4 free habits that will improve your well being today





1.  Go for a jog or long walk.

On May 1st I started adding a simple HIT workout to my daily routine.  HIT stands for High Intensity Training but don't let that scare you.  From the first day I tried it, I've been hooked.  You start by walking 2 or 3 minutes and then run as fast as you can for 20 seconds.  Then repeat that 2 additional times.  The total workout is only 8-10 minutes long but the results are pretty amazing.  The reason I keep at it is because no matter how much I'm dragging, after this simple and free workout I have so much energy.  It wakes me up and revitalizes me.  It really does.  HERE are some other examples of free HIT workouts to investigate.







2.  Breathe deeply.

Omgosh how often do I forget to breathe deeply?!  A lot.  It will mostly be during social situations that make me nervous or on edge.  I'll find I am making the problem worse by not slowing down and taking deep breaths. Deep, calming breathes are as effective as tranquilizers and so much healthier for us.  HERE is a list of additional benefits of deep breathing.




3.  Get some sun.

What?  As an esthetician it may seem odd that I'm recommending spending any time in the direct sun but research shows that getting enough Vitamin D every day is vital to good health.  I'm so fair that I have to be very careful not to burn and I keep my face out of the direct sun with a hat because of previous skin cancers. But I will say that our afternoon swim in full sunshine has done wonders for my mood and overall feeling of wellness.








4.  Get good sleep.

The effects of poor sleep and/or not enough deep sleep have been well documented but did you know that the symptoms of poor sleep can mimic depression and anxiety and actually increase your appetite? You can read more about that HERE.   Sleep is so sacred to me.  I have a definite nightly routine that I follow to get the deepest sleep.  Bath, read in bed (from a book) and lights out early, by 9pm.  Early to bed, early to rise turns out to be really really good advice.

There are lots more little things like this, such as eating more fresh vegetables, fruit, beans and lentils that all do wonders for our health.  When I was young I could cut corners and get away with it but now that I'm staring down 60 these little things add up and are helping me feel good each day.

What little tricks would you like to share?

PS - Thank you all so much for all the amazing gardening advice you left.  I have a lot of decisions to make and am so grateful for all you've shared.  I love our little community here.  Don't you?!  xo


54 comments

  1. What a lovely post! And so true. Having had health issues for the last 8-10 years it became imperative that I make major changes in my life. Diet changes, managing stress, improving my sleep along with many other things has changed my life for the better. I will add that the one trick that I can add that I believe has helped the most is daily meditation. It was difficult at first but as time has passed I've come to realize how critical meditation is for my well being. Certainly a game changer for me.

    Thanks so much for this post! Have a lovely weekend.

    Belinda

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    1. thank you for bringing that up belinda. meditation or prayer is so soothing i don't know how i left it off the list. the benefits are astronomical! thank you for sharing. xo

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  2. I am staring down 60 too, but with bad knees! Years of running and jogging exacerbated this, in addition to being overweight. I saw a great, young physical therapist who has urged me to practice a kind of "mind over matter" regarding any pain. Yes, our brains really can control the pain we feel. Also, I am now eating super healthy and have lost 12 pounds in six weeks. Did you know that each extra pound is times 6 on your joints? Ouch! I am also bicycling for 30 minutes each day, a good non-weight bearing exercise. More pounds to lose, but I can already feel the difference in my knees. Thanks for your tips!

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    1. wow isabella, 12 lbs in 6 weeks! that's impressive. i'm so grateful my knees and joints are still working after years of running. and i agree on the mind over matter theory bc i had 3 children all natural without any pain meds at all. and i have tons of friends who did the same. if that isn't mind over matter then what is???!!! xoxo

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  3. Ha, I'm 32 and I follow this advice! I also do HIT, but for me it is 1-3 times a week plus some longer runs; after bad years of insomnia I'm religious about sleep; and I don't avoid the sun but I try to be smart about it. Glad to know what works for me to feel better at 32 than 22 will also continue to work later on.

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    1. thanks amy for sharing. glad to know you are doing HIT also and that it works for you. happy to hear you've cured your insomnia. can you share how you did it? thanks. xoxo

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  4. Thanks for a lovely post, Janet. Well I'm staring at 60 through rear view mirror. Not a pretty sight but better than the alternative, as they say.
    I guess humour gets me through those difficult days.
    My doc recommends 20 mins a day exposing face and forearms to sun between 11am and 3pm, April to October, to provide us Brits with sufficient Vitamin D for the year. I follow that simple guidance plus sea swims when I can to reinvigorate.

    All free.

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    1. oh gosh humor! how did i forget that too?! laughing can do wonders for us. thanks for sharing and i'm jealous of your sea swims. xoxo

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  5. I'll be 60 next month and absolutely need to make some changes. I'm overweight with all the associated aches and pains that go with it. I'm also sleeping horribly lately which doesn't help. I found a tip that I actually believe is working to help me get to sleep. It's called 4,7,8 (I think) you breath in deeply for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7 and let it out in 8 seconds. I swear it's working. Concentrating on the breaths keep the mind from wandering all over the place (damn chain link fence next door) and I'm hoping with some sleep I'll have some energy to get out and do what I have to do to take care of myself. Fingers crossed it keeps working!
    Deb

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    1. thanks for sharing deb. i learned that breathing technique in a restorative yoga class i used to take. it's wonderful how it shuts out all the noise in my head. glad you are taking steps to improve your health and i'm sure it will all work! best wishes. xoxo

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  6. Love this post!!!

    I am always baffled by people who don't exercise- we get 1 body and you really should look after it- for walking is essential. I was doing HIT without knowing I was doing it! When R was here last week we did a big early morning power walk around my suburb. Such good chat and good for the body too.

    My tip is to tell everyone I love that I love them every time I see them. This is free and makes everyone happy.

    You never know what's going to happen, it's important to say it.

    Also, have a passion- reading, gardening, craft whatever and DO IT!! It's important to nurture the soul.

    LOVE YOU J! xxxxxx

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    1. i adore this tip K. to verbalize our love for each other is such great advice. we all think it but get busy and don't say it. i try to hug everyone too. lol thanks for sharing and i love you too. xoxo

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    2. Such a wonderful post, Janet, with the beautiful and serene presentation that is your special gift. Over the years, bit by bit, each piece has become part of my Standard Operating Procedure, wish I had know how much each would bring to me years earlier! And the perfect addenda, FF--tuning in to what you love, and realizing how much of that is the people you love. Focusing your attention there, living it and saying it--yes to that! Thanks for all of the virtual love you both share with us, it is fully reciprocated! XXOO

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    3. Love this post Janet! Also love your comment FF! Bed times are a funny thing. I'm like you, Janet. I feel very best when I go to bed early and wake up early. Morning is my favorite time of day and I am just happiest in those early hours. But I know some people who feel best and get most done by staying up very very late. I think it all depends. Understanding ones own sleep is a really wonderful insight to have. I used to struggle terribly with sleep and started keeping a journal of what time I went to bed and what time I woke up and how I felt about each. It was easy for me because I'm a dream journaler anyway. I could see how it sounds ridiculous but it can be interesting how much better you feel sleeping in 15 min later/waking up 30 min earlier/whatever.
      I completely agree about having passions that allow you to be completely consumed while zoning out too. I have constant moods and am often trying to shake a bad feeling about something and one of the best ways for me is to park in one spot, and just take photos of whatever is in that area. Exploring and noticing details always makes me feel better. Also it seems the minuscule effort is always rewarded by an unexpected, beautiful sight. It's amazing the things you see when you're paying attention!
      But I'm also a firm believer in a well timed cocktail, doughnut, or combination thereof. Pouring a cocktail is part of my strict routine of low intensity workouts.

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    4. oh SAJ you are such a delight. really you are to all of us. your last sentence is gold. xoxo

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  7. I love everything you're saying here. I, too, very much believe in a nighttime ritual, preparing for sleep (turning down the lights 'way ahead of time, unwinding the mind, etc.). My husband is having bad sleep but he persists in looking at a blue screen right up to going to bed and also listening to news radio...and having caffeine too late in the day...but will he listen to me (or reason)? No!! I'm going to give him your link on breathing; I bet it will help. More than one person I know is trying to get in a habit of shutting down the computers at 6pm and trying to recreate 'an evening' unplugged (this includes their phones; constant intrusion it seems). Thanks for the nice post.

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    1. vicki i'm guilty of the blue screen too. so much of what i love to read is right here on the computer but turning it off and switching to a real book has made such a big impact on my sleeping habits. i look forward to slipping into bed with the book and surrounded by things that comfort me, fresh sheets, photographs of loved ones, plants and a glass of water. when all that is in place i can drift off....xoxo

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  8. Hi Janet,

    Great tips and all are so important to our health! I make a smoothie every morning for my husband and I. Banana, frozen berries, a little O.J. & pomegranate juice, kale, hemp seed and just a touch of yogurt. It's a great way to get a lot of your servings of fruits & veggies at once.

    Oh how I wish I could do #1 right now...still can't go walking with my PF and haven't in 5 months. It's KILLING me! At least I have been able to ride my stationary bike and do weights. Although it's much improved, now I have a tendon next to my achilles that I strained somehow that bothers me periodically. I have an appt. with another podiatrist for a 2nd opinion but can't get in for another month.

    I was anxious a couple weeks ago...really stressed out. I went and sat and did some deep breathing exercises and felt better immediately.

    I have read that about the sun exposure as well. I have spent so many years avoiding the sun I think that may have contributed to my osteoporosis. I have made a habit this summer of wearing my shorts when I go out to water my roses a few times a week which takes about 10-15 minutes. Just about the right amount and my legs have a little color too!

    Sleep? What's that? O.K. I'm off to bed now.

    Hope to see you on the 18th!! :)

    Linda
    xo

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    1. it might be too late linda but have you tried swimming? i never thought i'd like it as much as i have this summer. it saved us from that horrible heat. but it does sound like it is improving and you are doing better. yes that is all it takes, 10-15 minutes a day. i was sorely lacking in this. looks like the 18th is working for us both. so excited. xoxo

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    2. P.S. I had thought of swimming, I have one neighbor with a pool a couple doors down. My next door neighbor used to go over there to use their pool from time to time for her fibromyalgia.

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  9. Great advice! I'd like to add two things. Drink plenty of water and drink alcohol only in moderation (I learned recently at my annual physical what that really means, now I'm keeping track). The second one is stretch. Staying flexible can ward off age-related mobility issues and improves balance.
    Claudia

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    1. claudia i've just about given up drinking alcohol bc it messes with my sleep! good advice. and i can't agree more about the stretching. so vital to our muscles and joints. remember the video My Friend Maya! xoxo

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  10. 4 is manageable. :-)

    "... and lights out early, by 9pm."

    you have no idea, how much I envy you and your night routine.
    9pm ... I have to try this.

    I wonder, if people in the US go to bed earlier, if there is a tradition in the US while people in Europe go to bed later?

    The caffeine intake in Europe is quite high, coffee is stronger ... (I remember a rock band on stage in Vienna and the lead singer talked to the audience between to songs: I was on a caffeine trip, had too much coffee. He was used to weaker coffee and was miserable.)

    You can tell, your 4 habits give me food for thought.

    have a lovely weekend,
    Paula

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    1. PS: the band was from the US.

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    2. thank you paula. i don't think people here go to bed any earlier. everyone i know stays up late but i just can't do it any longer. i love going to bed early. lol, i guess that makes me old. and i'm ok with that. interesting about the caffeine too. i'm caffeine sensitive so my cutoff is pretty early in the day. thanks for sharing. xoxo

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  11. 64 is in the headlights here (4 days)! Great advice. I cannot understand people not exercising. How simple is it to lace up a pair of shoes and go out and take a walk. Good for the soul good for the body. Even better if you can find a friend or friends to join you or if you are by yourself there are so many interesting podcasts to listen to, or just enjoy nature and clear you mind. You can start slow and increase your mileage if you want, just do it. I'm up to 4 miles a day and find if I do this amount I can maintain my current weight easily.

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    1. thanks for sharing becky. i see you are up early too! i wonder what time you went to bed?! lol

      yep, just lace them up and you are off. i no longer listen to my ipod while walking bc i want to be more aware of my surroundings and also bc i love the sounds of nature. 4 miles is impressive and inspirational. xoxo

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  12. SOUNDS Like YOU have found the RIGHT solution for YOUR BODY!I just gave up DAIRY........coffee has NEVER BEEN SO BAD..........how does one heat up COCONUT MILK?I do the REFORMER PILATES.......LOVE it.The OLD ASPIRING BALLERINA comes out in ME!The BODY feels stretched.............lower back PAIN is GONE!
    XX

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    1. Contessa, try almond milk instead! Just buy one without the very bad ingredient "Carrageenan" in it.

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    2. no doubt your are a ballerina inside contessa! i agree with em, try almond milk in your coffee! xo

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  13. Always learning something when you post. I learned to love the daily walk when we got our Lab. He HAS to walk. this summer I stopped working and instead gardened. Lots of sun. Early to bed (farmer hours) and had my first smoothies. LOVE them. Going back to work for Fall season (greenhouse) but will try to add a good walk into the mix.

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    1. a dog is the best walking partner ever! i loved that you traded work for gardening! lucky you! xoxo

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  14. Hi Janet, Thanks for this post!! Next week I will turn 70 and I want to begin your HIT routine tomorrow when I awake. We live 60 feet from a beautiful bike path so it will be easy. I had trouble sleeping and began stretching before getting into bed and I also use the 4-7-8 now with good effect! I recently began ballet classes three times a week (Barre they call it) at our gym. Staying in shape is a priority after Losing 50 pounds last year and I've discovered the pleasures of gardening - still a long way to go to where you are, Janet. Life just FEELS better if the body is loved and cared for. One way I stay positive is to greet everyone I see with a smile. I recently begann this to help combat my lifelong shyness and the results have been far more than that!!! If I'm down, I just go somewhere where there are people and. practice'. Spirits lifted like magic! It's amazing how life can be magiced up at no cost!

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    1. I'm 67, and find that I'm much less shy than I used to be. Have you noticed that too? I think it's at least partly that I'm less self-conscious than before. I like your idea of practicing smiling at people, which must raise their spirits as well as yours!

      I'll have to remember and try the 4-7-8 technique, having chronic health difficulties that include poor sleep. Thanks for this post, Janet!

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    2. Yes I'm a bit less shy than before but still not just walking up to people and starting a conversation like my husband does. That will come very soon I know! So many people respond like its the highlight of the day!

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    3. janice i love that your are turning 70 and open to trying the HIT. you are an inspiration! happy birthday to you. xoxoxo

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  15. Thanks for this post, Janet, and everyone's comments as well. So many good tips.

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    1. you're welcome jeannine. i love everyone's tips too! x

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  16. significantly increasing fruit and vegetable intake
    significantly increasing incidental exercise
    taking a Vitamin B12 supplement (I'm vegan)
    HIIT
    these changes have had a dramatic impact on my physical and mental health and well-being, including reducing my weight from 84kg to 42 kg

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    1. Oh and I forgot one other - intermittent fasting. This one habit has been life-changing.

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    2. yes on all of the above! congratulations on the dramatic weight loss and overall health improvement! xo

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  17. I've added yoga to my fitness schedule and am very pleased with the increase in balance and flexibility. I'm trying to eat vegan (you were my inspiration!) and am feeling great! Thanks for the other tips. Trying to stay away from screens at night is a good idea. It's just a bit tough! Debby

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    1. right, the screen at night was tough bc i love reading so much online content. but that last 1/2 hr with a real book has done wonders for me. glad you are loving the yoga!!!! xo

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  18. I am 60 now and am determined finally to give up milk in tea (it's the one thing that holds me back from being a vegan and I DO want to do it as I feel so bad about the cows...). I've got a feeling that giving up dairy will have a huge effect on my health. i am overweight currently by about 30lbs. I feel heavy like a cow :-)

    Janet, what B12 would you recommend?

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    1. congrats anna. i use a liquid b12 called Liquid Health. i get it at my local health food store. it tastes good.:)

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  19. Spending time with friends...doubles happiness and halves sadness. Good friends are essential!

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  20. I start the day with fresh lemon juice (half a large lemon, one whole small), mixed in warm water, and then take a probiotic on an empty stomach. I don't eat or drink anything else for at least 30 minutes. I don't feel complete without this morning ritual! Since January, I have also started to only drink cold brew coffee (less acidic) I drink my cold brew coffee hot. It becomes a concentrate, and I just reheat and add extra hot water. I walk a bunch for exercise, and I need to try the HIT while doing it!

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    1. oh i love that you don't feel complete without your morning ritual. that's me too! i have not yet tried cold brew but i will def give it a go. thanks for sharing em. xoxo

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  21. "Don't wear it unless you feel great in it" is my motto
    People always tell me how nice I look and how do I do it.
    I tell them it takes just as many seconds to pull on a nice dress or skirt as it does a pair of unflattering leggings and a baggy tshirt :-)

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    1. that's another great piece of advice lynn. i've had days where a great outfit has pulled me out of a bad mood or depressed mood! thanks for sharing. xoxo

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  22. I recently did I another big clothes cull and now like lyn I am trying to dress everyday in a way that makes me feel good, even for a trip to the corner store, as once I would have popped out in my pyjamas. I love walking, strolling, just meandering and in times of despair in my life just the ability to get out and walk around anywhere has made me happy.
    Janey

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  23. I am with you on all of these! I love a nice walk, good sleep, some sun and taking a good breath ♥

    summerdaisycottage.blogspot.com

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kindness is never out of style.

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