Do you feel constantly guilty about something in your lifestyle that’s not meeting up with the huge expectations we’re faced with? The standard is so high. Sometimes you just want to give up on the whole healthy living idea.
But here’s the thing: we don’t need to make big changes to see a real impact. In fact, incy wincy baby steps are easier, more manageable, and more likely to be permanent. If you can improve your life by just 1% each day, you’ll have made a 10% difference in 10 days. That’s crazy, right?
Here are 11 simple changes you can implement immediately for quick results. They’re practically painless!
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1. Swap Out Soda for Soda Water
You know it. Soda is full of sugar and has zero redeeming qualities. Even diet soda is bad for you (some say it’s even worse).
But it’s hard to give up. The bubbles. The sweetness. The fizz.
Try weaning yourself onto soda water or mineral water. If you’re feeling fancy, add a slice of lemon or muddle a few berries. I luuuurve me some soda water!
Water is essential to our health and wellbeing. Especially while pregnant or as a new mom.
2. Eat Whole Foods
Less junk, more real stuff. It’s a strange world we live in where so much of our food has had all the good stuff stripped out and then artifical additives pumped into it…
Eating more real food can only be a good thing.
If in doubt go back to basics. If it comes wrapped in plastic it’s probably bad. If it’s straight from the farm it’s good.
3. Get More Sleep
Wait… did I just hear hysterical laughter right now? Yeah, ok. That would’ve been me while I was pregnant. I think I spent a whole week awake, sitting on my couch, coughing and sneezing. And playing BubbleShooter. Fun times.
Getting more sleep isn’t really easy. You’ve either got crazy hormones keeping you awake or a newborn who doesn’t know day from night. But prioritize sleep when you can. And if the stars align and you can take a nap then do it. No regrets!
4. Step Away From the Phone/Computer/Laptop/Tablet/TV
(Did I just cover all the tech there?)
Seriously – disconnect sometimes. In fact, if you can make it a habit to disconnect regularly, do it. The online world never sleeps and the busy-ness of it gets into our brains making it difficult to concentrate or relax. At least that’s how I feel about it.
Disconnecting from social media gives you time to just be. No comparisons. No worrying about the next milestone (whether baby has arrived or is on the way). Just relax. Breathe deeply. Live.
5. Eat Fruit
Do you like fruit? I like some fruit. And I like it even more now that I’ve quit (mostly) eating sugar. It tastes so much sweeter!
One of the struggles I had with eating more fruit is that I really liked things like strawberries, blueberries, and mangos. But when they’re out of season they can be hard to find or ridiculously expensive.
Buying frozen can work, or if you’re saving money by quitting sugar you might justify the expense for good fresh fruit.
6. Take Your Vitamins
Vitamins – you either love them or you think they’re an expensive way to make your pee change color. There’s no middle ground.
However, there are some very good reasons to take vitamins during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Firstly, becoming a mom is a huge drain on your body’s resources. Building a human isn’t easy and takes a lot of protein, calcium, iron, and other bits and pieces. Eating a balanced diet full of whole foods is great, but if you’re not (or your nausea is stopping you), taking a pregnancy and breastfeeding multivitamin is essential. After a ridiculous amount of research I ended up choosing this brand for the Omega 3’s.
7. Move Your Body
Depending on what trimester you’re in… easier said than done right? Moving your body has a lot of benefits. Notice I didn’t say lift weights or set personal bests at the pool, just move.
Walking is one of the best options both during pregnancy and when you’re in the newborn phase. Fresh air, sunshine, change of scenery, they all do wonders for your mental health and the walking is good for the physical health too.
But. Listen to your body. Don’t push yourself too hard and stop immediately if something hurts.
There’s always so much going on it’s hard to find the time to really relax. But it’s so important to do it. We need to unwind!
If you’re pregnant it’s not always easy to find a comfortable position to relax in. One of my favorite ways to relax was listening to a hypnobirthing recording. It often sent me to sleep and helped prepare me for labor.
9. Have a Morning/Evening Routine (If You Can)
This is a little easier when you’re pregnant than when you’re in the newborn days. If you’re able to wake up and sleep at around the same time each day you’ll start to train yourself into the routine. The theory is that you’ll sleep better and be happier and healthier as a result. If you’ve had results like this, let me know ok? I’m not great at the whole routine thing.
If you’re in the thick of things with a newborn, hold onto your routine if it helps you. If it’s just adding stress to your day then give it up and go with the flow for a while. You’ll find a new routine some day. Trust me 🙂
10. Have a Hobby
It’s nice to have an interest that isn’t baby related in your life. That you can still do without having to arrange a baby sitter. It helps pass those moments that aren’t dedicated to baby care in something productive and satisfying.
Possible hobbies: blogging (learn how to start a blog!), crochet, writing, scrapbooking, adult coloring, reading…
11. Eat More Vegetables
If you struggle to eat enough vegetables, here’s some quick ways to sneak more in:
- Eat carrot, cucumber, or cherry tomatoes as snacks
- Add grated carrot, celery, and other vegetables to bolognaise sauce
- Master cheese sauce and smother steamed vegetables in it
- Throw in some baby spinach leaves when you’re making a breakfast smoothie
12. Spend Time With People
Sometimes when you’re pregnant you’re just too tired or uncomfortable to want to hang with people. You want to hang in your PJ’s at home. But it’s helpful to get out and spend time with others.
When you’ve got a new baby, leaving the house becomes a bit of a production. But, if you’re able to get to a mother’s group that has babies around the same age as yours, you’ll find it worth the effort. Being home alone with a newborn can be isolating and it’s great to talk to others who are in the same boat as you are.
13. Be Kind to Your Gut
Have you paid much attention to all the crazy new research and theories about the gut microbiome? It’s amazing! To think that our gut bacteria can affect our health – everything from mood to weight and everything in between.
That’s why it’s good to be kind to your gut. A healthy gut means a healthy you.
You can improve your gut health by:
- stopping eating those bad for you foods – sugar, white bread, soda… etc.
- eating more vegetables, especially leafy greens
- adding fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi to your diet
- drinking kombucha, kefir or water kefir
- taking a probiotic
That’s A Wrap!
If your lifestyle isn’t where you want it to be, try taking these small steps to get things to where you want them. Baby steps are key, so you start making progress in the right direction without feeling like you’re giving up or making a huge effort. Luckily, even small changes can make a huge difference!