As we enter a new year, why not try a few small lifestyle changes that can help you feel healthier and less stressed? Here are five suggestions to inspire you:
1. Practicing mindful eating
Image: Vitalii Pavlyshynets
Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
But sometimes, the way we eat can get in the way of our health and well-being.
The problem isn't that we eat too much; it's that we often don't pay attention to what we're eating. We mindlessly snack, pick at our plate without really tasting what we're eating, eat when we're not hungry and ignore our bodies' cues for hunger and fullness.
Getting into the habit of mindful eating can help you make more conscious choices about what goes into your body — and help you manage stress better, too. There are countless guides on how to eat more mindfully but here are three simple things you can already do the next time you sit down to eat:
Let hunger be your guide - If you’re only slightly hungry, just eat until you feel satisfied. Save the rest for later. By eating little and often, you can avoid becoming ‘hangry’ - the irritable feeling that comes from being too hungry!
Remove distractions - When we’re watching an engrossing movie or tv program, our senses are over-stimulated and other sensations become numb. If possible, eat without a screen in front of you. This will help you focus more on the tastes and aromas of your meal.
Slow it down - An easy way to savor your food is to put your fork down when you’re chewing. This will help you enjoy every bite rather than getting ready for the next mouthful.
Admittedly, eating mindfully isn’t always easy, especially for those with young families at mealtime. Nevertheless, if it’s a habit you can get into, your body will thank you for it!
2. Eating more greens
Image: @the.ivf.warrior - Cheryl Dowling
One of the most important steps you can take to boost your health is to eat more nutrient-dense foods.
In particular, dark green vegetables make great nutritional supplements because they’re chock-full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It's recommended that you eat 1.5 cups of any dark green vegetable, along with 4 cups of other green vegetables each week.
With a Click and Grow smart garden, it’s super easy to grow fresh, pesticide-free greens on your kitchen counter. Here are some examples of nutrient dense dark leafy greens you can grow in your smart garden:
Naturally rich in vitamins A, C, K, calcium, folate, potassium, magnesium and iron. A 10 gram cup of arugula provides 12% of an Adult’s Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin K and 14% of vitamin A.
A natural source of vitamins A, B, C, dietary fiber, iron, magnesium and potassium. A 36 gram cup of baby leaves provides 16% of an adult’s RDA for Vitamin A, 14% for Vitamin C and 332% for Vitamin K.
A natural source of vitamins A, C, K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese and iron. A cup of baby leaves covers 35% of an adult’s RDA of vitamin K, 42% of vitamin C and 10 % of Vitamin B6.
Learn more about Click and Grow’s dark leafy greens here.
3. Drinking plenty of water
Image: Nigel Msipa
Drinking more water is a great habit to get into for your overall well-being. When you're feeling dehydrated, your brain becomes foggy and your mood drops. You feel sluggish and tired, which can make even the most mundane tasks seem like a chore.
Dehydration also makes us more susceptible to illness, more likely to become stressed out, and more likely to get sick when we come down with something. In fact, many of the symptoms of dehydration are similar to those of a cold: headaches, body aches and soreness are all signs that your body is in need of fluids.
That's why it's important to drink plenty of water throughout the day - especially if you're already prone to being dehydrated or tend to be stressed out. Water can help flush toxins from your body before they have a chance to cause problems.
Why not keep a reusable water bottle by your side throughout the day? Just taking small sips every now and then can make a big difference to how you feel.
4. Sleeping well
Image: David Mao
The benefits of getting a good night's sleep aren't just physical; they're also mental and emotional. Sleeping better will help you be more productive and creative, feel happier and more energized, and enjoy improved relationships with family and friends.
If you're not sleeping well, the first step is to determine the root cause. Is it a sleeping disorder like insomnia that requires medical treatment? Or is it something else?
Here are some things you can already do to help you sleep better:
Create an environment for sleep
If you have trouble falling asleep, make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet and cool (around 65 degrees Fahrenheit). Ideally, your bedroom should also be free of electronics at night; don't watch TV or use your computer after 9 p.m., as these devices stimulate brain activity and make it harder to fall asleep.
Remember that your body loves routine
Keep a consistent bedtime routine and stick to it every night so that your body knows when it's time to sleep.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol late in the day
Caffeine can take up to ten hours to leave your system completely, while alcohol takes about an hour. So, if you drink coffee or have a glass of wine with dinner, just remember it may take longer to fall asleep!
5. Being active every day
Image: Denny Müller
Being active every day is a great habit to get into for improved well-being.
What counts as "active"?
There's no strict definition. It can mean anything from going for a walk around the block to running a half marathon. The key is keeping your body moving in some way on most days of the week. If you're not sure where to start, try these ideas:
-Go for a walk or run at least three times per week for at least 30 minutes each time.
-Take up swimming or cycling for exercise that gets you outdoors and improves your cardiovascular fitness.
-Play active games with family members or friends, like football or tag.
Ready for a challenge?
Image: Nick Morrison
Think about how much easier it would be to make healthy choices if you were surrounded by people who did the same thing. That’s why we’ve created the ‘Healthier23’ challenge for all of us in the Click and Grow community.
Our goal is to help people make small, healthy changes that last — not just for one week, but for the rest of their lives. We believe that if someone wants to make a change, they can do it. We want them to know they have an entire community behind them — cheering them on as they go through their journey towards eating better and enjoying better mental health.
If you’ve started a new habit that’s really improving your life, like adding a portion of greens to your everyday meal or going for a daily walk to the park, feel free to share it on social media with the hashtag #Healthier23.
On January 31st, we’ll be sharing them on social media and giving away a Smart Garden 3 to one lucky participant.
Who knows? Perhaps your journey may inspire someone else to become an even better version of themselves.
From all of us at Click and Grow, have an amazing New Year.