As a Health & Nutrition Coach, I’m always looking for new ways to live a healthier and happier life.
I’m obviously a big fan of eating healthy and nourishing foods and exercising on a regular basis. These are two things that help me feel and look my best.
But, I’m also into finding ways to live a healthier and happier life that have nothing to do with diet or exercise.
If I’m being honest, I know some people who are borderline militant about eating really well and working out all the time. And they’re also completely miserable and living a very shallow existence.
No, thank you.
I want to love this life, not just survive it. And I believe that food and exercise are only two pieces of the puzzle when it comes to living a healthier and happier life.
So, today, I’m giving you 6 more ways to live healthier and happier that have nothing to do with what you eat or how often you move your body.
1. Get Sleep
I feel like I talk about this in all of my blog posts (probably because I do), but in order to live a truly happier and healthier life, you gotta get your sleep.
The ideal amount of time is different for everyone, but I always recommend aiming for at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night.
Sleep is so important for so many reasons. Your body does amazing things while you sleep, repair work and healing being among them.
When you don’t get sleep, your body isn’t happy and can’t function the way it’s designed to. Your hormones get all out of whack (hello, sugar cravings and weight gain) and decision making becomes almost impossible (i.e. I’ll just workout tomorrow…Netflix, here I come).
It has also been my experience that this is one of the top reasons why people can’t lose weight. You can read more about that in this post.
2. Connect with Nature
Spending time outdoors and connecting with nature has so many amazing benefits.
In addition to an overall increase in psychological well being, spending time in nature has been shown to:
Increase empathy, kindness, and creativity
Improve memory and immune system functioning
Decrease anxiety, blood pressure, stress hormones, and inflammation
Plus, the busier you are enjoying the great outdoors, the less time you’ll have to spend scrolling on your phone or binging Netflix and pints of Ben & Jerry’s.
3. Set Boundaries with Yourself & Others
This one is so, so important. And notice how I said, “…with YOURSELF and others?” We typically think boundary setting is just about other people.
And that is a big part of it.
Establishing healthy boundaries with others in regards to how we expect to be treated, how we want to to spend our time with them, saying no when it doesn’t serve us and saying yes when it does all contribute to healthy boundaries.
But what about setting boundaries with yourself?
Do you ignore your gut/intuition on a regular basis and do things that are out of alignment with your values?
Do you set intentions or goals only to talk yourself out of them when things get tough?
Do you find yourself engaging in activities that are knowingly unhealthy or dangerous?
Do you stay quiet instead of voicing your opinion or sharing how you feel about something?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may want to look at strengthening the boundaries you have with yourself.
And, yes, I know boundary setting is hard. Most of us struggle because of fear. We are so scared to upset other people that we put our own needs and desires on the backburner just to “keep the peace.” But all that ends up doing is causing feelings of resentment, bitterness, and anger…and that’s hardly “keeping the peace.”
Establishing healthy boundaries is one of the most important things you can do to live a healthier life not only for yourself, but also for the important people in your life.
And the ones who struggle with your new boundaries are most likely the ones who benefited from you having none.
4. Engage in Healthy Relationships
This one is directly linked to #3. There is so much research out there about the benefits of being involved in healthy relationships. I’m talking about all relationships here, including friendships, family, and romantic partnerships.
According to an article published by Harvard Health, those who are in healthy relationships and have strong support systems are happier, healthier, and are more likely to live longer. Unfortunately, the opposite is true for those who are engaged in unhealthy relationships or who lack a strong support system.
So, while you’re looking at how to establish healthy boundaries with those you love, take a second to consider the health of the relationships you have with those around you.
Do you need to dedicate some time in strengthening any of these?
Or maybe it’s time to let some of them go.
Either way, be true to yourself. Just because someone has been in your life for a long time doesn’t mean that they deserve to be (this also applies to family members).
And just because a relationship is difficult doesn’t mean you have to end it (maybe some healthy boundary setting is all that needs to happen).
The most important thing to know about this is that you are the one in the driver seat of your life. You get to decide who rides with you.
5. Adopt a Daily Gratitude Practice
I actually wrote an entire blog post devoted to this very topic because I have found so much value in adding this ritual to my morning routine (you can read the full post here). There are so many benefits to establishing a daily gratitude practice and it’s so simple to implement.
Bringing awareness to your already abundant life only brings in more abundance.
You can’t be grateful and judgemental at the same time.
You can’t be grateful and jealous at the same time.
You can’t be grateful and angry at the same time.
Are you starting to see a pattern?
6. Try Something New
Let’s face it, having a routine is awesome for so many reasons. It can keep you on track when you’re trying to reach new goals and it’s great for maintaining discipline.
I am definitely a routine girl.
But sticking to a routine can also hold you back in a lot of ways and can wind up being a bit boring and predictable (again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing).
Trying something new can open up a whole new world for you. Once you push past the fear of getting out of your comfort zone (and your predictable routine), you may discover a new passion.
Trying new things can also spark creativity and increase your confidence. Discovering a new passion can also lead to a renewed sense of purpose and the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends.
Most of us have something that we’ve wanted to try (probably most of our lives) but have been too scared to do it. We’ve come up with all sorts of excuses for why now isn’t the right time.
So, what’s your thing?
You know, the thing that you’ve been telling yourself, “One day I’ll _____.”
What if today were “one day?”
Whatever you decide to do, make sure it pushes you a little outside of your comfort zone and helps to shake things up.
So, there you have it…6 ways to live a healthier and happier life that have nothing to do with food or fitness. This is obviously not an exhaustive list as there are tons of ways to incorporate healthy habits into our lives, but it’s a good place to start.
I’d love to hear how you’ve started to live a healthier life outside of your diet or exercise routine. Leave a comment and let us know what you’ve been up to.