Wellness can often feel like an all-or-nothing pursuit — like if you don’t have time to do it all perfectly, you might as well not bother with anything at all. But even small, simple changes can drastically improve your health. Get started with one of these current wellness tips.
1. Practice Mindfulness
Meditation is a powerful tool to build awareness, ease stress and anxiety, and promote relaxation in your body. As with all new habits, it will take some time for you to adjust to a meditation practice, so it’s important that you maintain a consistent routine until it becomes second nature. It doesn’t have to take up a significant portion of your day; start by setting aside five or 10 minutes. (For more meditation tips, see “How to Begin a Daily Meditation Practice.”)
- Meditate first thing in the morning to completely change the way you start your day. Instead of frantically rushing out the door, take some time to tune in to your inner self and set your goals for the day.
- Mornings not great for you? Experiment with an evening meditation as a pre-bedtime ritual. Set aside your electronic devices and spend a few minutes focusing on your breath. Over time, your practice will prepare your body for a good night’s sleep.
2. Embrace Natural Beauty
Ditch the mainstream personal-care products, many of which contain harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrances. These days, there are more safe and natural solutions on the market to help you transform your beauty regimen into a green routine. In the long run, it will benefit your health and the environment, too. (For more on the health risks of synthetic fragrances, see “The Problem With Perfume.”)
- Read labels. When reading ingredients labels — for food or personal-care products — a good rule of thumb is “Less is more”: Look for beauty products with few ingredients, especially natural ones you recognize, like coconut oil. Avoid phthalates and parabens whenever you can.
Consider DIY solutions. There are many natural versions of cleansers, moisturizers, and more. You can easily make your own lip gloss by mixing melted beeswax, castor oil, sesame oil, and a little bit of beet juice. You can also use plain, full-fat yogurt as a cleanser or facial mask. (For more recipes and suggestions, see “DIY Beauty.”)
3. Eat Clean
It can be hard to eat healthy all the time, especially if you’re always on the go. But with careful planning, you can eat well wherever you are. This summer will bring some promising food trends that will satisfy your appetite and help you maintain your health priorities. (For more on trends in the food industry, see “A Culinary Trend-Watcher’s Guide to the New Year.”)
- Golden turmeric milk is a popular beverage among health-minded folks, and its health-boosting properties may mean it has some staying power. It contains anti-inflammatory turmeric and curcumin, which are also believed to improve brain function and lower the risk of heart disease. Make golden turmeric milk your go-to drink for the summer to reap the benefits.
- Vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike can look forward to even more plant-based meats — especially those made without gluten and soy — which are expected to hit shelves hard this year. Many plant-based alternatives look, taste, and cook just like meat, so you can reduce your meat consumption without neglecting your cravings.
4. Try Minimalist Packing
A summer getaway doesn’t have to mean a two-week vacation to a foreign country; maybe you’re looking forward to a fun, socially distanced day trip with friends. Whether you choose a nature hike, a picnic, or a bike ride, be prepared with a few travel essentials — but don’t overdo it. (For more tips on carrying your gear, see “How to Pack a Backpack.”)
- The key to minimalist packing is to focus on only the things you need. For example, don’t skimp on sun protection. Bring a hat and a mineral-based sunscreen — and reapply often. (For advice on finding a safe and effective sunscreen, see “Which Sunscreen Is Right for You?”.)
- Also, stay hydrated. Bottled water is expensive and wasteful, so invest in a good reusable bottle that you can take with you anywhere you go. (To learn more about why to kick the bottled-water habit, see “Truth on Tap.”)
5. Create a Home Sanctuary
Your home is your safe haven. It’s where you go to unwind, relax, and enjoy time alone — but if your space isn’t welcoming and functional, de-stressing will be that much harder. Make your space work for you by clearing away any clutter. If your desk is smothered in loose papers, file them. If your living room is scattered with throws, fold them and put them away. (For more on how your home mirrors your mental state, see “The Emotional Toll of Clutter.”)
- If possible, create a happy spot in your home that’s only for you. It can be a quiet space in your bedroom, or a reading chair in your living area. You can even set up a meditation corner for those times you need an escape and time to reflect.
- Add a comforting scent to your home by diffusing essential oils or lighting a candle. You can make a home instantly cozier with a familiar scent from your childhood or one that is calming, like lavender or vanilla. (For more on choosing your essential oils, see “What You Need to Know About Essential Oils.”)
This piece was updated on June 9, 2020.