By the time we reach adulthood, I think we can all agree that there are certain not-so-healthy choices from our younger years that need to be put to bed. For instance, I don’t know, staying out until the sun comes up, leaving our makeup on, and hydrating the hangover with Mountain Dew… just me? Sure there are plenty of lists out there about what you shouldn’t be doing anymore (though really, you shouldn’t be replacing water with soda) but we thought it would be fun to make a list of 24 healthy choices we think everyone should be making (or at least on their way to making) by the time they reach their adulthood, whatever that age may be. We had a few ideas of our own, tapped into our experts for some extra input, and would love to hear some of your suggestions in the comments below!
1. Know when to save and when to splurge
Another personal anecdote – when I got my first job I spent every last dime I made for the three months of my temporary gig. I bought clothes, took my friends to dinner, acted (key word… acted) like a complete and total baller, then when the job ended and I resumed my income of $0 a day and took a look at the pathetic state of my bank account, I all but keeled over. For years after I saved diligently but took the opposite extreme of not spending anything, even when I needed to (think: shoes that had a hole in them but I was being too cheap to get myself a decent new pair). Now, I know that there’s something to be said about having a budget and following it, but that it’s also important to know when to splurge. It’s all about balance, in your budget and in your life!
2. Learn to accept a compliment and stop the negative self-talk
I find that this will apply to more women than men, but when did it become status quo to negate every compliment we’re paid by pointing out a flaw that likely only we see. Lately, confidence is almost looked down upon instead of being celebrated. We are all unique and beautiful in our own way and yet more often than not, we’re our own biggest critic. I think one of the healthiest choices an adult (and anyone for that matter) can make is to look in the mirror and love what they see smiling back at them, to be their biggest cheerleader, and when someone tells you your hair looks great to say thank you, because my goodness it does.
3. Take the time to be inspired
Whether its a quiet hour with a book that has you totally enthralled, a fantastic conversation with an old friend or a complete stranger, or just taking the time to learn something new – there’s something so healthy about allowing ourselves to have moments of inspiration.
4. Never let go of the passions you had as a child
Finding the time to hold on to your passions is so important for having a healthy, fulfilling life. Even if you never went on to become that Olympic track star or that famous artist, doing the things that gave you joy when you were a kid now that you’re in your adulthood brings the kind of happiness that helps keep us healthy.
5. Quit comparing!
There’s a saying I’ve always gravitated to by good old Teddy Roosevelt and that is, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” When we compare our lives, joys, and heartbreaks to others, be it through judgement or through jealousy, we stop appreciating all that we do have. Plus let’s be serious here, the images that people share of their lives on social media, usually (unless they are the complain about everything “woe is me” type) are the best portions of it, the brag-worthy bits. Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and just do you. The other saying I love, “A flower does not think of competing with the flowers next to it. It just blooms” So bloom on you little flowers!
From our Editor Kate Phillips:
6. Make sure to schedule an annual full-body skin examination with your dermatologist
An estimated 2.8 million cases of basal cell carcinoma, the most frequently occurring form of skin cancer, are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
7. Keep your brain sharp
Not only should you keep your body healthy, but you need to keep your brain sharp as well. These easy exercises can be done daily.
8. Learn to like who you are as a person
After all, the most important relationship you have is with yourself. So be comfortable with who you are. Like who you are. And if there’s something you don’t like about yourself, change it! Don’t ever get so stuck in your ways that you don’t try to self-improve.
From our expert, Debra K., Host of the Journey into Wellbeing:
9. Add more greens to your diet
In our fast-paced, modern society, sometimes it is hard to make good eating choices. We often default to what is quick and easy, over what is healthy. We all know that eating more vegetables is a good thing; a great way to add more into your diet is to whip up a green smoothie every morning and take with you to work. If you’re a newbie at this, choose mild greens like spinach and lettuces. Mix with fruit, vegan protein powder, and water and you are good to go.
10. Be tested for food sensitivities
If you are struggling with lack of energy and inability to lose weight, there is a chance you might be suffering from inflammation in your system due to food sensitivities. Ask your physician to perform a blood test to identify whether or not you are sensitive to certain foods. If you are, you should prepare for a food detox to allow your system to heal. You can plan on eliminating the irritating foods and adding in extra probiotics and healthy oils.
11. Strength train
As we age, our muscles gradually decline in effectiveness. To help out those muscles, move your body and add strength training to your workout. I suggest that you find a trainer who can teach proper alignment and movements to ensure your safety. Once you are confident with the movements, plan on doing three 20-minute workouts weekly. You’ll begin to notice results within a couple months and, as a bonus, you’ll start to feel more confident.
12. Ensure a better night’s sleep by doing these three things;
- Eat a small, high-fat, high-protein snack right before going to bed. Having this type snack helps to regulate your blood sugar levels. Fluctuating sugar levels are often a culprit for waking up. Pumpkin seeds are great sleep aids because they contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid that helps you sleep.
- Keep a boring book on your night stand. When you wake up, grab the book and let the mediocre storyline lull you back to sleep before your brain kicks into high gear.
- Create playlists that are soothing and will help you fall asleep. As soon as your eyes pop open, put in your headphones and listen to meditative music.
From our expert, Celeste Hilling, Founder, CEO, and Product Formulator of Skin Authority:
13. Rain, snow or sun, don’t forget sunscreen!
Apply a full-spectrum, moisturizing sunscreen daily to all exposed skin, which often includes our faces, neck, ears, décolletage, hands, and forearms. Use an SPF of at least 15. And, don’t forgo sun protection just because you’ll be inside. UV rays go through glass – windows in your car, home and office – another reason to wear sunscreen daily.
14. Get your D
Vitamin D is a key hormone needed for strong immune function. When you think about D as a hormone, you realize it’s as critical to keep it balanced as it is to keeping every other hormone in the body stable. Rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and heavy wrinkling all improve when D hormone levels are balanced. In order to have enough D, eat foods that are rich in it, including salmon and tuna, and apply it topically.
15. Be conscious of hidden sugar
It’s tough, but we have cut them out in our house. Processed carbs and fruit include hidden sugar. We often think that fruits and vegetables are interchangeable; instead use the 80/20 rule of veggies to fruit. Another tip – stock up on cauliflower. It tastes great and can be used to make pizza crust, pasta, and tortillas with less hidden sugar. Eat from the earth!
From our expert, Lindsay Martin, MS, RD at Hilton Head Health:
16. Set weekly SMART fitness goals.
A goal without a plan is a wish. Strive to create specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time based fitness goals every week in order to attain the overall vision of completing a 5k, finishing one’s first triathlon, holding a plank for 3 minutes, etc.
17. Move your body every hour
Most adults know sitting at a desk for multiple hours at a time isn’t ideal; however, time can easily slip away and one has forgotten to eat, take a break or simply get up to stretch. Set a timer or wear a watch as a reminder to get up to stretch, take a 5 minute walk, complete 20 squats or some type of movement.
18. Cook at least 5 dinners at home per week
If cooking is a little intimidating, make it easier by signing up for a local knife skills class (learning how to use a chef’s knife is essential) or prep a lot of vegetables and sauces on a Saturday or Sunday in order cut down on total cooking time during the weekdays.
19. Learn proper technique in regards to functional movements
Functional movements including squats, push-ups, planks, pull ups, and running are often completed without ideal form. If one is serious about getting fit or training for something specific while staying safe then it is crucial to get evaluated by a highly trained professional so the movement can be improved and perfected.
20. Clean out the refrigerator, freezer and pantry every three months
Get rid of what has gone bad, throw out foods that have been tempting and/or not on your healthy eating plan, and reorganize items so there is more efficiency in the kitchen.
From our expert, Mia Kyricos, Chief Brand Officer, Spafinder Wellness, Inc.:
21. Saving up and taking time off to travel well
Experiencing the world and what it has to offer can teach you a lot about who you are and who you want to be. While the destinations we all know and love for just relaxing by the pool are amazing, be sure to also explore the world off the beaten path if you can. Experience exotic and new locations by incorporating things like indigenous treatments, local cuisine and delicacies, and seeing how the people there live. It’s a great way to explore the world while also appreciating and learning from other cultures.
From our expert, Dr.Nina Smiley, Director of Mindfulness Programs at Mohonk Mountain House:
21. Voice appreciation of others, don’t just “think” it!
It takes almost no time at all and creates a flow of positive energy that uplifts the moment, along with your entire day.
22. Listen to your “self talk” and choose to let go of negativity
If that voice in your head is saying I can’t,” you can choose to change the sound bite to “I Can!” Learn to support yourself from the inside-out and feel the difference!
23. Take a moment to breathe!
Sure we’re breathing all the time, but just a few slow full inhales and exhales while simply being present in the moment and clearing the mind of thoughts can provide an instant “reset” for an overstimulated mind.
24. Recognize the love and abundance in your life as it occurs!
On the spot. In real time. Delight in small moments that are truly tiny treasures and be grateful that you’ve taken the time to feel them. Reach out to the people you love and keep the cycle of love and abundance going!