I think we all have goals of living a healthier life. For me, that started with a complete and life-changing overhaul surrounding my nutrition and hydration. I had to teach myself how to eat properly and in the process I lost around 30 pounds. In the 6 years since that transition, I’ve continued on this journey and have found that small changes can make a big impact not only on your immediate health, but also on your long-term health. Here are 8 small changes that I’ve made in addition to nutrition that have had positive impacts on my overall health:
- I stopped painting my fingernails and toenails. It’s been TWO YEARS since my fingernails have seen nail polish and 5 months since I last got a pedicure (not sure I can stick this out over the summer but I think going sans polish in the winter gives your nails a great chance to recuperate). Not only does most nail polish contain toxic ingredients, but your nails aren’t meant to be covered and sealed with a varnish. Benefits: I’ve realized that natural nails can be beautiful, and that I didn’t have “naturally shitty nails”, I was just dousing them in chemicals. It takes a while…but after a few months of regrowth you’ll notice that your nails are really beautiful by themselves (even your toenails!).
- I went off hormonal birth control. I went on the pill at 15, after experiencing a really bad ovarian cyst. The Pill is often used to regulate women’s periods and help with different types of issues (cysts included). I’d been on it for over 13 years when I finally ditched hormonal birth control altogether and have never been happier. Benefits: Actually understanding my body’s natural cycle, the ebb and flow of my own hormones and how they affect me throughout the month. I know what 3 days of the month I’m going to be particularly moody and they are clearly marked on a joint Google calendar between me and my husband (so, you know, he’s been fairly warned). I feel more mental clarity and emotional stability being off birth control and have found it much easier to regulate my weight. Plus, I feel healthier knowing that I’m not putting hormones into my body that don’t need to be there.
- I stopped coloring my hair. It’s been about 18 months since I put color into my hair, although I did get a set of partial highlights about 12 months ago. Since then, I’ve been letting it do it’s own thing. Benefits: I have really liked the way the summer sun lightened my hair up and seeing the natural color come through. I’m not sure this is one I can keep up forever, but so far, so good.
- I started paying attention to ingredients in the products I use. Have there been less product reviews around here lately? Yep. When we were in Thailand last fall I read The Green Beauty Rules by Paige Padgett (you can download it instantly and get reading, it’s so good!). It made me realize that being more conscious about ingredients isn’t just about protecting ourselves, it’s also vital to having a safe earth. If we use that crappy shampoo or hand soap, those chemicals go down the drain and back into our ecosystem. This is about more than just us! Benefits: I’ve since thrown out TUBS full of makeup, nail polish, shampoo etc., and have been replacing all of my products with healthier alternatives that are better for me and the environment.
- I stopped getting Facebook notifications on my phone. Yes, I know I do social media for a living, but that doesn’t mean that my days have to be bombarded by my personal facebook notifications or chats. I don’t get notifications for either of them and have had it turned off for at least a year. If I want to see who commented on a photo or who is trying to chat with me, I have to actively open up the app to check. Benefits: Notifications of any kind have a way of bombarding your life and distracting you. Did you know that on average it takes you 23 minutes to get back into “the zone” once you’ve been derailed? Woof. I’ve found a lot more focus and also a lot more joy. I think its more fun to log into Facebook at the end of the day and get caught up on 10 notifications at once, than it is to get beeped at throughout the day for every little thing.
- I switched to Drier Balls. This change is so tiny but so worth it.Along with cleaning up my personal care products I realized the value in removing toxins from something else that impacts you all day every day: your clothes. Washing and drying your clothes with chemicals just means surrounding yourself with them all day—breathing it in and absorbing it through your skin. Drier Balls are 100% wool balls that you infuse with a couple drops of your favorite essential oil, then pop into the drier with your clothes. Benefits: I’ve realized that drier balls and essential oils actually work way better than any drier sheet ever has. The balls help your clothes dry a little faster, and the lingering scent of lavender or lemon is so much more pleasant than any artificial scent.
- I found a fitness routine I love. Being active is a lot easier if you enjoy it. I have several hobbies that keep me active, but finding a routine that I would willingly make time for was always a challenge. We’ve been doing Orangetheory Fitness for over a year now and still love it (see my recent post about Orangetheory Fitness here)! Benefits: I never dread going and it’s something Josh and I enjoy doing together, so it doubles as quality time for the two of us.
- I make time to do nothing. I’m not talking about taking a bubble bath or going to yoga (although relaxing, those are still things). Over the past 6 months I have made it a point to take at least one 5-minute break throughout the day to literally do nothing. I just enjoy the quiet and breathe. Benefits: It’s a very simple thing but centering yourself and your energy has the ability to benefit you in countless ways. The biggest change I’ve noticed is that it helps me create an awareness for time. It helps me stay focused on the present rather than letting the day slip away.
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