5 Ways to Improve Your Health by Tomorrow

You know when you see those #Fitspo posts on the ‘gram and you’re 50% like, “yaaas kween #LIFEGOALS!! But then you also get momentarily paranoid bc you just rolled your eyes SO hard into the back of your head that you think they might get stuck there?? Because you have a life and a job and friends and you like food and this girl clearly has none of those things because if she did she wouldn’t have time to look like that?? TBH if you haven’t felt like that before, not even once, then you and I prob wouldn’t be friends IRL. One of the top requirements I look for in a friend is their ability to insta-judge sooo..

Anyways, just because you may not appear to be photoshopped 110% of the time like the #Fitspo models of the world, that doesn’t mean you’re not healthy. And can I get really honest with you for a second? Like, for real, no jokes? Thanks! Because I’m here to tell you what you probably should already know but definitely don’t remind yourself of, which is that being healthy doesn’t always mean having a flat stomach and a thigh gap (if you have a thigh gap, this is another thing that would probably also mean we can’t be friends- I know, I’m the worst, UGH!) When thinking about if you’re healthy, you should think about it in all senses. Do you take vitamins? Do you make a conscious effort to get some sort of movement going every day? Do you pay attention to your skin? Do you pay attention to your mental health? All of these things are extremely important to your health – not just if you ate your recommended servings of fruits + veggies, and ran on the treadmill for 45 minutes yesterday.

I have 5 things that I actively try to incorporate into my daily life to improve my health. Check them out and see if you can try to add one or two of them into your life too!

1. Getting enough sleep. I can’t stress this enough! I used to be a serious night owl. Like, going to bed before 1am (a.k.a the “hour of the f*ckboy) on a weeknight would be early for me. But my boyfriend is practically a grandpa and goes to bed around 9pm so once we started dating, I would get really bored after he went to bed and start winding down a lot earlier. Now I try to be in bed by 11pm – it helps me get 8 hours (my alarm goes off around 7:15am every morning). And I’ve been SO much more productive at work! Need help getting to sleep earlier? Check out my post on tips + tricks for a better night’s sleep here !

2. Take your vitamins! In my first 24 years of life, I seriously neglected the vitamin industry as a whole. Flash-forward to April 2017 when I slept at my friend’s apartment and she handed me two gummy vitamins that promoted restful sleep. I took them, felt sleepy within 20 minutes, and then slept through the entire night like a rock, then woke up feeling the most rested I had in months. The next day, I went out to CVS a bought not only the Restful Sleep vitamins, but the Undeniable Beauty (vitamin C, Biotin, borage oil) the Hello Sunshine (vitamin D), and the Women’s Super Foods (Vitamins D, E, B6, B12, Folic Acid and Biotin). They’re all from the Olly Nutrition company – ever heard of them? They’re new to the market, and the best part is they’re extremely affordable. Each container is only $13, and I’ve truthfully felt healthier since the day I started taking them. I highly recommend you check them out ASAP! You can shop them here.

 

3. Protect yourself from the sun. I’m going to share some stats with you that are straight from skincancer.org:

  • Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
  • Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
  • One person dies of melanoma every 54 minutes.
  • An estimated 87,110 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017 (and melanoma only accounts for less than 1% of skin cancer cases).
  • The vast majority of melanoma cases are caused by the sun. In fact, one UK study found that about 86% of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to UV radiation from the sun.
  • Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carinoma by about 40% and the risk of developing melanoma by 50%.
  • More than 419,000 cases of skin caner in the U.S. each year are linked to indoor tanning.
  • More people develop skin cancer because of tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking. 

Scary, huh? This is a biggie, especially for those of you who are fair-skinned like I am. Not exaggerating, I’m so pale and my veins are so blue that my dad once mistook them for being magic marker drawings on me when I was younger. Even though I’m not a fan of being as pale as I am, I try to give myself credit for doing my best to protect the skin I have. I went to school down south and if you know anything about southern girls, you know they loooove a good tan, which is why there’s a tanning bed on every corner at most college campuses. Despite being the girl with practically translucent legs, I never once stepped foot into a tanning bed, because the dangers of what could happen far outweighed having darker skin for a week or two. I also do my best to apply sunscreen whenever I spend time outside, because I know that anything over 10-15 minutes in strong sunlight will have me burning, which puts me in greater danger of skin cancer. Luckily, we also live in an age where there’s 3028235 different self-tanner products on the market. I’m personally a huge fan of the Bondi Sands Liquid Gold. Having spend approx. half a lifetime testing out the different products that are available, I’d consider myself somewhat of an expert on this stuff. Here’s what I can say: It’s easy to apply, it dries quickly, it doesn’t smell bad, it’s not streaky, and you don’t look orange after you apply it. It is difficult to get it applied correctly on your hands and feet, but that’s true of pretty much any product on the market. The Nest.com has a really great article on applying self tanner – read it here.  The bottom line here is that you need to protect yourself and your body from over-exposure to the sun. There is no such thing as a safe tan. If you see something on your body, don’t wait – get it checked out. Safe > sorry.

 

4. Take care of your teeth! Raise your hand if you’ve ever rolled your eyes and/or laughed out loud when your dentist asks you how often you floss. *Raises hand* – that’s what I thought. I’ll be the first to admit that my dental hygiene game isn’t as strong as it should be. Yes, I brush, but I don’t use mouthwash and I hardly ever floss. It’s not a great look, and I generally don’t appreciate the lecturs and judginess that’s handed out by my dentist every 6 months, but what can ya do? I did my homework on this, and here’s what I found out from Colgate aka the Kings of Teeth.

  • The 47% of adult Americans who have gingivitis have a higher risk to developing dementia. This is because the bacteria from gingivitis may enter the brain through either nerve channels in the head or the bloodstream (um, ew!).
  • Bacteria from inflammation of the gums can enter your bloodstream and travel to the arteries in the heart and end up hardening your arteries. This causes plaque to develop on your artery walls and decrease or blood blood flow through the body. This, in turn, can lead to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

Bottom line- I think we can all manage to spend a few extra TLC-filled minutes tending to our dental hygiene each day in exchange for being healthier overall.

teeth

 

5. Find a proper work/life balance. There’s no denying that your job should be one of your priorities, but does it need to be THE priority? Chances are, the answer is no. Whenever I get super-stressed at work, my boss is famous for saying in her soothing voice, “listen. We’re not curing cancer here. This is NOT the end of the world, and it’s NOT a big deal. Let’s just work on how we can fix this.” And you know what? She’s completely right. I’m not curing some horrible disease, nor am I saving the world. I’m working with formula companies and wedding invitation designers to create advertising campaigns for parents and brides and grooms. That’s it. XO Group (where I work) has a phenomenal perk for all employees: Unlimited PTO. Yes, you read that correctly. In theory, I have unlimited vacation time throughout the year, and it doesn’t affect how I’m paid. Granted, we’re expected not to go overboard, but in my two years with the company, I’ve never requested vacation time and been denied. And you know what? It’s allowed me to stay sane. When I’m able to step away from the daily chaos that can come along with my job and focus my energy on my friends + family, and having new experiences and visiting new places, I’m so much happier.

You should absolutely work hard at your job. When you’re there, you should do the best that you can and give it your all (even though it’s ok to have an “off” day once in a while – don’t beat yourself up over this). But you also need to value your life outside of work. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: unless you are in charge of national security, or you’re literally someone who’s working on the cure for cancer (bless you), the world will not end if you don’t check your email at 9pm on a Friday night. I promise you, from the bottom of my heart, you will survive. Your boss will survive. Your clients will survive. In fact, if you’re getting emails from clients at 9pm on a Friday night, you should be worried for their sanity. Whenever this happens to me, I genuinely feel bad for the person who sent that email. Like, it’s Friday night. You could be out at a bar, or you could be neflixing on your couch, idc. But you definitely shouldn’t be sending out emails that can wait until Monday morning.

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I have a task for you: Just do me this one favor, ok? Go on Airbnb and create a wishlist for all of the cool places you’d want to visit in the next five years *you can check out my recent article all about Airbnb here*. It could be somewhere that’s only a 2 hour drive away, or it could be somewhere that’s halfway across the world. Hell, it could even be just doing something in the same city that you currently live in, but you’ve never seemed to have the time to do it. Go on there, make that wishlist, and book a vacation or a stay-cation for sometime in the next 6 months. If you can’t take off of work, book it for a weekend. Invite friends! Invite your mom! Invite your boyfried! Go by yourself! Just do it. You have the responsibility to treat yourself right and spoil yourself every once in a while. One of our execs at XO Group told me once that the day you get back from your vacation is the day you should start planning your next one. It gives you something to look forward to, and I think that’s something we could all use!

 

Have more tips to share? Sound off below!

xo, AJ

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