National Wellness Month
Did you know August is National Wellness Month? Although we all know we should always try to make wellness a priority, at times we drop the ball. Unfortunately, sometimes focusing on wellness takes a back seat to everything else in our busy lives. This is what makes August the perfect opportunity to re-focus on our wellness and kick start a healthy lifestyle. Don’t know where to start? No worries, we’ve put together a list of five simple habits to incorporate into your routine each day!
Drink more water
Health experts often recommend we follow the 8×8 rule: eight 8-ounce glasses per day. Water is essential for the kidneys and other bodily functions. It provides a boost in energy and physical performance; curbs cravings, which aids in weight loss; and it also results in smoother, healthier skin.
How can you be sure you are getting enough water each day? There are a ton of fun water bottles out there that help you keep track of your water intake. Some, like this one, even have time stamps on them so you can be sure to stay on track throughout the day.
Get outside and exercise
It is no secret that exercise is good for you, but did you ever think about how the location of where you choose to work out can benefit you? Exercising outside has plenty of benefits! It gives you the chance to be physically active in a constantly changing environment. Walking on a treadmill or using another machine indoors can get redundant and boring. But when you get outside, you can go to different trails or parks for a change of scenery. Not to mention, the wind’s resistance can help you burn more calories.
In addition to the physical benefits, outdoor exercise can also have a positive impact on your mental health. There is quantifiable research that suggests that outdoor exercise can actually provide greater benefits than indoor exercise. This study found that exercising outdoors was associated with increased energy and decreased tension and depression. Not to mention the fact that you can make it a family affair by heading to a nearby park or bike trail!
Since there is an app for everything these days, it’s no surprise that there is an app you can use to find walking, hiking, and biking trails nearby. All Trails is a great way to find your next work out spot. It even allows you to filter by difficulty level and features like pet friendliness!
Eat healthy snacks
There is often the misconception that snacking will lead to weight gain. However, the right types of snacks can actually contribute to weight loss. The secret is to choose snacks with about 100 calories and a mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fats. So what are the benefits of adding a healthy snack to your day? Appetite control, increased energy, and better concentration can all be results of a healthy snack.
Here, you will find 30+ healthy snack ideas! Bon appétit!
Destress by practicing deep breathing
Every day, you already take thousands of breaths without even giving it a second thought. So why not take a few minutes to really focus on your breath? Deep breathing has numerous health benefits, including stress reduction and reduced blood pressure. It can even promote core muscle stability to help you tolerate intense exercise.
Struggling to calm your racing mind for bedtime? Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique! It forces your mind and body to focus on regulating your breath rather than all the worries of the day. The steps for this technique are:
- Let your lips part and make a make a whooshing sound, exhaling completely through your mouth
- Close your lips and inhale silently through your nose as you count to 4 in your head
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds
- Exhale from your mouth for 8 seconds, making another whooshing sound like in the first step
It is recommended that you start out by doing four cycles of these steps then eventually work your way up to eight full cycles.
This technique, and several others, are also available in the free Oak Meditation and Breathing app (available in the Apple app store).
Slow down and enjoy the little things
“Enjoy the little things.” It has become a bit of a cliché that we hear all the time. However, there is scientific evidence that enjoying the little things actually has health benefits. A 2012 study found that greater appreciation led to increased life satisfaction. Taking time to appreciate even the smallest pleasures of life can promote satisfaction even when things do not go as planned.
We often focus on the big events that we are looking forward to and rush through the small day to day things but stopping to focus on the joy in the little things can have a positive impact on our mental well-being. So how exactly do we do it?
This healthline article discusses eight ways to truly enjoy the little things, starting with waking up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. While you may feel groggy at first, it will allow you to take your time in the morning rather than feeling rushed. This might even mean actually sitting down at home to enjoy your morning coffee rather than sipping (and probably spilling) it in your car on the way to work.
So join us in celebrating National Wellness Month and take this opportunity to focus on your well-being. It’s time to make taking care of YOU a priority!