How to Feel Healthier in Exactly 30 Days
Spring is coming. You’re in the mood for a mini (and healthful) reset. These 30 tips will get you back on track in one month’s time.
Day 1: Drink a Glass of Water Right When You Wake Up
Yes, before coffee. A glass of water (warm water, in particular) helps stimulate your gastrointestinal tract so your body is better able to absorb nutrients and pass food through your system with ease, according to a study by the University of North Carolina.
Day 2: …Then Continuing Sipping It Throughout the Day
It’s one of the best things you can do for your health. (Seriously, it’ll keep your skin clear and your energy up. It will also boost your metabolism.)
Day 3: Bonus Points If You Add Fresh Lemon Juice
Squeeze just a little bit into your water glass and it will protect your immune system and could also help you lose weight. A win-win.
Day 4: …And Snack on Water-Filled Foods
Watermelon, cucumbers and pineapple all have high water content, so they have the same impact as drinking H2O. They’ll also help keep you full and satisfied longer than that bag of chips.
Day 5: Eat Breakfast
So you’re rushing to get out the door. We get it. But new research from Columbia University suggests that skipping this morning meal (or enjoying it too late in the day) can raise your risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. So, eat up.
Day 6: And Get Outside During Lunch
Yep, getting just a whiff of fresh air—for 20 minutes or less—is enough to improve your mood and reduce stress, according to Stanford University research. (The best-ever case for the walking meeting, right?)
Day 7: Or, Better Yet, Get Outside With a Friend or Colleague
Face-to-face catch-ups with pals (or colleagues you adore who are grabbing lunch at the same time as you) can cause oxytocin levels—aka happiness hormones—in your body to soar. Stress blocks oxytocin. Joyful conversations release it. Enough said.
Day 8: Set Aside Time to Do Some Meal Planning
Just you, Google and a timer set for 20 minutes. That’s the time it’ll take to map out the recipes you want to make (like this one or this one). Do this every Sunday morning before you head to the grocery store and you’ll cut calories two ways: 1) By cooking more and 2) by being more mindful about what you eat.
Day 9: …Or Watch a Funny Movie
A single viewing of Bridesmaids will help you burn 150 calories. (Laughing burns between 10 and 40 calories per 10 minutes, FYI.)
Day 10: Swap Happy Hour for Exercise With a Pal
Come on, replacing wine with a yoga session (or a Little Mermaid fitness class) can be just as fun and restorative.
Day 11: And Use a Grocery Basket Instead of a Cart
Wayyy better than your at-the-gym triceps workout. Promise.
Day 12: Do Jumping Jacks During Commercial Breaks
You have to wait out the Hulu ads anyway. Might as well burn 40 to 50 calories. (At the end of an hour-long episode, it really adds up.)
Day 13: And, Wherever Possible, Take the Stairs
Going up and down multiple flights (as long as you’re not lugging a suitcase) is the best way to improve your lung capacity. No joke.
Day 14: Make Yourself an Afternoon Cup of Green Tea
Aside from the fact that it helps ward off sickness, it can also help you lose weight and feel more energized and relaxed.
Day 15: Up Your Intake of Leafy Greens
Just because you’re eating out doesn’t mean you have to break the calorie bank. Ask for salad—or the veggie of the day—instead of that side of fries. (In most cases, restaurants will keep the price the same.)
Day 16: Go to Bed an Hour Earlier
The extra shut-eye will make it easier to wake up earlier. As a result, your whole day will run that much more smoothly. The goal.
Day 17: And Treat Yourself to a Massage
Even the ten-minute version at your local nail salon can work wonders when you’re feeling a tad run down.
Day 19: Turn Your iPhone Off
Plan to log off Instagram (and work email) at least an hour before bed to spare yourself over-stimulation from too much blue light. (It hinders melatonin production, FYI.)
Day 20: Backup Plan: Put It on“‘Night Shift” Mode
If you really can’t shut it down, this setting makes it a cinch to customize your iPhone’s color temperature according to your sleep cycle. Simply go to Settings, select Display and Brightness and then toggle the button to Scheduled. You can adjust the blue light from there.
Day 21: Make a List of All the Things You Love
It’s the best antidote to a to-do list filled with tasks you dread. (Jotting down things that make you happy helps re-focus your perspective. Hello, mood boost.)
Day 22: …And Jump Around to Relieve the Sudden Onset of Stress
The next time you can’t shake an anxious moment, duck into a private space and flail your arms or hop in place. It will jostle your lymphatic fluid, reset your nervous system and get feel-good endorphins pumping through your body. Yessss.
Day 23: Swap Dessert for Yogurt With Berries
It’s packed with healthy bacteria that aids digestion and wards off stress. Win-win.
Day 24: …Or Eat a Clementine
It not only fulfills half your daily vitamin C requirements—a single clementine contains 36 grams—the citrusy scent can improve your mood. (Yay, aromatherapy.)
Day 25: Experiment With Cutting Out Sugar (Even Just for 24 Hours)
Eating too much of it can increase depression and impede mental acuity, according to Harvard University. A trick to avoid it: At the grocery store, do your best to stick to the perimeter of the store. (The worst offenders lurk in the chips and cookie aisles. Eep.)
Day 26: …And Coffee
Caffeine dependency is real. See if you can go without it for a week (or heck, try a month). After you get through the withdrawal symptoms, you’ll likely see significant improvements in your mood and sleep.
Day 27: Tap Your Toes
Yep, fidgeting is healthy. (It will increase blood flow to your limbs, according to a study from the University of Missouri.)
Day 28: …And Plan a Night In
Sometimes, saying no and blocking off "me" time is the healthiest thing you can do. (Permission to try this for more than one night.)
Day 29: Walk Your Dog (or Someone Else’s)
Your daily goal is 10,000 steps. And a cute pup is the best-ever incentive to get out the door.
Day 30: …And, Once and For All, Stop Hitting Snooze
Running late is the worst. A trick: Set your alarm clock across the room. If you have to get out of bed to turn it off, you’re probably a lot less likely to get back in.