Feeling in a rut? Whether you need help with your diet, fitness routine, hectic schedule or stress level, these small changes can help you hit the reset button.
Take a mindful minute.
Meditation helps take the edge off stress and can even help you make better decisions. Don’t think you’re the sit-still-and-breathe type? Look for free guided meditation sessions online or through a phone app.
Add some green to the scene. A potted plant can help you be more productive, feel less stressed and literally breathe easier. “Plants dramatically improve indoor air quality,” says Bill Wolverton, Ph.D., author of How to Grow Fresh Air. He recommends lady palm, rubber plant, golden pothos, peace lily and syngonium. The houseplant-as-air-purifier is directly related to leaf surface area, so more is more and bigger is better. Get the largest one your space will allow and set it wherever you spend the most time.
Open the windows.
Weather permitting, leave one or two windows open for a bit to reduce indoor air pollutants and refresh your home’s air supply.
Create a no-tech zone.
Never unplugging can leave you frazzled and fatigued. One easy way to take a tech break? Wear a watch. Many people check the time on their phones but then get caught up in Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Get some game.
Instead of stashing family games away, store them in sight-hopefully somewhere between you and the TV remote, says Bay Area designer Tamara Mack. Stack board games and fun-starters like dominoes or cards below the coffee table. Add floor cushions to make contests more comfy.
Let there be light.
Brighter spaces can seem more cheerful. Three of four corners in a room should be illuminated with table or floor lamps, says New York-based designer Elaine Griffin. Tweak the wattage in each lamp so it delivers the right amount of light; the darker the zone, the more wattage you need.
Switch up your surroundings.
Try adding a new burst of color or a piece of artwork to a room you spend a lot of time in. How to pick your happy color: re-create the palette of a place that holds fond memories-whether it’s your childhood bedroom, a country cottage or a vacation destination.
Become a smooth(ie) operator.
Done right, a smoothie can give you a big dose of healthy in a glass. The secret: “Focus on increasing the veggies,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. “Use nonstarchy veggies like kale, spinach, Swiss chard or lettuce, then you can add a little fruit for sweetness, and some protein like low-fat Greek yogurt to keep you satisfied.”
“Aim to have five different colors of produce every day,” Kirkpatrick says. “One day it might be an apple, a banana, some Swiss chard, blueberries and a sweet potato. You’ll fill up on good-for-you produce, leaving less room for junk food.”
Make every day like the first day of school and pick out what you’re going to wear the night before. Hang your outfit on a hook or take a few minutes to map it out mentally.
Give your bag a makeover.
How to never again frantically search for your keys, phone or wallet? Have a system and stick to it, says Julie Morgenstern, author of Organizing from the Inside Out. Use bags within your bag-pick up a few small see-through pouches and assign each one a category: makeup, snacks/gum, pens/pencils, etc. Put your keys and phone inside their own inside pockets, and dedicate an interior pocket for glasses or shades.
Think outside the gym session and find ways to take your daily activity levels up a notch. Swap your car for your bike when you're going short distances, sign up for a charity car wash or simply walk more briskly as you do errands. It all counts toward your goal of 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
Keep fitness front-of-mind.
Stash a rolled-up yoga mat and resistance bands near your couch where they’re visible-a reminder that you can do stretching or strength-training moves anytime.