5 Health Habits to Help You Feel and Look Better All Year

Our bodies are wonderfully intricate machines, so it’s only natural that when we form habits that help us feel better, we’ll look better, too. It’s a life-changing cycle: when you make the changes you need to stay healthy, you’ll feel better, look better, and your commitment to living a healthy lifestyle will continue to grow stronger each day.

However, our will to make healthy choices is definitely tested in winter, which makes upholding those new year’s resolutions we love to make even more difficult. In winter’s cold, curling up on the couch becomes more appealing than going for a jog, and we crave comfort foods like mac ‘n cheese more than a salad.

But truly, there’s no reason our health should take a hit in winter. So, stop feeling guilty about falling behind on your new year’s resolutions, and start creating healthy habits that will support you throughout the year. Here are some tips:

1. Get Moving

It’s a classic health tip because it will always ring true: your body needs regular exercise to stay healthy, happy, and looking good. A healthy balance of strength training and cardio workouts should do the trick.

And while this certainly remains true in winter, it can be hard to get motivated to go for a jog in 40-degree weather. The good news is there are many great indoor workout options and many won’t cost you a penny. Do a YouTube workout video. Dance around your living room. Go for a swim or join a water sports team at a local indoor pool. Play basketball at a local park or gym. It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you’re up and moving.

2. Make Sleep #1

Even if you have the perfect diet and exercise regimen, you won’t reap the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle until you make sleep your number one priority. Wintertime, however, can throw a wrench in your sleep habits. For example, if your home is too hot or too cold, it could keep you up at night. So, find a temperature that works for the whole family. Cold winter days can also encourage us to stay cocooned in our warm beds longer on the weekends, but a regular sleep schedule is best. Start getting 7-8 hours regularly every night, and you’ll find yourself amazed at the huge difference it can make in your life.

3. Practice Breathing the Right Way

Do you know how to breathe? I mean, really know how to breathe?

Proper breathing has a lot to do with staying mindful of your body. Breathing through your nose, inhaling deeply from your diaphragm, and sitting with proper posture are all huge parts of breathing correctly. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel when your body’s getting much more oxygen than it got from years of bad breathing habits.

4. Eat healthy.

Comfort food is definitely more appealing this time of year, but heavy comfort foods aren’t the healthiest of choices. It is possible to make meals that are hearty and healthy. Soups, stews, and sauteed vegetables and meats are a great place to start. If cooking at home isn’t as appealing to you in winter, enjoy a meal out at a healthy restaurant in your area. The chance to socialize with friends will be a great mood booster.

5. Treat Yourself

A huge part of maintaining your health comes down to managing stress and keeping a positive outlook on life, especially when winter’s lack of sunlight starts getting us down.

While there are plenty of ways to do this, including meditation, engaging in hobbies, and spending time with loved ones, an important practice to remember is to treat yourself.

Indulging is important for growing your sense of self-compassion and self-love. Your indulgences don’t have to be decadent or expensive–spending an extra $5 or $10 here and there on a nice latte or movie ticket is all it takes to get the job done. You might even end up discovering great ways to treat yourself for free.

Build healthy habits by sticking to a wintertime fitness regimen, getting enough sleep, breathing properly, eating healthy, and indulging occasionally. Small successes in any one of these categories will have you looking and feeling better than you ever have before.

Blog post written by Paige Johnson of Learnfit.org

Photo by Liblicas