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Published on October 17, 2018

Make These 17 Health Goals Into Daily Habits for Better Overall Wellness

Make These 17 Health Goals Into Daily Habits for Better Overall Wellness

Every day, we set goals to improve our overall wellness. But what if you could take those health goals you’re setting and transcend them into daily habits?

If you’ve envisioned yourself happier, healthier, and more energized, I’ve put together concrete steps you can take to get there.

The Importance of Setting Health Goals

Goals vary between big and small, achievable and maybe far-fetched. When setting goals, it’s important to do so in such a way that allows you to obtain them and naturally weave them into your daily life.

To create new habits, it can take up to sixty days to make them stick. I’ve noticed that when I try to accomplish huge goals, my efforts to turn them into daily rituals or routines doesn’t manifest the way I’d hoped.

Wellness takes practice. It means different things to different people. Being healthy means being peaceful, serene and joyful in your thoughts and mind–how you respond to events in this wacky world we live in and in your life.

Optimal health should always be your desired outcome. However, life can get in the way of making your health goals habitual.

Recently, I’d endured a major loss in my family and I definitely felt my health slip throughout these stages of grief. I found it a challenge to function day-to-day, finish tasks, and wound up isolating myself more. The work that I love doing became not so enjoyable because I couldn’t give myself the chance to grieve or process the loss. I kept piling on work to avoid feeling and couldn’t keep up with eating well, exercising and lost nights of sleep.

I am somebody who can’t afford to lose sleep nor am I somebody who can over-jam my schedule. I am someone who needs to keep up with those good habits for the sake of my heart, mind, and physical health. I believe this is relative for everybody.

When you’re stressed or emotionally distressed, your heart is one of the first organs in your body that will feel the pain and react.

Life will throw those unexpected curve balls at you, so it’s critical to sustain those habits. Turn your quest for balance and good health into actionable steps that slowly become routines.

17 Health Goals That Will Transform Your Life

Don’t attempt to force habits. It’s OK if it takes a while to really get in the groove and adjust. So, here are the seventeen health goals that you can make into habits to become your healthiest self.

1. Develop Your Morning Routine

How you start your day matters tremendously. The way you greet a morning determines what mood you’ll be in that entire day.

If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, rush to get dressed, shove something in your mouth and hustle to work, you’ll most likely feel rattled.

A morning routine will help you ease into your day and start off on the right foot. If you’ve had a health goal to have more time in the mornings, start in fifteen minute increments. Wake up a fifteen minutes earlier each day until you’re happy with the time.

More time in the mornings means more time and attention to work obligations and people you care most about.

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Here’re 30 Morning Routines to Help You Start Afresh.

2. Develop Your Evening Routine

An evening routine can consist of reading, Yoga, cleaning and organizing, or doing an exercise.

Winding down is critical for mental health management. Come 7:00 or 7:30 P.M., that’s when you might want to start allowing your brain and mind to relax.

Your evening routine can entail anything that promotes peace and serenity. If something relaxes you and gets you prepared for bed, do that.

To make a health goal into a habit, set a time to stop working. The time I quit working is at 5:30 P.M. I cook dinner and after, my evening routine begins.

Need a little more advice? This guide can help:

The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

3. Walk for Thirty Minutes a Day

At a recent medical conference I’d attended, I learned about meditative walking. The sound of your shoes hitting the ground intervenes in troublesome thoughts. Feeling planted on the pavement anchors your mental and emotional state, keeps you stable.

I walk a couple times a day for my heart health–in the early afternoon and evening to activate my heart rate.

Inactivity is dangerous for anyone, with or without heart disease. A regular routine of walking will decrease stress and increase a peace in the mind.

4. Incorporate More Greens on Your Plate

Over the last couple of years, I created a rule for my plate:

Always have something green included.

Greens, especially dark leafy greens, have a broad array of benefits from healthier skin, vision, and energy to stronger kidneys and organs.

I’d noticed significant improvement in my overall well-being when I incorporated something green even in my breakfast.

Clean eating will lessen all kinds of aggravating symptoms. This is something you’ll want to do over time.

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Start off slow by adding greens to your dinner or lunch plate. Any kind of dietary change takes time, some effort and planning. But it’s all worthwhile.

5. Use Aroma Therapy for Stress Management

Essential oils truly are essential to wellness. In times of stress, I will dip a cotton ball into lavender oil, chamomile or eucalyptus and tie it in a tea bag.

Throughout the day, when I’m feeling flustered or rushed, I slow down and breathe in the oils. I’d feel drastic changes to my mental and emotional state and refreshed.

Aroma therapy has been used for thousands of years as tools for healing. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try different ways of using essential oils throughout the day or at night.

6. Engage in Nature Therapy

There are a variety of nature therapies you can do to lower your stress and anxiety. I recently learned about tree therapy from an international blogger. I tried it over the summer and am still doing it.

It’s originally a Japanese practice called, ‘Forest Bathing’ and it’s radically improved health in people. All you do is surround yourself with trees. The concept is to be free from obligations, effort, and doing.

Don’t hike or count your steps. Just be present. Focus on all five of your senses. It’s revitalizing and energy restoring. Try doing this for ten minutes a day and see how you feel.

7. Inhale Fresh Air Fifteen Minutes a Day

Fresh air opens the lungs, the heart and the mind. It’s a collaborative process with yourself and nature.

Sometimes I’ll sit with my eyes closed in a safe place and breathe in the pine-scented air. I made this a daily habit now because being outside is emotionally and mentally healing.

A benefit of breathing in fresh air is it sharpens your mind and restores your energy, digestive system, and improves blood flow.

8. Try This Simple Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique for Anxiety

A diaphragmatic breathing technique I learned has allowed me to tackle anxiety the second it comes on, thus aiding in cognitive functioning.

If you’re anxious or overly stressed all the time, your system will operate as if you’re always in fight or flight. Deep breathing slows all the systems in your body down. It clears your mind of troubled or worrisome thoughts.

Try this:

Inhale through your nose four times and exhale, making a sound as you breathe out. Repeat it four times and be wowed by the results. You’ll feel much calmer.

9. Devote 10 Minutes of Stretching in Your Day

Stretching is needed to strengthen, repair, and grow muscles. Every day, I use the Styrofoam roller which you can buy on Amazon or even eBay. I’d never thought Styrofoam would cost so much but it’s worth every penny.

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Before and after I work out, I use it and then stretch. I do a fifteen-minute routine right at home on my living room floor.

As someone with chronic pain, I’ve noticed drastic improvement when I focus on increasing flexibility.

Stretching also fosters movement. A long day at work calls for time to decompress and release the stress of your day.

You can also try these simple stretches to relax your body and mind.

10. Take Naps

Within the last couple of years, managers of corporations and other companies have been allowing their employees to take naps in the middle of the day.

A nap will revitalize your physical energy and mind; and refresh your eyes and focus.

Since I’ve added naps to my daily regimen, my productivity increased by seventy percent. Naps are a great way to give yourself the break it needs.

11. Organize Your Home or Work Space for 15 Minutes

Fifteen minutes of cleaning will save you so much time.

Did your old routine used to consist of abandoning those chores during the week only to be slammed with them come Saturday and Sunday? Have you found yourself canceling plans with friends because life feels like such a mess in your home? It’s not a good place to be.

Fifteen minutes of cleaning a night (or morning, whichever works best) will add time to your life. Your home should be your oasis. A clean place is vital for stress management.

12. Morning Pages

You can really do this in the morning or night. Dump your thoughts on paper before you start a work day.

After I’d read the book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I tried her morning pages activity. It’s a form of letting go of that added weight that life gives us: career, hobbies, kids, family, worries, burdens, you name it. This technique of free-writing your thoughts should move you away from fear and back to your creative or hard-working self, the one who is fearless in their pursuits.

After I did the morning pages, I wrote a novel in a month and felt extremely accomplished. This type of writing is freeing and will release you from the burdens you feel holds you back.

13. Schedule Moments of Silence

Just ten minutes of silence can have profound impacts on your mental health.

I used to be somebody who needed something to make me happy, something to make me feel OK another day. I basically needed things in my life to be happening or I’d feel insecure.

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When I started penciling in moments of silence, I got to the root cause of why that got so out of control, the need and desire to always be seeking something. These moments of silence should give your mind pause, a break from tedious thoughts.

For me, doing this has improved my depression and anxiety astoundingly.

14. Include Writing in Your Morning or Evening Routine

I know this relates to the morning pages but not exactly. This you can do in three to five minutes. I’d been talking about this method of writing for years and it’s finally catching on (yes, I started this).

Try logging what you accomplished each day and what you need to do the next. Create a comprehensive outline showcasing how much you’ve achieved and what else needs attention. You’ll be amazed when you realize how much you’ve done in a day and hopefully will stop being so hard on yourself.

I am very hard on myself, unnecessarily so, and it’s unhealthy for the heart and mind. This approach to writing saved me in a lot of ways.

15. Wake up at a Set Time Each Morning

If you wake up at 7:00 in the morning, always wake up at 7:00 in the morning. A set sleep schedule will keep your circadian rhythm the same, which you want. Then, you’ll be able to predict those dips and rises in alertness each day.

If you have dietary restrictions or want to start eating healthy, keeping your sleep pattern steady and the same will make healthy eating easier.

16. Establish an Invigorating Skin-Care Routine

Whether you’re a man or a woman, have some kind of skin-care routine or time to wash those impurities away.

A regimen promotes anti-aging and will make you feel and look good. Morning and night, try something simple and effective to help you either wind down or wake up.

17. Dry Brushing

The benefits of dry brushing are amazing. If you struggle with anxiety and stress chronically, dry brushing is the way to relax. It’s perfect for increasing circulation, blood flow, and positive energy.

Recent studies show that dry brushing is also beneficial for the nerves. The action of dry brushing eliminates dead skin cells and promotes healing.

Bottom Line

A lot is in that list but bottom line: incorporating even the smallest goals and making them habits will transform your health in some way. You can pick and choose which best suit your needs but I do just about all of these daily now. If you’ve fallen off the wellness wagon, try doing a few of these regularly. Turning health goals into habits will transform your well-being in ways you’d never imagined and you’ll feel unstoppable.

Featured photo credit: morgan sarkissian via unsplash.com

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Tessa Koller

Author and Motivational Public Speaker

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Published on November 14, 2018

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
  • mental blocks
  • lack of motivation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

Causes of Fatigue

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

Thyroid disease

An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sleep 
  • Alcohol and drugs 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
  • Poor diet 

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

Psychological Causes of Fatigue

Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

1. Tell The Truth

Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

  • How you feel
  • What time of day it is
  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
  • How your mind and body reacts

This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

2. Reduce Your Commitments

When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

4. Express More Gratitude

Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

5. Focus On Yourself

Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

7. Take a Power Nap

When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

8. Take More Exercise

The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

9. Get More Quality Sleep

To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

10. Improve Your Diet

Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

11. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

12. Get Hydrated

Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
[2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
[3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
[4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
[5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
[6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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