issues, there are a lot of times where I crave something not because I am hungry, or because I’m bored. So drinking a glass of water at that time can help out. Sometimes dehydration presents as feeling hungry! It’s crazy, but it’s true. If I wouldn’t want to eat vegetables, I’m not really hungry.
Dehydration can also cause fatigue! If you’re feeling tired it might just be because your body is struggling to get along without proper fluids! Drink a glass of water or two. It won’t be an instant fix, but you’ll notice as time goes on that you’re feeling a bit better.
Another huge way to improve your health is to get better sleep and sleep a solid 8 hours. Some people can work best on anywhere between 5-10 hours, it’s all dependent on the person. I need at least 8 hours to function properly.
So how do you sleep better? Well, there’s an app for that. Actually, there are quite a few apps for that. These are my favorites.
SleepyTime: Bedtime Calculator (Android | iTunes)
This app is free and can help you better gauge when the best time to go to sleep or wake up is. You can choose either the time you want to go to sleep or the time you want to wake up and it will give you the best options for the opposite.
Say I want to go to sleep at 9:35PM. I can enter that time in the app and it will give me various times to wake up based on the average time of a sleep cycle. A cycle is about 1 hour 44 minutes. So the optimal times to wake up are 5:19AM for 5 sleep cycles, 6:49AM for 6 sleep cycles, or 8:19AM for 7 sleep cycles.
This also works backwards if you have a time you need to wake up. There is also an option for “go to sleep now”. Meaning, if you haven’t planned this all out and you’re going to bed and want to know the best time to wake up from this very instant.
I was using this app daily until I changed beds and got a memory foam mattress topper. This app is meant to analyze your sleeping patterns by detecting when you move around in your sleep and wake you up in the best area of your sleep cycle.
Like the previous app, you can use it to help figure out the best times to go to sleep or wake up. What I loved about the app is that by tracking your movements, it can clearly show you nights that you sleep well and nights that you don’t. It can also help you determine how many cycles work best for you!
They have a free version of this now, which is great! When I downloaded the app it was $1.99. Now that is for the premium version.
Get yourself moving! Not only will this get you in shape, it will help keep you healthy. Cardio does so much more than just get your heart rate up. I could list all of those things, but I think this infographic from clevelandclinic.org says it best.
Now that you’re hydrated, sleeping better, and you’re moving your butt a little bit more, all that’s left is to tackle your mental wellbeing. This is probably the hardest for some people because it involves a lot of inner self discovery, and delving into things you may have put in a little box in the back of your mind and not want to deal with again. I think we all have that kind of box.
I’m a bit fan of journaling. It’s such a great thing. I tend to journal on Sundays before bed. It’s part of a routine I have. Near the end of Sunday, I have to refill my pill case (yes, I have a weekly pill case) so I do that then pull out my journal and write about the things stressing me out. It usually turns into a “how to fix my problems” rant where I brainstorm what I need to do in the following week to get to where I want to be.
I’m really bad at meditation because my brain isn’t trained to handle that level of silence without going into anxiety over drive, but it’s definitely something I’m working towards. There are guided meditations for those who are more of a beginner and there are apps like headspace that can help you on your journey.
I personally prefer ASMR at the moment. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. The definition Google comes up with is:
“a feeling of well-being combined with a tingling sensation in the scalp and down the back of the neck, as experienced by some people in response to a specific gentle stimulus, often a particular sound.”
I personally like tapping. It’s a nice feeling that helps me to fall asleep at night.
Reading can be really beneficial to your mental health. It’s a good idea to get away from all the screens we have in our lives for some good old fashioned words on paper. I’m one to read “self help” or “self improvement” books, so most of what I have are things that would benefit me in the long run. However, I do have some sci-fi favorites (Ender’s Games/Shadow) and fantasy to take a break from the constant self improvement.
Whatever it is you decide to read it helps give you an escape for some time. It can help with stress relief, expanding your knowledge, and mental stimulation. Check out this post on lifehacker.org about 10 benefits of reading.
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