There are thousands of reasons why people choose to be healthy.
Maybe you have a sport that you want to compete in, a health concern you want to eradicate, or maybe you just want to look good naked. I’ll be honest – the latter played a big part in the deal for me.
Whatever your initial reason for choosing to be healthy, it probably came with a bunch of other unexpected benefits. Sooner rather than later, you come to realise just how good your body is designed to feel. You never felt bad before – but now you’ve set a new benchmark, why would you want to go back?
If you want to discover what being healthy really feels like, follow these 25 tips to boost your energy levels and feel awesome every day!
#1 - Wake up without an alarm (or use a smart alarm)
Our bodies naturally sleep in cycles of 90 – 120 minutes, during which time we transition from light sleep into deep sleep, and finally into REM sleep, the most restorative sleep stage.
When we wake naturally (without the use of an alarm clock), we do so at the end of a sleep cycle. When the alarm clock goes off, however, we often wake up in the middle of an incomplete sleep cycle – sending a jolt of cortisol through our body and leaving us feeling groggy all morning.
In an ideal world, we would all be able to wake up naturally when our body dictates; but when we have work to get to, this obviously isn’t practical. If you have to be up by a certain time, I recommend a smart alarm clock that works with your natural sleep cycles, such as the Sleep Cycle App, or a Lumie BodyClock that gently transitions the room from dark to light to mimic a sunrise.
#2 - Start the day with warm lemon water
After being asleep for 8 hours, the most important thing to do before anything else is to rehydrate. Warm lemon water helps to wake up the digestive system and kick-start your metabolism, helping you to feel healthy and energetic throughout the rest of the day.
#3 - Get outside
Whether it’s walking the dog or reading the morning paper in the garden, try to get yourself outside and into natural light as soon after waking as you can. The bright light from the sun will help to regulate your circadian rhythm, increase your vitamin D levels and release a cocktail of ‘wake up’ hormones to set you up for the day.
#4 - Stretch
Stretch and mobilise your muscles and joints to get the blood flowing and increase your core temperature. Start from the bottom upwards – rotate your ankles, stretch out your calves, hamstrings, and mobilise your hips, elbows, shoulders. You’ve been lying in one position all night, so it’s time to get moving!
#5 - Take a probiotic
Take a probiotic in the morning to help keep your digestive system healthy. A healthy digestive system means greater nutrient absorption from the food you eat, leaving you feeling much more healthy and energetic.
If you don't take a probiotic, try to eat some fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi at some point during the day.
#6 - Eat some fruit
We know that fruit is one of the healthiest things we can eat, but did you know it is best eaten first thing in the morning on an empty stomach?
This is because fruit digests very fast, so when eaten with ‘heavier’ foods it can be hard to break down efficiently. Pineapple is one of my favourite fruits to start the day with, as it encourages the production of bromelain, an enzyme which helps digestion. Start your day with a couple of servings of fruit, either on its own or in a smoothie, and feel awesome.
#7 - Exercise
Get your exercise in early to release endorphins and leave you feeling great for the rest of the day. Try and make time for some sort of exercise each day; a gym session, some yoga, or even just a leisurely walk. Take your exercise outside to soak up even more vitamin D goodness.
#8 - Enjoy a healthy breakfast
If breakfast isn’t your favourite meal of the day, you're not doing it right! I always recommend a higher protein breakfast to provide sustained energy without any slumps throughout the day. Take your time to enjoy it – don’t try and wolf it down on the train to work!
#9 - Drink Green Tea
For it’s metabolism-boosting, age-defying, toxin-eliminating properties. Just 1 or 2 cups each day of this stuff really makes you feel awesome.
#10 – Move more
Whatever your day job may be, try and incorporate as much movement as possible to keep you feeling energised. If you work in an office, try to get away from the screen every hour and go for a walk – or, even better, invest in a standing desk. Studies have proved the human brain to perform better when the body is active, so you’ll be more productive too.
#11 – Take lunch outside
Never do anything indoors that can be done outdoors. This includes eating; so take your lunch break outside (weather permitting), breathe deeply, and soak up all the sunlight that you can. Humans need sunlight just as much as plants.
#12 - Eat a rainbow
Different colours on your plate means different nutrients and antioxidants. Lunchtime is the perfect time to pile your plate high with lots of colours in your favourite salad – think carrots, beets, tomatoes, spinach, red onion, avocado, pumpkin seeds, or anything else bright and colourful you can get your hands on.
#13 - Pay attention to how you feel after eating
We’re all different, so a food that is ‘healthy’ for one person may not be so healthy for you. Pay attention to how your body feels after eating certain foods. If you’re bloated, sluggish, or suffering from headaches after eating a particular food, cut it out for 30 days to allow your system to heal.
#14 – Simplify
Cut your to do list in half. Throw out the baggage that’s holding you back. Focus on the things that matter. You don’t have to be ‘busy’ all the time.
#15 – Drink lots of water
Your brain, kidneys, liver, digestive system and skin will all thank you. Drink out of glass and avoid plastic wherever possible. And try not to drink too much with your food.
#16 - Chill out
Stress impacts virtually every function in your body, including your digestion, your sleep, and even the rate at which you store fat. If you want to feel awesome each day, take steps to chill out and manage your stress levels. When things get on top of you, take a few deep belly-breaths to reduce cortisol levels and help your body return to a parasympathetic (resting) state.
#17 - Learn
Maintain an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Listen to people you meet. Learn new skills. Read. Whatever you do, never stop growing.
#18 - Eat more green foods
The more green things you can eat, the better. Green foods get their pigment from a compound called chlorophyll, which has powerful antioxidant properties, promotes cellular healing and enhances ATP energy. If you struggle to eat enough greens, I recommend a high quality greens powder for use in your favourite smoothies and juices.
#19 - Try new things
Whether it’s a new fruit or vegetable, a new workout or a new hobby. Variety is the spice of life.
#20 - Eat carbs at dinner
Anyone who has been following my articles for a while knows that I’m a huge advocate of carbs at dinner. Eating carbohydrates with your evening meal helps encourage the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps your body transition into ‘night mode’ and prepares you for a healthy sleep. Just make sure you choose the right sources of carbs – starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, white potatoes, yams, squash and plantains are my favourites.
#21 - Have some chocolate for dessert
Do you really need me to tell you that eating chocolate will make you feel awesome!? Chocolate contains a compound called phenylethylamine (PEA), a proven mood enhancer, and also triggers the release of endorphins.
#22 - Turn off screens in the evening
The blue light emitted from computers, tablets and smartphones stimulates the brain into thinking it’s day time – making it hard for you to wind down in the evening. To properly prepare for a good night's sleep, turn off your screens at least an hour before bed.
#23 - Drink a herbal tea
A relaxing herbal tea in the evening is the perfect way to help you wind down and chill out. I recommend chamomile tea, which has been used for centuries as a mild aid to sleep. If you don’t get on with chamomile, try a soothing mug of chai.
#24 - Take magnesium
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant and stress reliever, and clinical trials have shown it to improve both sleep quality and duration. I recommend 300mg of magnesium around 30 minutes before bed.
#25 - Aim for 8 hours sleep every night
Feeling awesome every day starts between the sheets, so schedule a good night’s rest every night to reach your full potential the next morning. Try to go to bed at roughly the same time each night to keep your circadian rhythm in check – you’ll wake up feeling energised and ready to tackle the day ahead.
What makes you feel awesome?