Creating Healthy Habits at Home

Creating Healthy Habits at Home

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When life gets hectic, it can be easy to sacrifice our health. Neglecting sleep, exercise and nutrition can be the path of least resistance. But there are small steps you can take at home to keep your health on track in stressful times. I recommend you get started on these now.
Get rid of nightstand clutter. Getting enough rest is a foundation of good health, but it sure is easy to neglect the nightly ZZZs when life gets busy. A bedroom that feels restful and calm signals to your body and mind that it’s time to downshift from your hectic day.

To create a calm aura in your bedroom, start by tidying your nightstand and removing anything you no longer use or need. Think books you’ve already read, outdated magazines, unused hand lotions or items from your purse purge. Keep only those things you use, such as a lamp, alarm clock and phone, or that soothe you or bring you joy, such as a photo of a loved one, a small vase or a special book. Having just a few items on your nightstand makes it easier to keep clean and dust-free.

Designate an area for workout clothes and equipment. If your goal is to exercise several times a week, consider devoting a section of your dresser or closet to your workout clothes and towels. Keeping everything together will save you time since you won’t need to dig to find your outfits. This is especially helpful if you work out early in the morning and want to savor every last minute of sleep.

Similarly, keep your exercise equipment (yoga mats, weights, exercise balls) in one area (perhaps close to the TV if you stream a workout). I keep all the accessories I need for walking — sunglasses, hat, gloves, earphones, sunscreen — in a drawer in my entryway table. That way I can get out the door without delay. Prepack your gym bag with toiletries, towels and other personal items. After laundering, you can place items right back into the bag or your dedicated gym clothes space.

Clean out the fridge and pantry. If you have to dig through a lot of items just to gather the ingredients to make a dish, it’s going to be inconvenient for you to create healthful meals and you may resort to easier, less nutritious options. Don’t let refrigerator clutter be an obstacle. After tossing old and spoiled foods, group the remaining items by category — vegetables, fruits, meats, condiments, breakfast foods — to make them easier to find. If salad is a staple, consider putting all your salad ingredients on a tray or in a small basket so you can pull them all out at once. Similarly, group ingredients for sandwich or juicing — or whatever category you prepare frequently.

Plan time to unwind in an uncluttered space. Time reserved just for ourselves is good for the soul, but it can be hard to find room for it in our schedules. When my children were little and I had the rare moment to myself, I would waste time trying to decide what to do — clean the house or exercise; read a book or grocery shop in peace — and end up not doing much at all.

I recommend you schedule time in your calendar for yourself and respect the appointment as you would any other. I also recommend deciding ahead of time how you’ll spend your “me time,” so that you don’t fritter it away weighing the possibilities.

If you can’t relax during your unwind time because of clutter, then I recommend you use that time to work on eliminating it. Decluttering can be overwhelming, emotional and time-consuming, so be gentle on yourself while you do it. You’re making progress even if you take just 15 minutes a day to make decisions on your belongings. Often, physical decluttering can lead to emotional decluttering. Once you’ve decluttered a space, you may find it easier to relax and really unwind during your precious time to yourself.
If you can’t tackle decluttering alone, consider hiring a professional home organizer. A competent one will keep you on track with your goals, guide you through the decision process without judgment and help you plan your space so it works best for how you live. And working together means you’ll reach your goal faster.
Source:  Patricia Lee, Houzz contributor

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