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10 Sustainable Health And Fitness Habits Everyone Can Adopt

10 Sustainable Health And Fitness Habits Everyone Can Adopt

“Get active,” they said. “It’s as simple as that,” they said.

We’ve all been on the receiving end of this tiring argument. But hey, the gym is way too crowded and pizza has just arrived, looking all steamy and irresistible. Tied down by our schedules or seduced by the world’s most sinful pleasures, we choose not to try. The truth is, developing healthy habits is a galaxy far, far away from easy, but that’s the whole point. After all, success is only sweet when it’s earned.

With a clear understanding that there’s no such thing as “just try, and you’ll see”, I offer you quick tips on how to start introducing healthy changes into your day-to-day routine. They demand a little time and sweat, but won’t give you beginner’s anxiety and frustration. Most importantly, they truly are simple to adopt – whatever your lifestyle choices might be. These 10 habits will prove sustainable and highly addictive, and, in time, they will motivate you enough to change your life completely.

1. It’s All About The Breakfast

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    We all have that one girl on our Instagram feed who’s ultra-fit. Day after day, she shares her pics straight from the gym, with her stomach still sweaty from the workout and a protein smoothie in her hand, looking just as irresistible as her toned abs. #Fitnessgoals, the caption says. But what Miss Perfect isn’t telling you is that she actually follows a dietary concept called the 85/15 rule.

    This simply means that around 85% of your daily calories should come from healthy food choices – food high in protein, like chicken, eggs, legumes and fish, nuts and olive oil for healthy fats, and plenty of fruit and vegetables throughout the day – and you can fill in the last 15% of your calories with your favorite snacks and junk food.

    Moderation is the true goal here, and the routine is effective simply because it offers a reward. But, how do you get there?

    Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic claims it’s all about the breakfast, and other professional athletes agree. In order to start introducing healthy eating habits, you have to start at the beginning – a bowl of nutrient-rich oatmeal, two tablespoons of honey, generously chopped nuts and seeds, a fruit infusion, coconut water and milk (non-dairy, if you are lactose intolerant) are just too tasty for anyone to say “no” to.

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    2. No Water, No Life

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      A large cup of water is an indispensable part of a lot of athletes’ morning rituals as well. It’s a boring tip, I’m aware, but it’s only because it actually works. As frequently mentioned, two liters a day is the goal you should shoot for if you want to stay properly hydrated throughout the day. It is, however, an average measure, which means that some people need less, and some – particularly caffeine addicts – need more. Consulting your doctor might be a good idea.

      Now, you might ask, “Why before a meal?” Well, water gives you a sense of fullness that keeps you from eating more than you actually need to. As for its general effects and benefits, I don’t believe that the ultimate elixir of life needs any particular introductions.

      In addition to keeping you energized throughout the day (energy levels tend to drop with dehydration), water increases metabolism, primes muscles, gives a natural makeover to your skin by relieving it from dryness and blemishes, and helps the heart pump faster and without any unnecessary effort.

      3. Love Your Veggies

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        Fiber, potassium, folic acid, vitamins A and E – by themselves, veggies are packed with beneficial nutrients that help dramatically lower the risk of almost every common health issues you can think of, from high blood pressure and heart disease to cancer and diabetes. But, even if they weren’t so good for you, they would still be better from their alternatives, which is why a plate half full of greens is a plate full of health.

        What’s even greater is that when prepared in an imaginative way, veggies are a delight to eat. Broccoli cheese soup makes even the bleakest of diets seductive, while still retaining the much-needed amount of health-promoting vitamins and minerals. If you’re just learning to love flexible dieting, a carrot grated directly onto your chicken breast sandwich will make it impossible to resist.

        Don’t listen to what your burger-loving taste buds tell you – surprise them with unique, straightforward, and utterly brilliant flavours of Asian-style sesame and garlic green beans, sautéed mushrooms, or cheesy Brussels sprouts. As long as your nutrition is diverse and you stay moderate in your choices, feel free to take the best of both worlds.

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        4. Pack Your Almonds

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          Healthy eating habits are so hard to develop, not because wholesome food is tasteless, but because it takes time to make it delicious. Besides, it’s much easier to stop at the nearest drive-in or have your specialties delivered to the door than to roll up your sleeves and get creative. If you are someone who rarely takes it slow, eating healthy is almost impossible.

          Most commonly, that’s why we all fail. Even if determined not to eat processed food at home, we usually fall for it during lunch breaks. On the other hand, preparing homemade meals for your lunchbox the night before is, let’s be honest, a drag. Luckily, there is a quick, yet better alternative you can try out.

          There are three elements you cannot afford to ignore in these cases: nuts, fruits, and whole wheat toasts. Hopefully, you don’t have to be reminded to buy fresh fruit every couple of days. In addition to those, always have a bag of almonds and a pack of miracle bread in your bag wherever you go. Insanely nutritious, wonderfully yummy, and gentle on your stomach, this combo will soothe you whenever there’s no other healthier solution for your hunger pains.

          5. Use Chopsticks, Practise Patience

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            So, your workout session has been long and effective, you’ve just taken your shower and now you feel like you’ve finally reached all of your fitness goals. And there’s a frozen yoghurt in the fridge, too, the one you’ve been thinking about in order to chase away the burn from your outer thighs. Unfortunately, the moment of sweet, sweet victory lasts for about a second, and before you know it, the glass is empty. And then, you reward yourself with Nutella, straight from the jar.

            For food lovers, that moment of pure delight is often too short, so we keep on eating to prolong the enjoyment. Eat slower, count your chews. Although obvious, this hack is usually unsustainable, since at the end of the day, we don’t exactly have the willpower needed for overcoming our urges.

            But what might work is ditching the fork and going Asian-style instead. Years ago, a mate gave me chopsticks for my birthday to encourage me to practise patience and it’s a piece of advice I’ve been passing on ever since.

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            6. Some Walks You Have to Take Alone

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              If regular exercises are not your strongest suit or you really don’t have any time to spare for frequent visits to the gym, you can still use your boots for walking even if you’re absolutely ignorant of everything that’s currently going on in the fitness universe. Stretching your legs at least three times a week is not a habit that needs to be developed – it’s an ability that separates you from the spiritless and disconsolate.

              Ditching your car might be the hardest thing on this list and possibly a habit that will take the longest to develop. If you’re driving to work, park at least a 10-minute walking distance away from the office. Not only will your heart be healthier, but by the time you finally reach home, your mind will be clearer and ready for new, exciting adventures that await you in your family nest. Ultimately, staying in shape is not all about being healthy, but being cheerful and enthusiastic about simple pleasures as well.

              7. Sweat Those Excuses Away

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                As a student, I’ve been in continual struggle with my bodyweight. Additionally, studying sessions were not particularly gentle on my back. Perpetual all-nighters were making me tired and snappy, while my kitchen remained pretty much unused. Until, one day, when I hit a wall and decided that enough was enough. My first goal – a 20-minute exercise routine.

                Having experienced the non-stop working regime firsthand, I no longer believe when people claim that they don’t have half an hour a day to commit to at-home physical training, because it’s simply not true. Getting ready, going to the gym and getting back home is a different thing, and it often lasts longer than the training program itself, but doing a routine in your own room every other night before going to bed is absolutely sustainable.

                YouTube is brimming with such routines and I guarantee you that you’ll work, sleep, and eat better once you’ve included them in your schedule. Along with a 10-minute worth of breathers and a 15-minute long shower, it’s a habit that requires an hour of your time and the one that will fully transform your mindset, health, and without any exaggeration, your life.

                8. Think In Mantras

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                  Meditation is something that has helped me out a lot in life, and it’s quite an easy habit to pick up. Though inseparable from physical exercising, healthy living concerns both the body and mind. I’ve found my peace through regular training, since it helps me clear and reset my mind as well, but incredible benefits of spiritual relaxation cannot be denied.

                  There’s plenty of meditation styles to choose from, from counting your breaths to just focusing on what you feel as you sit and letting each sensation and thought slowly pass away on its own. Beginners are advised to go small until they catch the pace, which is great news for busy people. For most, 10-20 minutes a day is quite enough to calm your mind, refresh your focus, and get ready for new battles.

                  9. Hug Your Pillow

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                    You’ve guessed it right – no health article can avoid discussing the massive importance of regular sleep, and mine is no exception. It is, after all, what balances our arduous daily efforts out and what allows us to dream on. And, when it comes to restoration techniques, nothing beats a good old ticket to slumber land.

                    The rules to improving your sleep cycle are clear and easy to follow. Go to bed and wake up every day at approximately the same time, be clever about naps, make your chambers tech-free and comfortably dark, and avoid coffee intake after 6-7 p.m.

                    Heavy sleepers, myself included, have all those brilliant alarm clock apps to lean on, while newfangled methods for reversing sleep cycles work even for the most notorious of night owls.

                    10. Have Fun! (Seriously)

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                      Last, but not least, remember to take deep breaths, soak up the sun, drink the stars and, celebrate your victories – however tiny they are. A healthy exterior starts from a healthy interior, where our universes are endlessly complex and beautiful. Once we learn to cherish their fragility and nurture their strength, the world will be a healthier place for all.

                      As you can see, it’s not that difficult to start adopting simple habits that can, eventually, lead you to a much healthier and happier lifestyle – just tough it out in the beginning and find a good source of motivation.

                      Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/u/psco/ via pexels.com

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                      Nemanja Manojlovic

                      Editor at MyCity Web

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                      Last Updated on March 30, 2020

                      Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

                      Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

                      Feeling tired all the time?

                      Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

                      I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

                      Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

                      If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

                      In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

                      What Happens When You’re Too Tired

                      If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

                      Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

                      • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
                      • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
                      • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
                      • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
                      • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
                      • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
                      • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

                      Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

                      Unfortunately, yes!

                      Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

                      Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

                      Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

                      Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

                      Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

                      Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

                      1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
                      2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
                      3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

                      The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

                      It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

                      Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

                      Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

                      If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

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                      Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

                      Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

                      But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

                      Symptoms of fatigue include:

                      • Difficulty concentrating
                      • Low stamina
                      • Difficulty sleeping
                      • Anxiety
                      • Low motivation

                      These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

                      Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

                      How Much Sleep Is Enough?

                      The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

                      Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

                      So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

                      The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

                      Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

                      Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

                      If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

                      And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

                      It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

                      4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

                      Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

                      1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
                      2. Exercising regularly
                      3. Using stressbusters
                      4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

                      So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

                      After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

                      In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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                      I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

                      Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

                      • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
                      • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
                      • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
                      • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

                      The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

                      And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

                      But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

                      L — Living Healthy

                      Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

                      So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

                      In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

                      As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

                      Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

                      1. Unplug

                      Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

                      So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

                      2. Unwind

                      Do something to relax.

                      Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

                      3. Get Comfortable

                      Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

                      Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

                      Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

                      Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

                      If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

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                      Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

                      This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

                      E — Exercise

                      Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

                      That’s what happened in my case.

                      But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

                      As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

                      My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

                      That made sense to me.

                      So, I decided to swim.

                      I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

                      Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

                      Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

                      So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

                      If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

                      A — Attitude

                      Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

                      When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

                      Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

                      Breathing.

                      But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

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                      Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

                      1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
                      2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
                      3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
                      4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
                      5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
                      6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

                      This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

                      When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

                      Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

                      N — Nutrition

                      Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

                      If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

                      Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

                      For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

                      Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

                      Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

                      1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
                      2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
                      3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
                      4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
                      5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
                      6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
                      7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
                      8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
                      9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

                      Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

                      That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

                      Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

                      The Bottom Line

                      If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

                      If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

                      If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

                      • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
                      • Regular Exercise You Love
                      • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
                      • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

                      Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

                      More Tips to Help You Rest Better

                      Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
                      [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
                      [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
                      [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
                      [5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
                      [6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
                      [7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
                      [8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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