Most of us would like to live healthier. I know I would! But let's be honest… sometimes living healthy seems so overwhelming and expensive! I'm a big fan of the baby step approach and like to concentrate on how I can make the biggest impact with the least amount of effort. Wait… that actually sounds more the lazy approach. Eh. That works too.
The 5 Ways to Live Healthier on a Budget
I sat down with Dr. Christina Shannon, ND, FABNO the Clinical Director of Naturopathic Medicine at Cancer Treatment Centers of America to get some feedback on what we should focus our attention on if we have limited time and resources to build new healthy habits. I wanted a professional opinion of what are the most important things to concentrate on. The results weren't surprising, but it's if you aren't already doing all five of these, the action steps that follow are what you want to concentrate on.
“Sleep is an often unrecognized and undertreated condition in the primary care setting. Decreased restorative sleep has many health implications including decreased quality of life, decreased productivity, effects on mental health and cognition as well as potentially increasing the risk for certain types of cancer. Developing and maintaining good sleep habits is critical to health.” – Dr. Shannon
Action steps to better sleep:
Identify the cause. Do you wake after falling asleep and can't get back to bed? Does your mind run constantly and you can't settle? Figure out what isn't working for your current sleep routine right now. If it's something you can change, do that. If not…
Talk to your doctor. Talk to your doctor about taking a supplement like melatonin or other sleep aides if you can't solve the problem on your own. You can also rule out any underlying medical causes.
Shut down distractions. Using your bedroom for its intended purpose is a great way to set yourself up for a good nights sleep. Turn the TV off, the laptop, and make it a peaceful sanctuary with few distractions. Banish your late night Facebook scrolling or checking your emails.
“Hydration is important for energy, mental clarity, elimination of waste from the body and general health. I regularly meet with patients, who after assessing their water intake, drink far below the eight, 8 oz. glasses of water that is recommended daily. One way to help ensure that your drinking enough water is by creating a habit, such as keeping a glass or stainless steel bottle close to you and filled with water. Commit to drinking as many bottles of your water needed to meet your daily requirement. Start early in the day so you're not trying to play catch up at the end of the day.” – Dr. Shannon
Action steps to drinking enough water:
Start early. Start your day with an 8 oz glass of water with breakfast.
“You are what you eat is an old saying, however, it continues to remain true… Whole foods such as whole fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and healthy sources of plant or animal based proteins are important for health. Again many of the chronic diseases we face today could be decreased or eliminated by healthy lifestyle choices including a healthy diet. Studies continue to show what the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions' Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Study showed which was that less than 25% of Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables.” – Dr. Shannon
Actions steps to better nutrition:
Replace junk food with whole foods. Look for unhealthy things that you routinely eat and try to find a healthier substitute. Candy for frozen grapes, frozen yogurt for ice cream etc.
Eat more fruits and veggies. Make them look more prominent than your M&M Stash. Keep them in the middle of your fridge at eye level. Wash and prep them ahead of time so you can grab them and go.
Get an expert opinion. Meet with a nutritionist to get a customized plan of what you should be eating. That way you can eat with confidence.
“Exercise is an integral part of health. It can help with the prevention of many chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and osteoarthritis. There is a growing body of research indicating exercise's role in the prevention of certain types of cancer. It can help with sleep, depression and anxiety. In addition, cultures with the most longevity and vitality consistently have daily physical activity.” – Dr. Shannon
Action steps to better fitness:
Get up. Look to move more and limit sitting to 30 minutes at a time.
Try a pedometer. Apps like Pacer have them, and you can find them from simple at $5 to intuitive personalized fitness devices like Fitbit for $100. See how much you walk without changing your routine, then add 1k a day for a week, then up it another 1k, until you can do 1k comfortably.
Customize an exercise program for you. It doesn't need to be expensive and you don't even need a gym. Work with what you have. Ace fitness offers customized workout programs for free, or Fit Star has more options (like apps and fit tests) for $40/year.
Work exercise in with your life. Don't lament that you can't work out for an hour at the gym. Work with what you have. Find ways to include your kids, or run on the treadmill in the am while your infant is still asleep.
5. Stress Management
“Most people do not have regular behaviors in place for dealing with the stresses that come with daily living. It is important to create healthy habits that you can rely on when under stress. If you have behaviors in place when you are not under stress, it will greatly benefit you during the more difficult times. Ask yourself what you can do daily that helps you to keep balance. Research in the area of psychoneuroimmunology continues to show us the connection between stress, inflammation and the immune system.”
Action steps to better stress management:
Retreat from the situation to calm down if possible. Practice calming techniques like counting to ten or crafting an argument from the other persons' perspective.
Surround yourself with people you like. While it's not always a choice, surrounding yourself with supportive like-minded people can reduce a lot of stress in your life.
Find your peace. Everyone has a different opinion of what brings them peace. Whether it's a little lavender oil rubbed into your neck every night, warm bubble baths, fly fishing, or 15 minutes on a breezy deck with a trashy magazine. Whatever you love… find time for that.
Living a healthy life to it's fullest will save you over the long run. It doesn't require a ton of money, but it does require the will to change and the drive to succeed in your goals.
I'm a big fan of educating myself on what I call “life skills”. Learning how to better myself in the areas that others have conquered. Healthy living is an essential life skill. I'm excited to partner up with The Ultimate Bundles to bring you a bundle of healthy living resources that cover everything from how to cook real food (and fast!) for your family, how to make your own cleaning products (that work!) for less than you can buy them to healthy living diet and workout programs (that actually work!) and unbiased education about how to benefit from essential oils.
The Bundle is only available for five days though and ends on September 14th at 11:59 pm Eastern time! It's an incredible value of resources, everything from books to courses and even bonuses like free essential oils so don't miss out on this, once the sale ends, it's over and it won't be coming back.
P.S. The bonus products in this bundle are amazing! 3 of the products included are things that I use routinely (Craftsy, Once a Month Meals and ePantry) and the bonuses alone are well worth the price of the bundle! I'm so excited about this!
Do you need to work on any of these healthy living habits?
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