photo of woman walking a dog under the heading 11 healthy habits for a happy life

11 Healthy Habits for a Happy Life

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So it’s been really hard for me to commit to writing about body image and weight loss issues as you may have noticed. I mentioned a little while ago here that I would be posting weekly about these subjects and I just haven’t been able to bring myself to write much of anything. Lately I’ve been considering whether adding other healthy habits might be more beneficial to my health overall.

In particular I’ve been having trouble reconciling my desire to be more body positive with my desire to lose weight. As soon as I think about weight loss it gets all mixed up in my head with thoughts about my appearance and I start to feel ashamed for some reason. And then I panic and start a new binge cycle. Just the thought of restricting, especially for the purpose of weight loss, seems to result in major food binges for me. So I’ve decided to shift my focus and work on my health instead of my weight. And not in a “I need to lose weight to be healthy” kind of way. In an actual health kind of way. 

To that end I’ve come up with this list of healthy habits that I will slowly be adding to my life. I have no time limit on this. Some habits will take longer to cultivate and that is ok with me. I think I will have a much better rate of success with these habits than with any of the more traditionally weight loss focused habits I’ve tried adopting in the past. These are in no particular order, I will likely just do them as I feel comfortable. So let’s get started, shall we?

healthy habit 1-take vitamins daily

I have some deficiencies noted by my doctor on the results of some blood work I had recently so I take a few different vitamins at his suggestion. This is a healthy habit for me but be sure to always talk to your doctor before taking supplements of any kind. 

healthy habit 2-take the dog for a walk in the morning

We recently got a puppy and he is full of energy, sometimes. Sometimes he just lays around sleeping but it’s the energetic times that I need to worry about. If he doesn’t get enough exercise he gets over excited and starts using his teeth while he plays. We all have some marks from where his pointy, needle-like puppy teeth have broken skin. Extra walks relax him and make him more receptive to training at the same time. A good training tool for him is a healthy habit for me. 

mental health habit 3-read for pleasure

Once upon a time I was quite the reader. I worked in a bookstore and had piles and piles of books all over my house. But ever since I had kids I just haven’t had as much time for reading as I’d like. And if I do read it tends to be in order to learn some specific, but not necessarily interesting, information. So reading something for no reason other than to be entertained is something I am adding to my healthy habits list. I have a kindle unlimited membership for this  very reason. It’s much easier to read when there are so many choices included in the price of the membership. 

healthy habit 4-stick to decaf after noon

I am awake (grudgingly) by 5:30am pretty much every day. I LOVE coffee. Love it, and need it to live. But I am a terrible sleeper and the caffeine just doesn’t love me. So I am choosing to switch to decaf after noon as one of my healthy habits.  I have found a delicious decaf and it’s almost like I’m not even missing out. From what I’ve heard reducing caffeine intake is a healthy habit that many of us could benefit from.

healthy habit 5-get to bed at a reasonable hour

I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in about 7 years, give or take. I still sleep light because I’m listening to see if my kids need me. And my kids still wake up some nights needing water, or their blankets fixed, or some other urgent help from me. I have to drag my ass out of bed every morning. The new puppy we got seems to like waking up ridiculously early and I would rather let him out than worry about cleaning up pee. I am choosing to get into bed reasonably early to help me find my inner morning person. Or my inner not-quite-a-sloth person. Unfortunately this means I probably need to be in bed by 9, at the latest. *sigh* there goes my quiet time. 

healthy habit 6-keep on top of the laundry

If you have kids you have way too much laundry. haha, but really, are there people living here that I’ve never met? Because I am pretty sure I did not see my kids in all these different clothes. I get easily overwhelmed when the house gets out of control and keeping on top of laundry helps keep the mess at bay, which makes it easier to deal with the mess in the rest of the house. And by “deal with” I mean ignore for as long as possible. I am choosing to keep up with the laundry as a means to better keeping up with the housework. No promises though. I hate cleaning and I’m shitty at it :’D This healthy habit is geared more towards mental health for me.

healthy habit 7-Prepare huge salads to eat with dinner

I have a tendency to not get enough vegetables in a day. I could live on toast and peanut butter. Adding a salad at dinner time with whatever else I’m making just makes sense for me. To help with this healthy habit I choose to prepare my salads in bulk, in advance. I like to use a set of nesting bowls with lids so I can make a big salad every few days and just keep it in the fridge, ready to eat with dinner every night. Apparently your supposed to fill half of your plate with vegetables and having a salad with dinner and this healthy habit makes that so easy to accomplish.

healthy habit 8-take a walk after dinner

This will help mark the shift from day to evening without just plopping down on the couch and zoning out in front of the TV. It always feels to me as though we finish eating dinner and then immediately the kids have to start getting ready for bed. A walk will give us some time together and prolong the portion of the evening before we have to start bedtime routines, not to mention get some of the dog’s energy out before settling in for the night. This is your passeggiata, a leisurely evening stroll for you to connect with your family, check out the neighbourhood, and say hello to your neighbours. Connection is a very healthy habit for everyone in your whole family.

mental health habit 9-do dishes daily

When dishes pile up I get even more overwhelmed than when laundry piles up so this is a mental health habit for sure. We are a “run the dishwasher at least once a day” family and I am ok with that. I use these Kirkland dishwasher pacs and find that they work just as good as some of the name brand products at a budget friendly price. Our dish situation has improved dramatically since the kids started emptying the dishwasher every day. It’s one of the chores they are responsible for as members of the family. Of course they don’t think that this is a great improvement but I love it! 

mental health 10-journal regularly

Seven years ago I purchased my first five year journal and I have done relatively well filling it, and its successor,  in. It only has space for a sentence or two and I’ve focused on writing important events in it. That is all well and good but what I mean when I say I would like to journal more regularly is long form journalling. When I was about 20 years old, I kept a journal that I would write in several times a day. It helped to keep me grounded during some difficult times (all self inflicted, lol) and I think that my mental health would benefit greatly from doing that again. 

healthy habit 11-have my morning coffee at the kitchen table instead of on the couch

The couch is a black hole of inactivity. If I allow myself to get sucked in early in the morning I can waste half the day just sitting there doing nothing. When I sit at the kitchen table my entire day tends to be more productive and I feel better about what I’ve accomplished during the day. That’s a pretty good result from only setting out to sit at the table, not to get anything done.

bonus habit-practice more mindfulness when eating sweets

I have horrendous cravings for chocolate and sweets leading up to my time of the month. When I get carried away and indulge too much I tend to get crippling migraines and I would like to avoid those as much as possible. This one will be tricky because it has the potential to set off a binge but I need to be more aware of moderating my intake of sweets, especially when it’s close to shark week. 

And that’s about it for now. I’m sure my list will grow as I adopt some of these habits. And some of these habits might not even work out like I hope they will. I’m not looking for perfection here. I am just attempting to improve my health in a way that is not related to appearance. 

Do you have any healthy daily habits that you do just because they make you feel good? I’d love to hear what you do to stay healthy and happy. Tell me in the comments what habits you have and which you’d like to cultivate in the future.

Until next time,

Chantal, the Secular Homemaker.

Posted by chantal

Hi, I'm Chantal. I'm a mediocre stay at home mom to two hilarious, and frequently frustrating, small humans and an even more mediocre wife to an equally hilarious, but slightly less frustrating, grown up man. I like writing, powerlifting, eating, long afternoon naps, and laughing at my own jokes.

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