As I welcomed 2018, I also welcomed the idea of being more conscious about my health. At first, that meant eating healthier and drinking more water. However, living a healthy life could mean something different to you. The main goal for this post is to share some of the things I do to take care of my body that doesn’t involve paying for a gym membership or eating salads everyday. These are real life tips that won’t cost you a single penny. If you’re a college student like me, or just a human on a budget, you’ll be grateful for that.
The most important thing I want you to get out of this post is that you can do all of these or none of these and it by no means defines you as healthy or not healthy. We all have such different bodies that require different methods of self-care. Your body is your vessel, so do whatever makes you feel most beautiful and fulfilled. These are simply the things I try to do to take care of the body I was blessed with.
Track your water consumption
This one has helped me SOOOO much in the last few months. I always say “I should probably drink more water” but never really put all of my effort into it to actually make it happen. When I got an app to track how much water I’ve had in a day, it’s been tremendously simple to make sure I’m staying hydrated. I’ve heard that you should drink half of your body weight in ounces, so that’s my goal each day, though I’ve found that it’s quite easy to go beyond that.
Find workout videos on YouTube
I’ve been doing this on and off for a few years. I’ve always had somewhat of an active life, and find that I always feel the best when I work out. The trouble I had with finding videos on YouTube is that there’s so many videos to choose from, that it can be overwhelming. In addition, it can be difficult to know which body parts to work on which day. Lately, I’ve been doing Cassey’s workout videos (YouTube.com/Blogilates LINK). Cassey is not only super motivating, but she has different workouts for different levels and provides monthly calendars with a list workout videos for you to do each day. It makes it super simple to know which body part to workout on which days.
Find healthy substitutes
This one is seriously life changing. Eating healthy doesn’t mean giving up your favorite foods. It’s important to find a balance of healthy eating that works for you. One of my favorite things is finding healthy alternatives that are more nutritious, but I totally don’t feel like I’m missing out on the “regular” foods. Here’s a short list of Ashley approved substitutes:
Banza pasta – Pasta made out of chickpeas. This has a lot more protein than regular noodles and tastes amazing.
Miyoko’s Creamery vegan butter
Ezekiel bread – Made with simple, unprocessed grains as opposed to having added sugars and other ingredients.
Lara bars (as a substitute for a dessert) – I sometimes eat one of these after dinner and it satisfies any sweet tooth I might have.
Almond milk (vanilla flavor is my favorite)
Earth Balance peanut butter – made without added sugar and other processed ingredients
Agave nectar – instead of another sugary sweetener
Have at least one healthy meal a day
Having just one healthier meal a day, whatever healthy means to you, will make you feel better. It can be hard going into 3 healthy meals a day cold turkey, so this is an excellent way to make the transition to maybe even having 2 or 3 healthy meals per day. Even if it’s just having a side salad instead of fries, or drinking water instead of juice, every little bit will contribute to your body’s overall wellbeing.
Go to bed earlier
This probably isn’t what you want to hear but it’s one of the largest components of a healthy body, mind, and soul. You can workout, eat healthy, and drink tons of water each day but if you’re not sleeping enough, you’re more likely to suffer physically and mentally from various bodily functions that depend upon sleep to work properly. If you feel like you can’t possibly make time for more sleep, think of how much time throughout the day you spend doing things you don’t need to do (i.e. scrolling through social media, watching TV, etc.). If you spend over an hour a day on those things, you can spend those hours doing the things you have to do earlier in the day, so you can go to bed earlier. In essence, it’s all about prioritizing your time so that you can prioritize taking care of your body.
The facts and statistics you hear about meditation are true. It’s one of the best ways to effectively reduce stress in a short period of time. Since stress has a detrimental effect on the body, it’s important to find ways to handle the stress instead of avoiding it completely. Meditating for just 5 minutes a day can help you feel more at ease, which will positively impact the rest of your mind, body, and soul.