Building healthy daily habits are all the rage these days. Countless self-help experts swear by the life-changing effects of building the right habits. So, what’s the big deal with habits? On any given day, your habit of reading or exercising doesn’t seem like a big deal. But in the long run, these habits can offer a plethora of benefits.
If you’re stuck in a funk, or you’re craving for some positive change in your life, your daily habits are a great place to start. What small things can you do every day to make you a little happier, healthier, and more relaxed?
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Here are 7 healthy habits you can incorporate into your daily routine:
Nowadays, we are bombarded with screens and content all around us. It’s easy to fall into the habit of passively consuming without being mindful of the present moment. There is value in pausing and enjoying a little stillness every day.
Sit down somewhere comfortable and quiet. Close your eyes and focus your attention on your breath. When you notice your mind wandering, gently shift your attention back to the breath. Do this for however long you can spare. Even 5 to 10 minutes can make a difference.
If you’re a chronic overthinker who’s convinced meditation isn’t for you, hear me out. I overthink things CONSTANTLY, so I feel you. I tried a 21-day meditation challenge in January, and I’ve been hooked ever since!
No, meditation doesn’t change your life dramatically from day 1, but I have noticed small changes in my mood and in the way I react to events around me. I approach work with a better sense of calm, and I’m less reactive to frustrating situations.
The biggest factor that has helped me build a habit of meditation is letting go of expectations and just showing up every day. There’s so much science behind the benefits of meditation, so I decided to believe: as long as I show up, the benefits will follow.
I also try to let go of any expectations about how each sitting should go. Some sessions feel more peaceful than others, but that’s okay. Sleep, anxiety, worry – so many things affect us and how we feel on any given day. As such, it’s unrealistic to expect the same experience with meditation day in and day out.
Reading in the morning or before bed is a great habit. If we can cut down our screen time and instead, bump up our page time, our lives would be much improved as a result.
Reading in the morning instead of scrolling through social media alleviates the burden of comparison that we may carry into our day. On the other hand, reading at night before bedtime instead of watching videos on our phone reduces our exposure to blue light and can improve our sleep.
With books, there are so many genres to choose from and there’s truly something for everybody. It’s a great way to learn new things and de-stress. If you’d like book recommendations, do sign up for my monthly newsletters (scroll down and subscribe). I share my current reads and some key takeaways from them every month.
3. Listening to podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to learn new things as we do other things. It’s a great companion on our daily commute, when we go for walks, cook, or even do chores around the house.
I love listening to podcasts when I go for walks! I work from home in solitude most of the time, and as weird as it sounds, the conversational nature of podcasts always makes me feel like I’m walking with friends.
Plus, there are so many awesome podcasts on Spotify to choose from! You can pick and choose whatever suits your fancy that particular day. Fitness, food, finance, simple living – there’s a podcast on literally everything!
When you find a podcast you really enjoy, you look forward to listening to it. It makes whatever activity you do along with it, be it exercise or chores, more appealing! Plus, podcasts open you up to new perspectives from different people and that’s important for our growth.
4. Going for walks
It’s important to make time for movement! Exercise is important for physical and mental well-being, and the benefits of walking are plenty. It’s good for your heart, boosts your mood and energy, and as an added bonus, it also tones your legs.
Going for a walk in the morning is a great way to kickstart your day. You get a hit of serotonin (one of your happiness hormones) right from the get-go and this sets you up for a calm, productive day. Plus, soaking in some sunlight in the morning helps with melatonin production that promotes better sleep. As far as healthy daily habits go, this one really packs a punch!
Spending a little time every day to write out your thoughts in a journal can be very beneficial. When our physical space is cluttered, we spend some time decluttering. We put things away and get rid of what we don’t need. Journaling is like decluttering for the brain.
Why write in a journal? Well, experts say it can help us process the good and the bad in our lives, improve our sleep, self-confidence, immune system, and performance at the workplace. With so many potential benefits, it’s certainly worth a try! There are various forms of journaling you can try.
As the name suggests, this is all about expressing gratitude for the blessings you have in life. Start by writing down at least 3 things you’re grateful for that day. This allows you to relish the positives around you and helps to boost your happiness.
This is more of a free-form writing method. Start by writing 2 to 3 pages in the morning about anything you have in mind. Whatever you’re feeling or is bumming you out, put it down on paper and leave it all behind before you start your day.
At the end of your workday, reflect back on it. Write down what went well, what didn’t, what you can improve on, and what tasks need to be done tomorrow. Doing this helps you to clear any work-related clutter in your mind, so you can enjoy the rest of your evening undistracted.
6. Cleaning your home
Of course, we can’t deep clean our homes every day, but there are some basics that we should try to tackle on a daily basis such as sweeping the floors, taking out the trash, washing the dishes, wiping down the kitchen counters, filing bills, and putting things away at the end of the day. This helps us to maintain a sense of calm and order in our living space.
Our physical space can affect our productivity and headspace. Physical clutter distracts us and tears our attention away from the work at hand, leading to lower performance and productivity. This rings especially true for me. A messy workspace constantly distracts me and ultimately, I don’t get much done.
It’s really worthwhile to take 10 to 15 minutes every day to tidy up your home and keep it clutter and mess free.
7. Putting your phone away before bed
This is a hard one! However, experts recommend staying away from your phone before bedtime for better sleep. With social media, it’s difficult to control what you see and consume. If you’re scrolling through Instagram or Facebook before bed, you may come across something that triggers you, and it could linger in your mind, making it hard for you to get a good night’s sleep.
Instead, you could establish a calming bedtime routine that sets you up for a peaceful night of quality sleep. For me, it’s taking a nice hot shower, reading a book, and chatting with my husband.
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Building habits can be challenging, but healthy daily habits can really add up over time and improve your life. Invest some time in building the right set of habits that will set you up for a healthy and happy life. Start small, be kind to yourself, and do what works for you.
If you want to learn more about habit building, do check out my blog post on effective strategies to build new habits.
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