Let’s face it: February is always a pretty downer month. The holidays are well behind us, but, for most of us, it’s still incredibly cold (and maybe snowy), and spring looms far into the future like a destination that will never be met.
But this doesn’t have to be lost time. Use these days before the warm weather starts to draw near to kick-start your life. There are loads of small actions you can take right now that will have you feeling like your best self come May. Pick a few (or all!) of these ideas to try over the next few months and try to do them every day. Pretty soon, they’ll become habit and your small actions, over time, will become positive life changes.
9 Ways To Improve Your Life, And Happiness
Drink More Water.
We need water to function. We all know that. But so many of us don’t get the full amount we need each day, which can leave us feeling sluggish, irritable, and worn out. It can make you feel hungry (when you’re actually dehydrated), causing you to overeat. Not consuming enough fluids can also wreak havoc on your bladder or bowel, causing a concentration of urine in the bladder (which can lead to irritation) and constipation in the digestive tract, making it much harder to have a normal bowel movement. Drinking ample water just helps our bodies work better, and is one of the easiest things you can do to positively impact your health and mood. Learn how much water you should be drinking each day here.
Get 30 Minutes of Exercise Every Day.
Moving your body every day is so important for maintaining good health. It not only strengthens your muscles and keeps you strong, but it can reduce your risk of developing things like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. And, exercise releases powerful endorphins, which can impact your mood (in a positive way).
Think you don’t have time to workout? You don’t need a fancy gym membership or a high-end workout machine at home to fit in your daily sweat session. A brisk walk outside, some strength training moves in your living room can do the trick. And, there are tons of online guides and videos you can watch for free! Click here for some easy ways to sneak more exercise into your day.
Schedule an annual checkup.
Ok, so this may not be a daily thing, but it is important, and is probably something you’ve put off for too long already. Schedule an appointment with all your healthcare providers and get annual checkups. Meet with your regular doctor for a health check up, a dermatologist for a skin check, your dentist for a cleaning, and anyone else you generally meet with to track your health. (Need help finding a specialist for bladder or bowel health? Click here.) Getting a solid reading on the state of your health can help you address any concerns that may pop up (or that you already have) and can point you in the right direction moving forward.
Get Up Early (And wake up at the same time every day).
If you’re like most people, your day probably begins in a rush. You roll out of bed at the last minute, then rush through your routine of breakfast, shower, getting dressed and ready to get out the door to get to work. And if you have kids, you have an even extra element of stress. But when you get up early, even if it’s just 30 minutes to an hour, you can set the stage for a more productive and relaxed day. It gives you a little more time to do some things that will set the tone of your day. Take some much needed time for yourself and practice meditation or yoga (or sneak in that walk that we talked about above). You can also use the time to accomplish a longer term goal you’ve set for yourself, like writing that novel, or learning a new language. And, if you do have little ones, you can get things in order before they wake up, which always makes things go a bit smoother.
Get More Sleep.
We know what you’re thinking. “Get more sleep? Didn’t they just tell me to wake up earlier?” Well, yes. But that doesn’t mean you should skimp on sleep. Just like getting enough water and exercising regularly, sleep can make a huge difference in your mood, how you perform at most tasks, your hunger levels, and even the way your body digests and processes your food. Aim for 7-8 hours at night, even if that means going to bed a bit earlier than you’re used to. You may find that the alertness boost you get from getting extra shut-eye helps you to get more accomplished in a shorter day anyway. (Are extra trips to the bathroom robbing you of sleep? It could be nocturia. Read more about this condition and how to treat it here.)
How we look at life can make a big difference in our attitude, and our health. Being grateful for what we have, and noticing the small things throughout the day that are good in your life can bring you more happiness and help you weather a bad day more easily than if you looked at the glass as half empty. One way to do this is to write down 2- 3 things you’re grateful for each day. Try to be specific as possible. It’s great to be thankful for your kids every single day, but by picking up the little nuances of your day that bring you joy (like the first sip of your morning coffee, or the unexpected kindness of a stranger) you’ll start finding more pleasure in everyday things, leading to a happier and richer life.
This one is a bit loaded, since getting everything in order can be a huge undertaking. But getting things organized in your home, car, workplace or anywhere else you spend your time can be hugely rewarding, save you time, and bring you more peace. You don’t have to go full on Marie Kondo here, either. Start small and make a plan to just do a little bit each day. No time to reorganize the kitchen? Start with one cabinet a day. Bedroom a mess? Clean out one drawer or a portion of your closet each weekend. By breaking things into smaller chunks, you’ll be able to make consistent progress. Just think how much you could accomplish after a couple of months of doing one small bit of organizing each day.
Take Up A New Hobby.
We all have that one thing in the back of our minds that we want to do. Write a book, learn a foreign language, run a marathon, take up salsa dancing. It’s never too late to accomplish your goals, and by just starting the process, you’ll feel a huge weight off your shoulders and will start to feel like you’re actually taking some steps toward your dreams. So find a way to get started today – join a running club, sign up for a class, start a writing group – whatever you need to do to help yourself get moving and stay accountable. In three months you’ll be well on your way to making those dreams a reality.
Be More Social.
Last but certainly not least, find more ways to connect with people. Life is just more fun when you share it with others, and having a strong social network does wonders for your health and well-being (studies show that it even helps you live longer!). So call up a friend, have a regular coffee meet-up (or walking meet-up!), make chit-chat with the barista you see every morning. Having more social interaction will help you feel more connected to others, and to life, which is something that everyone can benefit from.
For more ideas on how to improve your life, check out this comprehensive list at: