As the old adage goes, health is wealth. A healthier lifestyle can reduce the risk of disease, extend your lifespan, improve your mood, and save you money. One of the keys to living a healthy, balanced life is cultivating good habits, and you don’t have to shell out tons of cash to do it. Set your health goals and create a sensible routine to help you achieve them.
An effective wellness routine isn’t just about packing in as many workouts as possible. It’s about balance, with factors like proper nutrition, adequate sleep, mental health, and general self-care having equal weight. Even the act of creating a wellness routine is beneficial because having a plan can make you feel more in control of your situation, which in turn, reduces stress. The toughest part is getting started, but once you do — and as long as you’re consistent — the results can be life-changing.
Getting started: Why create a wellness routine?
One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is, why? Answering the “why” is essential because committing to a wellness routine requires effort and discipline. It’ll be easier to stick to your game plan if you have a meaningful reason to continue it. Making a commitment, however, can sometimes seem overwhelming, so don’t try to do too much at once. Start small, maybe by having a nutritious breakfast every day or going for a walk three times a week. Whatever it is, master the small steps first, then build your routine from there.
For many, staying motivated is the tricky part. Consider going on your wellness journey with an accountability partner like a friend or family member. It can also be helpful to track your progress to see how far you’ve come, whether that’s by taking photos, timing your runs, or noting increases in your dumbbell weights.
Finally, remember that a routine doesn’t have to be mundane and repetitious. Allow yourself the flexibility to switch things up. The idea is not to do the same thing repeatedly but to make time to take care of yourself.
How to personalize your wellness routine
Each person’s path to wellness will look different. As you create a routine, determine what works best for you and your health needs. We’ve provided a sample routine below for inspiration:
Get more sleep
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that adults need a minimum of seven hours or more of sleep as part of a healthy lifestyle. Research has shown that over one-third of Americans lack the recommended amount of sleep. This deficiency links to chronic health conditions and diseases like heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, strokes, and depression. Getting the suggested amount of sleep can promote heart health, reduce stress, improve your mood, and more.
Drink more water
Staying hydrated is another critical element in promoting health and wellness. The recommended daily water intake varies depending on age, sex, and breastfeeding status, but you can meet your needs through fluids and foods like fruits and vegetables. Adequate water helps eliminate toxins, encourages bowel movements, increases clarity, regulates body temperature, manages weight, and lubricates joints. Remembering to drink more water throughout the day might be tedious, so make it easier on yourself by carrying a refillable water bottle with you or asking for an extra glass of water when eating at restaurants. If the taste is too bland for your liking, spruce it up with a squeeze of lemon.
When rushing out the door to start your day, breakfast doesn’t always make the cut. But there are several reasons to carve out an extra 15 minutes in your day for a hearty morning meal. Besides getting your metabolism going, breakfast is linked to improved focus and a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes. A breakfast high in protein and fiber can also keep your appetite in check. In other words, you’ll be less tempted to reach for an unhealthy snack later in the day to ward off hunger pangs.
Find a workout you enjoy
The World Health Organization recommends that adults between 18 and 64 do at least “150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity” per week. But all workouts aren’t created equal. Maybe the high intensity of CrossFit is your jam. Or perhaps a low-impact pilates sesh is more your speed. Whatever you choose to keep your body moving needs to be something you enjoy, so you’ll be more likely to stick to it. Don’t be afraid to try new classes until you find your perfect fit. No gym? No problem! A walk can be just as effective as running.
Eat at home
Getting a meal delivered to your house is as simple as ordering it within minutes from UberEats or Postmates. However, a home-cooked meal is healthier and can even save you money. A Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study found that people who made their own dishes consumed less sugar, carbohydrates, fat, and fewer calories. And no, you don’t have to be a master chef to put together a great meal. Find a few simple recipes from Instagram food bloggers to start, and build from there.
Schedule ‘me’ time
It’s not selfish to make yourself your top priority. Block off some time for a solo activity that makes your soul sing: a massage, aromatherapy, an impromptu dance party, journaling, or cuddling up with a romance novel.
Establish a bedtime routine
There’s more to getting a good night’s rest than simply hopping into bed at the end of the day. Practicing proper sleep hygiene is as essential as dozing off into deep slumber. That includes avoiding heavy meals and turning off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. If you’re the type that’s tempted to sneak a quick social media scroll before falling asleep, consider putting your phone in another room altogether. After you’ve made your room screen-free, dim your bedroom lights and adjust the temperature to a comfortable setting to create a restful atmosphere. Lastly, repetition is key, so aim to go to bed at the same time every night.
Tips for wellness routine newbies
Here are some essentials that can help get your wellness journey started:
- Yoga mat
- Guided journal
- Sheet masks
- Bath bombs
- Gallon-size motivational water bottle
- Meditation app
- Blackout curtains
- Ear plugs
- Essential oil diffuser
- Weighted blanket
- Library card
Keeping your wellness routine on track
Taking care of your health and establishing a wellness routine has many benefits:
- Reduced stress levels
- Increased energy
- A boost in immunity
- Improved mental well-being
Adopting healthy habits can have lifelong effects, and consistency will reap results. Making significant changes in your life can be overwhelming and daunting, so take it one day at a time. It might also help to break your routine into smaller tasks, so it seems more manageable. And if you find yourself losing motivation, don’t be afraid to try something new or reach out to a friend who can hold you accountable. Above all else, make your wellness routine yours and have fun with it!