health

‘I tried 12 health tips over 12 days. Here's what happened.’

In the past few months my work has ramped up, I’ve moved house and I’ve attempted to train a naughty dog.

I’m tired.  

And my routine has sucked. 

In a bid to get my life back on track, I wanted to try to embed some healthy habits so I have more energy and don’t want to curl up and sleep at every waking moment.

I decided to embark on a mission: trying 12 healthy habits in 12 days. Here goes nothing.

1. Drinking 2L of water a day

I’ve been trying to drink more water for ages now… and it’s safe to say - I suck at it. So today I challenged myself to drink at least 2 litres.

Consuming 2 litres is a lot more than I realised… and weirdly it made me feel a lot more ‘full’ than I am used to. I don’t particularly enjoy drinking water, so it was a bit of a hard slog but I got myself a nice drink bottle with a straw (hint: having a straw helps A LOT) and managed to polish off 3 x 800ml bottles - so 2.4L total.

I weed… a lot. Of course you would expect. 

But it apparently calms down once your body is used to it after a few days. I also felt I slept better, and had more energy overall. All in all, this is a habit I will *try* to continue every day.

My drink bottle of choice… get a straw. Trust me. Image: Supplied.

2. Meditation

I’ve meditated twice a day for almost two years (read about it here), but recently I’ve fallen out of the habit.

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I made a commitment to ensuring I got back in the habit of doing it twice a day again - and I can already feel the difference. After just one or two days I feel more relaxed, less stressed and more focused. It’s definitely a good habit that I want to ensure I get back into. 

3. Using Vital All-In-One

I have been taking vitamins on and off for the past few years, but can never seem to get in a consistent habit. Often, I feel like there’s so many to take but I’m unsure what they’re doing, or when to take them. 

I also SUCK at taking tablets. And big ‘furry’ vitamins are not okay (you know the kind). 

Because I’m a big fan of things that are good for convenience and routine, I decided to try Vital All-In-One - a supplement powder that is a blend of essential nutrients designed to help give your body everything it needs in a day. It includes a mix of vitamins, minerals, probiotics, prebiotics, antioxidants, protein, greens and more - literally everything you want in a supplement. It also appealed to me because it’s a powder, which is better for absorption but also means I don’t have to try and swallow heaps of *furry* gross tablets. All the wins!

The product recommends that you take two teaspoons in chilled water to start the day, although it can be taken at any time throughout the day. If you are starting the product and aren’t used to green supplements, they suggest starting with half a teaspoon per day, building up to the two heaped teaspoons over 2 to 4 weeks.

As I am not normally a green supplement taker, I opted to start with a small teaspoon, and I mixed it into my morning smoothie. 

It was a super easy and quick breakfast, and it left me feeling full and ready to start the day. 

I even didn’t mind the taste, it was just like a yum green smoothie. I decided that I’d try it for all 12 days.

After using it every day for almost two weeks, I found not only was it convenient, but I had a lot more energy. I felt less tired, and more focused during the day; both things I had been struggling with recently. For these reasons I will definitely continue adding it to my daily routine - it's so easy AND I feel better, so it's a win-win.

Morning smoothie time. Image: Supplied.

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4. Ensuring I get 8 hours sleep

Sleep is a non-negotiable for me. I am terrible and grumpy when I don’t get enough sleep, and lately I haven’t been. I often stay up late scrolling through my phone and then try to get up early, meaning I’m only getting about 6-7 hours sleep.

To make sure I got 8 hours, and to see how I felt afterwards - I made an active effort to go to bed at 9.30pm, to ensure I’m asleep by 10pm. I set my alarm for 6am to get a full 8 hours.

I can’t even explain how much better I feel. 

I’m much less sluggish in the morning and feel a lot more focussed and alert during the day. I’m definitely going to make sure I continue doing this. 

5. Waking up an hour earlier 

I challenged myself to wake up an hour earlier and see how it felt. I’m normally an earlier riser, and wake up at 6/6:30am so an hour earlier is VERY early. As an added bonus, it had just been daylight savings on the weekend, which meant the clock went back on Saturday night. My natural body clock was already waking up earlier, so I took advantage of this and set my alarm for 5:30am to start the working week.

When my alarm first went off, I’m not going to lie, it was a struggle. It was cold and dark and I just could not be bothered. But I made myself do it. I got up and took our dog for a walk, then read a little bit and meditated.

I actually loved it because it felt like I had SO MUCH TIME. Like a secret super power that only people who get up before 6am know about. The downside was that I felt bloody tired by about 8/9pm... if I made it an ongoing thing I’d definitely need to adjust my sleep schedule. 

6. Doing yoga in the morning

Naturally being an early riser I like to do something with my time before work, so I feel like I’m not just waking up and getting ready to work straight away. I never really know what to do though and often just end up on my phone. In an effort to be more present and feel productive in the morning, I decided to try doing some light yoga in the morning and see how it felt.

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Getting motivated was hard, but once I was up, awake and on the mat, it felt great. I opted for a gentle stretching and yoga class on YouTube, and it really helped me ease into the day. I loved that I took time just for myself, and getting exercise out of the way early also felt very productive. 

Will I do it every day? Let’s not lie... Probably not. But would I try it again, maybe once a week? Yes, definitely. 

7. Stretching before bed

Confession: I'm not good at... stretching. I have VERY tight legs and hips, and I get told every time I have a massage I need to stretch more, and then I just... don’t. Oooops. 

I decided to try stretching before bed because it’s meant to be a good way to wind down, be present and release tension from the day. 

I went for some basic hip and leg stretches in areas where I knew I was really tight. I only did it for about 5-10 minutes, but I was surprised by how relaxed it made me feel. It also helped me fall asleep a lot faster, I think because my body was already winding down before I got into bed.

8. No screen time before sleep

This is a habit I have been meaning to start for ageeeees, but never seem to quite get to it. I often get stuck on a late night endless Instagram scroll, which often just makes me feel stressed and gets my mind racing before bed. This week I made a conscious effort to put my phone down at least an hour before bed, and instead of watching TV I made sure I read a book, or had a shower, stretched and wound down. 

It’s made an enormous difference to the quality of my sleep - I find I’m waking up less and the sleep I am getting feels like better quality, and a lot deeper. 

9. Stretch breaks during the day

I work on my computer all day, and often get stiff legs and back aches. To try and break up the day, and prevent poor posture, I set myself the challenge of making sure I had 3 small stretch breaks during the day.

I set alarms on my phone for 11am, 3pm and 5pm to make sure I stood up, and took at least 2 minutes to do some brief stretching - whether that be bending over to touch the ground, some gentle twists, calf raises or back bends. 

At the end of the day my body felt waaaay better than it usually would. 

I was less stiff and I felt better mentally for taking a few breaks too. Not sure if I would do this everyday, as it can be harder to do in the office, but it’s definitely something I would consider. 

10. Write down your goals at the start of the day

I follow a lot of inspirational and self-help type accounts on Instagram, and a lot of them talk about morning rituals and how important they can be to ‘set up your day’. To be honest, I’ve never sure if this is legit or just a lot of fluff, but I thought I’d try one of the common recommendations I see: writing down your goals at the start of each day. 

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I made sure I got up early, and the first thing I did was get a pen and paper, and physically write down my goals for the day and what I wanted to achieve. I felt a little bit silly, I’m not going to lie, but I did it anyway. 

What I liked was that it helped me feel clarity in the morning, and get my thoughts onto paper, so I didn’t have to worry about what I had to do and achieve, as it was there in front of me. 

It was a good reminder of the things that are most important - one of mine was to ‘stay relaxed and don’t get stressed at work’ - and throughout the day I continued to come back to this.

It was a nice little ritual and I can see why some people make it a habit. 

11. Trying an Infrared Sauna 

I did an infrared sauna with my partner after work today. I don’t normally cope well with hot spaces, so a sauna is a challenge for me. But I know it’s meant to be great for you - and helps you sweat out all the toxins.

You get allocated up to 45 minutes... and let me tell you that is a LONG time to be in a sauna.

Basically, it’s a small box and when you go inside it’s dimly lit, with an iPad playing relaxing meditation music - all very zen. 

Look, let’s be real. I did not feel zen during it. At all. I had to have several short little breaks where I got out to cool down and have some water, then got back in. I ended up doing 35 minutes at 60 degrees then called it quits.

When you leave your body all of a sudden feels lighter, and you’re much more aware of everything. I felt very relaxed and calm when I got home and all in all my body feels a lot better- less aches and tight muscles. 

After that experience, I would definitely do it again and recommend it! 

Sweet, sweaty bliss. Image: Getty.

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12. BYO lunch 

Ever since we returned to the office this year, I have been terrible at taking my lunch. I’m disorganised, and often end up buying it at the cafe downstairs in our office building. Today, I was determined to make sure I brought my own healthy lunch, to save time and also money. 

I packed tuna, rice and spinach - basic I know, but something I actually find delicious. 

 My super fancy BYO lunch. Image: Supplied.

My day was packed with meetings, so I didn’t have long for lunch and it was so helpful that I had it ready to go. It was fresh, delicious, and kept me full and awake for the rest of the day. Safe to say I will definitely be bringing my lunch more! 

Have you tried to incorporate new rituals for your health or wellbeing? Tell us below!