5 Healthy Habits to Adopt This Year

Top Five Free Healthy Habits to Adopt This Year

We are nearing the time of year when we make lists of all the things we have resolved to change and which 2/3 of us will fizzle on within the first month.

The problem with resolutions is that often we make multiple major and life altering changes and expect them to happen overnight. Then, frustration hits and burnout results.

This year, I suggest adopting some simple and free healthy habits and letting the bigger changes follow. My goals for next year are written in incremental baby steps with phases to keep me accountable and keep me from burning out early.

These resolutions are changes that anyone can make and stick to:

1. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is a non-negotiable for health. Sleep helps the body restore and heal, is vital for hormone production, improves mood, aids weight loss and more. In short, if you aren’t sleeping, you aren’t healthy.

Sleep is also free and this is a pretty simple change to make if you commit to it. Granted, some people do have trouble falling or staying asleep, but there are often simple remedies to help with this as well.

This post has some good tips for getting enough quality sleep and many people also notice that magnesium oil rubbed on the feet before bed helps improve sleep (here is the recipe for magnesium oil).

2. Drink Water

Water is  typically free, though quality water can cost a little upfront if you buy a new filter (this is the water filter we use). Water is also necessary for digestion, mental health, removal of toxins and more.

Though there are as many theories on how much water to drink as there are brands of bottled water, some good rules of thumb are:

  • Don’t let yourself get really thirsty as thirst is a good sign that you need to drink water (obviously).
  • Drink at least one cup of water for each cup of caffeinated beverage or alcohol that you drink (in addition to your regular water consumption).
  • Consider drinking some salt water in the morning. Sound strange? Here are some reasons you might want to drink salt water daily.

3. Reduce Stress

Stress can do more to hurt you health than any cheat day ever could. Of course, adding “reduce stress” to your to-do list isn’t going to help much.

Consider taking up daily prayer/meditation. Find the source of your stress and address it. Get regular exercise. Here are some tips I use to help reduce stress.

4. Move

I don’t like the word “exercise” as it often refers to monotonous miles on a treadmill while watching a stress-inducing news channel or has a negative connotation of something people don’t enjoy doing. I also don’t like the idea of “exercise” as a hobby, as it isn’t something that one should just do for fun.

I prefer focusing on just moving! Movement is (or definitely should be) a normal part of human life, yet many of us aren’t getting enough of it. Movement should also be functional. Endless reps on an exercise machine don’t mean anything if they aren’t helping improve your daily life.

Focus on movements that are useful, such as:

  • Lifting heavy objects- useful if you ever need to carry someone out of a dangerous situation (house fire, car accident, etc) or move an object without help.
  • Sprinting- useful if you need to escape a bad situation, rabid dog, or other threat. Running a consecutive 26 miles probably won’t be as helpful here but the ability to do a solid 100 meter sprint is vital.
  • Walking – In the past, humans have moved a lot more than we do these days. Walking is good for posture, digestion and bone health. Do it.
  • Swimming- Great for overall health and lung capacity, but also useful if you ever fall in to a body of water and need to be able to get out of it.

Functional exercises like walking, sprinting, etc are free and you can even lift weights with sandbags or homemade objects or make a pull-up bar in your home (I use this one). No excuses… get moving!

5. Volunteer

Volunteering is a great activity to do as a family. It teaches children (and adults) to think of others. Not only is it free, it benefits the community. volunteer with local home building projects, food banks, community clean-up efforts, nursing homes, animal shelters or other venues.

What are your goals for this year? Are any of these one’s you’d like to adopt? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. Hi Katie,
    Thanks for the post. Getting good sleep is going to be my priority for the next little while. Just wondering what your views on co-sleeping are? I’ve been bed sharing with my 3 week old on and off and I noticed I seem to sleep better when she is in bed with me, but I’m also pretty exhausted after a lot of blood loss in delivery and lack of sleep. I feel itwould speed up recovery to be able to co-sleep, but am also paranoid. Did you co-sleep with your children? If so how did you go about it, especially in the early days when your so tired?

    • We co-slept with both of our girls and it was great not having to get up and do anything at night (I did EC, so I held a bowl under a bum a few times a night, but nothing too complicated). If you are already in light sleep mode, you will not squish your baby. I made sort of a nest for ours in the middle of our bed between our pillows–I just made a gap between the pillows). Our headboard has no gaps and our pillows aren’t super fluffy. If my husband and I scoot ourselves down a bit, we could be cozy under our covers and my wee one would be in a sleep sack of some kind above us a bit. Even after I nurse her, she usually scoots up on her own anyway (and my youngest is 2 now). My older daughter is 6 and she goes to sleep on her own in her own bed, so no, we never forced it and it doesn’t last forever!).

      Bone broth, nettle tea infusions (1 cup dried nettles/1 quart of water, let steep over night), and liver capsules (or just eating liver something) will help you gain strength after loosing a lot of blood during delivery.

      I’d like to hear Katie’s thoughts too since getting good sleep is hard with a baby in tow!

      • To add my two cents: I also co slept with my two children while they were so wee, although very different styles with each one. My first, I just slept next to her, no barrier, nothing. I had a hard time sleeping because I could feel her every movement. So, with my second, I got a second hand Anne’s Co-Sleeper so I couldn’t feel his movements and it was still easy enough to reach him. Sleep is SOOO important after having a baby. I had major post partum issues which were exacerbated with lack of sleep. To cope, I had to drop the expectation and practice of having any of my “own” time after the baby went to sleep for the night (like 8 p.m. or so) and forced myself to go to bed after he did. Those extra hours really helped. Congratulations and do whatever feels best to you and your family..no matter what the end result is.

    • I co-slept with all of mine, and I agree, it does speed up recovery. I always just slept with them on my arm…

      • Thanks everyone for your responses. I’ve decided co-sleeping is the way to go. Everyone gets a much better sleep.

  2. Great post, Katie — and you know me… I whole-heartedly agree with #4 (move)!

  3. These are such simple goals, and I love them. I think something we forget just the basics like these.
    One of my goals is to read 60 books (I read 60 this year, so I know it’s doable). I also want to run 1000km again.

  4. Thanks for the article! Sometimes we need a reminder for the basic things that are most important.

  5. Hello Katie and thank you for the wonderful blog. A friend of mine introduced me to it recently and I just love all of your insights…

    That said:
    I agree with you that “exercise” sounds like a chore. I understand your choice of word with “move” and I agree with it completely. I also use the expression “staying active” and this reminds me of “The Body Book” by Cameron Diaz. I know that it sounds like a strange reference, but even though I am a man, I read this book after talking about it with a friend of mine and Cameron Diaz puts all of this amazing knowledge into very simple words which, somehow, get inside your head without being a chore…
    If you have not read it yet, I am sure that you will enjoy this book a lot…

    Have a great weekend and thank you for everything you are doing. Keep-up the amazing work.