I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty healthy person. At one point, I would have said that I’m a really healthy person—that is, until “wellness” became a trend.
To me, I’ve always found that the concept of “wellness” to be intimidating and have felt that it did more harm to me than good. Seeing Instagram accounts post about all of the things they do for their body every day didn’t make me feel inspired or informed, it made me feel like I could never possibly do enough for myself. I don’t think this is the case for everyone—I think that information can be wonderful and motivating to people—but it left me questioning if I was ever really healthy at all.
But after consuming an endless stream of wellness information for my job, I’ve realized that most “wellness trends” are just pretty simple things people have always done to stay healthy—myself included. Thinking of them as just healthy habits instead of any kind of trend helps me to keep up with them, and for them to just be an effortless part of my day-to-day life. These are the 10 things I do to feel my best—no miracle cures promised.
1. I get at least 30 minutes of exercise in every day
Yes, this is absolutely the most basic health habit in the book, but it really is the one that matters most to me. If I could recommend one thing over anything else in the world, it would be an Apple Watch. I’ve had mine for about seven months, and it has changed my physical fitness for the better by a mile—needing to hit a goal every day for calorie burn, standing hours, and exercise minutes motivates me because it feels like a game and gives me something tangible to work toward every day.
I believe everyone is different, and finding a workout that you truly love isn’t always easy—and for me, it entails a lot of trial and error. I’ve found that I feel my best after really sweaty workouts that make me feel exhausted because no matter how hard I try, I really can’t get into yoga or any slower workout—and that’s OK! Tune out what’s trendy in the moment, and move any way that makes you feel your best.
2. I always take the stairs
Another tried-and-true trick that now is second nature to me: always taking the stairs does add up over time, especially if you can do it where you live (full disclosure: I only live on the third floor of my building, so it’s not much to brag about). I also apply this in parking lots—if I can park a little further, I do to get more steps in. Easy, peasy.
3. I walk anywhere I can
In my experience, people either love to walk or absolutely hate it, and I’ve always fallen in the former. Putting headphones in and listening to music and walking to your friends’ house or the store instead of taking an Uber or driving can blow off some steam in a way that isn’t also over-exerting. It’s a simple, foolproof way to get some fresh air and feel a little bit better throughout your day. This has been especially helpful during isolation, where it’s harder to get in as much movement as I’m used to.
4. I wear SPF—every single day
One year ago, I could not have said this, but it was an easy thing to add to my daily routine that takes absolutely no effort. I have noticed such a difference in my skin since I started applying SPF daily, rain or shine, and feel happy knowing I’m doing something for myself that is making me healthier in the long-run.
5. I drink tea (a lot of tea)
I grew up in a household with a dad who only drinks coffee, and a mom who only drinks tea. This instilled in me a deeply unhealthy addiction to all forms of caffeine, but more importantly, exposed me to a million different teas throughout my life. A cup of green tea with some lemon is one of my favorite things to consume, and it’s a hell of a lot better for me than a second cup of coffee (with vanilla creamer—I am who I am!). Different herbal teas can offer a host of different healthy additions to your day, and experimenting and finding out which ones you love can feel like a nice little treat added to your day.
6. I drink water before anything else in the morning
I am an avid water drinker. I am known for being an annoying person that carries a massive reusable water bottle with me wherever I go. Consuming an exorbitant amount of water every day hasn’t ever been hard for me, but what is hard? My exhausted self consuming anything at all before coffee in the morning. But forcing myself to down a glass of water on an empty stomach has made me feel more energized and less dehydrated as a whole throughout the day, so I continue to put my coffee on pause until some water gets in my system.
7. I drink a smoothie every day
You can put literally anything into a smoothie, but if you add fruit to it, it just tastes like fruit and masks the gross stuff—I don’t really understand how, but it’s true and it’s close to a miracle. I keep my freezer stocked with frozen fruit and add lots of greens and chia seeds in, and it just turns into a yummy little meal. Whenever I skip out on this, I feel like I didn’t get enough fruits and veggies in throughout the day, so I try to make one for breakfast whenever I can to avoid forgetting to drink one.
8. I meal prep
I am one of the world’s worst cooks. Maybe it’s because I hate cooking, maybe it’s because I just don’t have the touch, but the only thing that has made this process less tortuous to me is meal prepping. I have a horrible habit of waiting too long to eat a meal and then being so ravenous that I eat everything in sight, so to avoid this, I meal prep some basic food every week to avoid making yet another frozen pizza. If you have sworn off of meal prepping, I promise you that you should give it another try. It’s the easiest way to make sure you’re getting healthy meals in throughout the week.
9. I read before bed
A couple of months ago, I was having the worst sleep of my life. I couldn’t fall asleep, I couldn’t stay asleep, and then when it came time to wake up, I was exhausted and miserable. I had always politely ignored the advice to turn screens off before bed, but desperate times called for desperate measures. I couldn’t just leave my phone and computer in the other room and lay down and fall asleep, so I started reading instead and found that within 20 minutes or so, it made me feel at ease and sleepy, and I could dose right off. It felt like such a miracle that I stuck to it, and now consistently turn off Netflix at a specific time to swap it for a book.
10. I cook for myself whenever I can
To be fair, I didn’t start doing this by choice, but eating out in any capacity has a history of upsetting my stomach so much that I’ve started making every single meal that I can at home—down to small things like breakfast sandwiches. It’s crazy that I can get a breakfast sandwich from Starbucks and get sick, but make the same thing at home and be completely fine, and I don’t want to think too deeply about what that probably means about eating out, but man, do I feel better when I don’t.