When my children were small I had to incessantly nag them to do the most obvious and mundane things that would ultimately prevent illness and promote health. I had to bribe them to brush their teeth, plead with them to take a bath, and practically beg them to eat their green vegetables. As they grew older, their resistance turned to habit, and they have now grown adults with the ability to “remember” these things on their own. As I reflect back, however, I wonder if there weren’t a few less obvious things I could have reminded them to do on a daily basis.
10 Things That Need to Be Found on Your Daily To Do List
Our lives are busy, and we focus on getting stuff done all day long. I have come to realize that even as adults we need to be reminded to do a few things that can truly affect how we live and feel. I guess we are never beyond needing a little nudge now and then, and it’s never too late to begin living with a sense of intention and purpose toward optimal health.
Here are 10 things you need to be doing every day to prevent, maintain and sustain your health and happiness.
It sounds crazy, but most of us definitely forget to breathe. Breath is supposed to happen without conscious attention, but none of us breathe deeply enough. Our bodies are designed to pull our breath deep into our diaphragms, but instead, we breath shallowly neglecting our natural need to get air deep into our bodies. Remember to breathe deep into your belly every day to feed your body the oxygen it needs to work so hard for you.
2. Get Sunlight
Most of us are deficient in Vitamin D simply because we don’t get enough sunlight, and it’s hard to get this nutrient from food. If you find yourself saying, “Wow, I never made it outside today” then you need to make this more of a priority. Just putting your face into the sun for a few minutes will benefit your mood and your body. Feeling the warmth of the sun will lift your mood, and warm your heart.
I hate to say it but blogs don’t count here. Reading words on a paper page exercises your eyes and enriches your soul. The very act of sitting down to read has its benefits because it forces you to take a time out. Even if it’s just a page before bed, reading is essential to the health of your mind and body. Reading is also a way to connect with others whether it’s reading a passage out loud to your partner, or sharing a bedtime story with your children.
Skip lunch often? Eating in your car between appointments? The leisurely act of sitting down to a meal has become rare in our culture. Shoving food in our bodies while on the go leads to poor digestion, and increased stress. Take time out of your day to eat something delicious while mindfully paying attention. This will add nourishment to your body while forcing you to pause and focus. Give yourself the time you deserve for a healthy meal each and every day.
When you were little you most like had to be told to go to bed. Now that you are an adult, you need to hit the hay on your own without the nudging of a concerned parent. Everyone has a different level of required sleep, but even if you are a night owl, make sure you are sneaking in a nap to rejuvenate your cells and replenish your energy. Too little sleep has been connected to illness, poor performance and irritability.
Don’t let one day go by without laughing. Laughter has been scientifically proven to improve mood, increase emotional connection, and to release tension. If you aren’t around funny people, watch a clip from a movie or pick up a New Yorker and read the comics. You don’t have to wait for the “pee your pants” laugh-a-ton. Just a simple chuckle will do.
We are evolutionarily wired to be connected to others. When we don’t feel connected we become depressed and lonely. Make sure you are connecting with someone meaningful every day. Connecting through social media is great, but it doesn’t replace the positive effects of social connection we get in real time. If you have been “thinking about calling” a friend, do it. Or talk to a stranger in line getting coffee. Reach out and reap the benefits of social interaction on a daily basis.
You may think that journals are for tween girls, but writing in a private notebook has benefits. The act of writing accesses your left-brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit and feel. Journaling is also great for getting thoughts out of your head and can help you work through difficult emotions.
Exercising daily is essential for your health. It’s easy to make excuses about why you can’t do it but to maintain your mood and a positive perspective on life you need to get moving. Taking the stairs, stretching at your desk and walking around the block all count. You will love those endorphins once they kick in.
Prayer is a healing and healthy habit that doesn’t always have to be associated with religion. Prayer is about expressing gratitude, and silently sharing wishes and hopes for yourself and others. Even if its thoughts in your head that don’t cross your lips, a poem that offers meaning or the lyrics to a song you love, you can turn it into a prayer. Try adding a small prayer to your daily routine, and watch as it manifests in the world.
** What’s your daily to-do list? Do you have one? Share your insight by leaving your comment in the section below