Eight simple daily musts that will change your life

Staying healthy can often seem like a lot of work, especially when you’re busy trying to keep up with things like school and work. Don’t fret! I have some solutions that are the definition of keeping it simple. Incorporate these little changes into your daily life, and you’ll be surprised the ways your physical and mental health improves, slowly but surely.

Hot water with lemon: First thing in the morning, boil some water, pour it into a cup and squeeze some lemon into it. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it turns out the benefits are amazing. Lemon water can reduce inflammation, help with digestion, assist with weight loss, cleanse your system and freshen your breath, among other things.

Hydrate: I cannot stress this enough—hydration is everything. We’ve all heard that we should drink eight cups of water per day, but really, that’s just a bottom line. It really depends on your body weight, lifestyle, environment and so on. If it’s the middle of summer and you’re out all day working in your garden with the sun beating down on you, you should probably be drinking more water than usual. A good rule of thumb is to carry around a bottle of water with you and take a few sips every 20 minutes or so.

Stretch yo’ body: It’s a good thing to stretch in the morning, since this is when your body is still waking up. Doing a round of yoga or even some simple stretches can help warm up your muscles, get your blood pumping, and inspire you to take bigger and deeper breaths. After a 10-minute stretch, you’ll feel more awake and energized.

Portion smartly: Truthfully, we humans should be eating as many veggies as we can. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or a meat-eater, you should be portioning your meals with as many vegetables as possible. A good rule of thumb is that vegetables should take up at least 60 percent of your plate. Green trumps all!

Juice it up: If you have a hard time getting fruits and veggies into your diet on a daily basis, the easiest way to remedy this is to make juice in the morning. You can either invest in a fancy juicer, or you can keep it simple and just use a blender. The important thing to remember is to incorporate as much color variety into each juice as you can by choosing different fruits and veggies of different colors. Additionally, try to change up your juices at least every few days so you’re, again, getting as much variety as possible.

Move yo’ body: I’m not asking you to go on a 10K run. In fact, I don’t even like running, so that would be insanely hypocritical of me to suggest. What I am asking you to do is go on a little walk, jog, hike or bike ride at some point during your day. Maybe instead of taking the MAX to school, opt to ride your bike. Or, at the very least, walk around your neighborhood in the evenings. Or, hell, just have some good old-fashioned sex. The bottom line is to get your body, breath and spirit moving.

Vent it out: OK, let’s be honest—most of us have a really hard time talking about our feelings. What we maybe don’t realize is the large impact this has on our physical and mental health. Repressed emotions literally weigh us down and sink into areas of our lives that we would never think possible. Therefore, don’t be too embarrassed to reach out to a friend, family member or maybe even a friendly stranger to vent about things that are bothering you. At the very least, write it all down. Just get it out!

Get your Zs in: I know nighttime seems to be the ideal time to get homework done or crunch in some last- minute studying, but staying up late and losing out on sleep does more harm than good. Do yourself a favor by going to bed at a reasonable time so you can get up a couple hours before class and get some studying in then. Feeling rested is going to completely transform the way you function on a day-to-day basis.