5 Daily Actions You Can Take to Boost Wellness

Between responsibilities and stresses, wellness often takes a back seat. Even if a loved one falls ill, or chronic pain begins to pulse through your body, the signs trying to tell you something is out of balance often get ignored. You say you’ll address them later. If you are motivated to make some changes, however, you see the multitude of wellness retreats, 30+ day challenges, and intensive biological and nutritional courses out there. One lifestyle commitment after another seems to demand your full focus. And they can be contradictory and confusing. Where to even begin? What about work? Picking up the kids? There’s rarely time to unwind, let alone squeeze in gym time, or take a trip to Bali.

We understand how frustrating it can be. But what we’ve learned over the years is that the above laundry list makes up a narrative you tell. It’s a habit. Your routines - and familiarity with them - make you comfortable with where you are. Habits are powerful things. So, why not use them to your advantage? Instead of worrying about the undone items on your to-do list, what if you instead focus on those quiet moments that allow you the time to worry in the first place? What if you can fill those moments with something else? Imagine creating small, grateful spaces where you consciously pause whenever you can, turning off your phone, lighting a candle with dinner, taking in the beauty of your surroundings or loved ones, or turning on some relaxing music. What if you create small, manageable wellness habits around these minutes?

Feel free to create some yourself. Or challenge yourself to pick from the following list, choosing habits that speak most to you. It’s easier to create habits around passions, so it doesn’t feel inconvenient or frustrating. If eating more veggies is easier for you than creating more friends, then tackle the portioning habit before the social wellness habit. You get to choose your own adventure. With each habit you take on, you gain confidence to keep going. Another habit can then form, and so on, until you see how doable holistic wellness really can be!

1. Reduce Everyday Wi-Fi Use

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Science currently does not know the long-term health effects of Wi-Fi exposure for sure, but several small studies have shown that “Wi-Fi causes oxidative stress, sperm/testicular damage, neuropsychiatric effects including EEG changes, apoptosis, cellular DNA damage, endocrine changes, and calcium overload.” [1] When it comes to using Wi-Fi, then, it is best to err on the safe side and limit exposure.

Here are several ideas to try:

-       Get Ethernet cables

-       Use airplane mode

-       Turn off Wi-Fi before bed

-       Use router timers or your own to remind you to turn Wi-Fi off

-       Use apps of monitoring tools for how long you’re spending online

Just as we turn off a faucet after washing our hands, make it a habit to turn off Wi-Fi.

Practically, we can’t avoid Wi-Fi most of the time. Even if we take steps to make our own rooms safe, Wi-Fi travels through walls. Our neighbors or workplaces cannot function without Wi-Fi. Because of this, it’s also important to counterbalance the effects by getting out into nature whenever possible. Specifically, the act of walking, sitting, or lying barefoot on grass or sand (known as grounding, or earthing) strips away the potential for oxidative damage to our bodies that Wi-Fi exposure has increased.

See our article Grounding: Relax as Nature Intended to learn more about grounding and its amazing benefits.

If you don’t have access to nature, or parks and beaches, other ways to ground can be through taking long showers or investing in Himalayan salt lamps.

2.    Change Up Your Everyday Eating

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No matter how busy our days get, we have to find time to eat. But shift to healthier meals, you don’t have to invest in complex and time-consuming calorie counting . Instead, try plate portioning. The idea is to imagine a pie chart, then divide it into thirds. Almost 2/3 will be filled with fruits and vegetables. The last 1/3 will be divided into healthy fat and protein, where the protein sources take up about the size of your fist. Meal preparation Tupperware and plates that have divisions already in them can be a good place to start if you’re still getting used to the idea.

What’s great is that once you get used to portioning, you can take the visual image with you wherever you go. If you eat out, you start to intuitively know when you’re served an oversized protein (as is typical of restaurants), or too much carbohydrates (the half of plate of rice or pasta plus the bread service typical of airline service). You can takeaway that extra grilled chicken breast or stow away the roll for later.

As you practice portioning, you become more confident in your ability to trust your decisions, not letting a calorie counting app, fad diet book, or doctor decide what and how much you should eat. This also saves you the time it would take to input those values in the app, read through the books, or schedule a doctor’s appointment. This habit is also not as restrictive as other means. So long as whole, nutrient dense foods in the three categories are mostly chosen (minimizing or eliminating industrial sugars or processed food) you can enjoy whatever you want and have an endless variety of meals.

A note about healthy fats: as contrary as it may seem, being relatively generous with healthy fats does not make you gain weight. In fact, consuming more healthy fats in your diet may aid in your weight loss efforts.

To learn more on how this is possible, see our article Have Cake to Lose Weight.

3.    Ensure You Have Everyday Social Interactions

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For a lot of people, social wellness comes easy. You have those who you can laugh and cry with, those who have your back. Conversations are natural and flowing, and you feel better disclosing your day, your views, and your dreams to them. If you’re busy and have lots of responsibilities, however, you may not have as much time as you’d like to socialize. If you’re an introvert, you may feel more comfortable alone and recharging after those long days. But humans are social creatures, and science confirms it through the detriments shown of depriving yourself meaningful connection with friends and family. From not being able to handle stress as well to an increased risk of suicide, being alone is not good for us. The good news is that you don’t have to sacrifice your career or become a social butterfly to have social wellness. In fact, through such tools as journaling and the mature use of social media, you can still achieve meaningful connection with others even if you do not schedule face-to-face time.

To learn more about the dangers of isolation and how these tools can be used to mitigate them, see our article Four Surprising Benefits of Social Wellness.

A wider benefit of social wellness is better appreciating how connected we all really are. We’re never alone in our struggles. We gain more compassion and empathy, for ourselves, others, and the bigger global scene.

4.    Consider Everyday Plastic Use

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Speaking of the bigger global scene, aim to reduce plastic usage whenever possible. This reduces your carbon footprint, which makes the environment (and everyone in the environment) more sustainable. One way to avoid using plastic is instead of using the plastic bags for fruits and vegetables in the produce section of the grocery store, bring along a section of cardboard, for instance. When the produce is weighed, put it into the shopping cart and place the bar codes on the cardboard. You can also bring glass mason jars for nuts, seeds, and grains. Just ensure you weigh the jar separately and subtract from the weight of the food.  Buying bulk whenever possible drastically reduces the use of single serve plastic wrappings, too.

If you’re on-the-go a lot, replacing plastic water bottles with your own refillable glass or metal one that you can take with you not only reduces plastic use, but is better for your health and your wallet, too.

For the plastic you do use, why not make it count? Recycling is always an option. There are also cool organizations like The Million Waves Project that uses donated plastic to create prosthetic limbs! Check them out here to learn more.

5.    Make Time for Everyday Relaxation

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While long morning or evening routines, meditation, and yoga sessions are all great options to set the tone for the day, practically you don’t always have the time, patience, or flexibility to embrace them.

But you can break these practices down into manageable steps. While making the morning coffee, for instance, you can journal a few lines: write 3 things you’re grateful for each morning for a week. Instead of turning on that Wi-Fi and checking emails, open the blinds, go onto the balcony if you have one, and take in the natural blue light. At night, after work, avoid mindless eating while scrolling through social media. Instead, become more mindful and appreciative of the flavors and textures as you eat dinner. Enjoy the company of others if that’s available. Before bed, take a few moments to check in with your body. Wherever there is tension, bring attention to. Relax shoulders. Unclench your jaw. Any or all of the above ideas can also be accompanied by the simple addition of playing some calming music.

Finally, since breathing is done all day, take advantage of it. It’s a natural, cost free way to calm down, if done intentionally. See our article Breathe Slow, Stay Calm, Live Long to learn more about this kind of breathing.

Beyond the Daily

If you do decide to embark on any of these habits, here are some tips to get started on the right foot:

-       Put the habit(s) into your schedule. Book your calendar, let notifications remind you of them.

-        Don’t take on too many habits at once. Take it slow, doing one habit at a time until it becomes comfortable.

-       Even if you’re exhausted and backtrack on some habits, even if all you can do is flick off the Wi-Fi router 10 minutes before bed, know that you’re making progress, no matter how small. Just keep going. We all have bad days.

With enough time, you’ll find that these habits build on each other. For instance, choosing to turn off Wi-Fi and relax, while catching up with old friends, can all stem a potential outburst of anger initiated by stress. That’s why you can choose whichever habit appeals most to you. The order doesn’t matter. They all help achieve overall wellness.  Habits combined with each other create a cascading effect, in other words.

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References

[1] Pall, Martin L. "Wi-Fi Is an Important Threat to Human Health." Environmental Research 164 (2018): 405-16. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2018.01.035. p. 405.