You’re sick and tired of being sick and tired and all that. If you could take a pill to make it all better, you would. But you know that it doesn’t exist. And so you’re determined to take back your health by making the changes necessary to do so.
Well, I have some suggestions for you. These tips are simple. And sustainable (otherwise, what’s the point?). I know that because it’s exactly what I’ve done on my healthy living journey.
1. Cook real food, from scratch
This one change drastically improved my health. I grew up on lots of meals made with processed ingredients and vegetables just weren’t a huge thing in our house.
Learning to cook from scratch to save money in our budget was awesome because it forced me to learn how to put together simple, delicious, nourishing meals. And I knew what was (and was not) in the food I was feeding my family. No more junk, please.
Action step: Create a meal plan for the week with at least three from-scratch meals. You have my permission to keep them as simple as possible and make the same thing each time if need be.
2. Use non-toxic cleaners
I almost killed myself (on accident) once by mixing bleach and ammonia. Thankfully, my husband (then fiance) was there to save me. Lesson learned: don’t clean when husband isn’t around. Actually, I learned that cleaning supplies are really freaking bad for you.
I’ve been making my own cleaning supplies for several years now. They contain a few simple ingredients, many of which I cook with, and I love that they’re safe – not only for myself but for the rest of my family as well. Plus they work really well.
Action step: Make this all-purpose cleaner. It works all over your house.
3. DIY personal care items
Like conventional cleaners, many personal care items are full of toxic chemicals that are hazardous to your health. But natural alternatives abound so you can make the switch with ease.
Action step: Choose a few personal care items to make on your own (here are a few ideas) or replace with pre-made natural, non-toxic alternatives.
4. Get more sleep
Many of us are seriously sleep-deprived. Whether that’s from taking care of little ones or burning the candle at both ends because we have so much to do, it’s still not good for us. When we don’t get the sleep we need, we’re robbing ourselves of precious restorative time for our bodies.
Action step: Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and if you can’t, try to squeeze in naps when the kiddos are sleeping. Here are some of my favorite ways to improve sleep.
5. Move your body
Raise your hand if you spend too much time on your butt. (I’m raising my hand.) One of the best ways to take care of yourself is to move your body. I don’t mean you have to join a gym or anything – keep it simple.
Walk more – I now try to park as far away as I can in parking lots. Do yoga or some other exercise that works many areas of your body at once. Get on the floor and play with your kids. Your body will thank you (you know, after it’s done being sore).
Action step: Start walking more. If it will help, get a pedometer (this is my favorite one and has surprisingly played a huge part in my more active lifestyle – and it actually lasts!) and aim for 10,000 steps a day. If you’re like me, you will soon look for ways to get in more steps because it feels so good to move your body.
6. Slow down
If you’re always go-go-go, it’s time to slow down. Seriously. Our culture’s obsession with being involved in a thousand different activities is absolute madness. Just say no when people ask you to take on more responsibilities. Let the kids choose one (just one) extracurricular activity. Practice being still.
Action step: Look at your present commitments. Is there anything that needs to go (stuff you feel obligated to do but hate doing, more than one activity for the kids, etc.)? If not, how can you make time in your day to slow down? Maybe it’s sitting down for 20 minutes with a cup of tea and a book or planning a short walk with your kids.
7. Prevent and treat illnesses naturally
Natural remedies are our first line of defense against illness. For a few years, I used herbs and real food to take care of my family naturally. Now, essential oils are in the mix as my number one tool for natural healthcare. And they’re what we turn to first on those rare occasions when we do get sick (we’ve been averaging two short illnesses a year since we made the switch).