12 habits of healthy people
When we think of healthy people, I imagine most of us conjure up images of stick thin gym bunnies in their minuscule gym tops, supermodels nibbling on celery sticks, or perhaps zen like yogini's practising their downward dogs on a mountaintop whilst meditating.
But health isn't about being thin, eating crudités or smashing sessions at the gym five times a week. Living a healthy lifestyle, or being ‘healthy’ overall encompasses looking after not just our physical health, but our emotional health, mental health, and some may say, spiritual health.
The good news is, you don’t need a massive life overhaul to start living a more healthy lifestyle and working towards being a healthier, happier you - today! Making small changes really can yield massive results.
Below are 12 traits healthy people seem to have in common:
1 Commitment towards living a healthy lifestyle
Healthy people have at some point made a conscious decision to live a healthy lifestyle. Everyone’s on their own journey - some may be at the beginning of theirs, others may have been doing it all their lives. Whenever, however or why-ever their journey began, they continue to make conscious choices, whether that’s choosing water over sugary drinks, opting for the stairs instead of the lift, sticking to the lunch they prepared rather than going to the chippy with colleagues, or ring-fencing ‘down time’ so they can recharge. And there’s no whiney excuses - they respect their bodies, prioritise and value their health, and they don’t take it for granted. Simples.
2 Exercise is a part of their life
Exercise doesn’t feel like a dreaded chore or a punishment. Don’t get me wrong, there will be times when actually, at the end of a long day, they’re not as enthusiastic as they were when they packed their sports bag that morning, but it won’t feel like they’re walking the green mile. People who are committed to exercise know that it has to be something they enjoy doing otherwise they won’t stick to it - whether that’s yoga, swimming, running, walking in the park or lifting weights in the gym.
Many a time I’ve signed up to events such as charity runs so it will force me to train, only to think “why the fuckity fuck have I done this - I hate running!” and then I’ve absolutely dreaded every session.
I’ve tried spinning and I wanted to vomit. I’ve tried Body Attack and I nearly pissed myself. I’ve tried Hatha Yoga, only to spend 60 minutes desperately trying not to fart or fall asleep.
So now I know exactly what I like (I know what a’ like and I like what a’ bloody well know) and what I don’t, and as such I actually look forward to the exercise I undertake.
Healthy people have fun with fitness too, and make it part of their everyday life - whether it’s kicking a ball about or swimming with the kids, running with the dog in the park, doing simple exercises whilst waiting for the pasta to boil etc.
3 Healthy eating habits
First off there are no crash diets or fads - healthy people know this can sometimes be unhealthy and is often just a short term fix, and so opt for the long term approach instead. Again it’s about consistency and sustainability. Meal planning is usually high on the agenda, for example, doing a 7 day meal planner and a full weekly shop so there’s no grabbing convenience food on the way home from work.
Same goes for lunches - preparing food in advance (as well as snacks to keep hunger at bay throughout the day) helps to avoid grabbing the nearest pastie and shoving it into one’s massive pie hole, or running to the vending machine for an overpriced, undersized chocolate bar. Healthy people eat what they need, and often no more (portion control anyone?).
A healthy breakfast (to start the day off right) is a must, as are vitamins and supplements (especially for vegetarians and vegans). Healthy people also know not to deprive themselves - they eat what they like in moderation to avoid binge eating.
I’m still working on this… if I’m off the wagon, I AM OFF SISTER! In fact when I’m off the wagon, I’m not just off it, I’ve sprinted down the road in the direction of the Chinese takeaway faster than you can say vegetarian spring roll!
4 Water Water Water
It does get boring, I know - listening to people bang on about water intake and ‘8 glasses a day’... but it’s necessary. It helps maintain the balance of body fluids, promotes healthy weight management (by helping to control calories), encourages healthy weight loss, flushes out toxins (think of the hardship your poor old kidneys go through in the summer holidays when the kids are off school and your wine intake is through the roof), improves complexion, energises muscles (imperative whilst exercising), maintains regularity of the bowels (lovely thought, thanks for that), keeps the old immune systems ticking along nicely, prevents headaches… you get the gist... water, water, bla bla… but it’s good. And it’s vital.
5 Prioritise rest
Rest is just as important as exercise and a healthy diet. Rest isn’t indulgent or lazy, it’s imperative for the mind (think cognitive health - the brain needs significant downtime) and the body (regeneration purposes - allowing muscles, nerves and tissues time to rebuild). As well as rest (lolling on the sofa in front of a boxset or drooling over Poldark, sitting in the garden, taking a bath etc) quality sleep is also imperative for physical health. Lack of sleep can result in poor concentration, decreased productivity, and can be linked to diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and depression. Tiredness can also lead to poor choices in eating (shoving last night’s pizza into your mush for breakfast), resulting in weight gain.
Tiredness can also turn an otherwise jolly person into a miserable twat who walks around with a face like a slapped fanny all day. No one wants that. So get some fucking sleep.
6 Work Life balance
A phrase that is so commonly banded around, yet it’s so important. It’s crucial to support (and not neglect) our mental health, and to ultimately avoid stress or burnout. If 12 hour work days are the norm, finding time to exercise, making time for rest (and totally leaning out) is crucial for physical health. Stress can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, depression, and a whole host of other ailments (beating husband to death with a slipper, locking kids in the shed, losing your shit in the supermarket car park etc…) Healthy people recognise the importance of striking a balance, and tend to be more rounded, balanced, happy people. They appreciate they only have one life and they want to enjoy it.
7 Prioritise self care
Healthy people know that self care and taking time out for themselves is not selfish or indulgent, it’s a necessity. Self care isn’t just spa days, weekend retreats and full on holidays (although these are great)... self care can include taking a lunch break and going for a walk, having a bath and an early night, taking half an hour before the school run to sit quietly with a coffee and a magazine, meeting friends, enjoying hobbies… the list is endless.
Healthy people acknowledge the benefit of taking time to go offline and detox from technology every now and then (WHAT? I hear you cry! No iPhone? I know, fuck that right...). They recognise when it’s time to take a break from something, they know when enough is enough, and they’re not afraid to say NO (or fuck off, fuck that shit, fuck you, fuck this, fuck that...)
8 In tune with their feelings
Healthy people appear to be more in tune with their own feelings, recognise when they’re not ok, and acknowledge the importance of not bottling up feelings and emotions. They tend to have an outlet for their emotions (be it a therapist, a good friend, a life coach, journaling, art or music, or physical exercise such as running or boxing). When emotions are bottled up they can (and often do) manifest as physical problems - headaches, sleep problems, digestive problems, and can even cause anxiety and depression. It can also result in the aforementioned beating husband with a slipper, quaffing gin, raiding kids sweetie tins, and making really bad decisions at the hairdressers. Healthy people are more likely to address addictive behaviours (for example drinking, smoking, gambling).
9 Keep company with positive people
People who value their mental health surround themselves with positive people, and people who will encourage a healthy lifestyle rather than purposefully try and put temptation in their way. They’ve learned to avoid people who exhibit unhealthy behaviour, exude negativity or indulge in drama. Laughter is one of the best medicines and healthy people know how important it is to enjoy life, and surround themselves with people who lift them up and make them feel great. They won't hang out with Debbie Downer's, Negative Nancy's, Moaning Margaret's or Critical Colin's. They often have a good support network of friends and family, and fiercely love their tribe.
10 Positive thinking
Healthy people have a positive mental attitude and tend to always look on the bright side of things. They’re acutely aware of the power of thought, they tend to be mindful, and they express gratitude for ‘what is’. They have a preference for exercising love, kindness and respect to others, they don’t speak negatively about situations or people, or complain.
Forgiveness is imperative for growth, happiness and overall health. It enables people to let go of hurt, anger and resentment (which if stored up can cause innumerable problems on an emotional, mental and physical level), and allows them to move on with life. Another one I’m still working on...
12 Have courage in their convictions
To act in accordance with one’s beliefs, whether other people agree with them or not, takes courage. Whether it concerns religion, spirituality, ethical ideals (such as women’s rights or cruelty to animals) healthy people stand by what they believe in, and are not afraid to stand up for what’s right, even if it means standing alone. They're the leaders and influencers rather than the sheep.
To be healthy or to live a healthy lifestyle is often a journey, and I’m pretty certain even the healthiest of the healthy won’t be ticking all of the boxes, all of the time, but you get the gist.
Here’s to good health!
Much love, Fran xxx
ABOUT FRAN GRANT
Wife to a very lucky husband. Mum to 3 beautiful little boys. Gym, yoga and self care enthusiast. Lover of food, coffee, wine and gin. Self confessed bookworm and book hoarder. Advocate for keeping the magic of reading alive for today’s children. And last but not least - Writer (currently trying my hand at kids fiction and rhyming stories). Thanks for visiting my site - expect to see posts mainly related to reading and writing, with occasional musings about family, parenting and life in general. Oh, and plenty of book reviews! Hope you enjoy! Much love, Fran x