With the abundance of ads for expensive grocery stores and fancy workout equipment, it may seem that good health is a luxury for the wealthy. However, as women entrepreneurs, we simply cannot afford to not take care of ourselves. This is especially true for people who work in healthcare, retail, or food service, as these individuals rank as the least healthy compared to folks in other professions.
Fortunately, with a little planning, you can improve the four main areas of your well-being — nutrition, physical activity, sleep, and mental health — without spending too much money. Smart Girl Brand suggests applying the following tips to keep your health on track without spending more than you can afford.
What you put into your body has a major effect on your overall health. Providence Health Plan cites research showing that those who eat a daily salad have greater levels of illness-preventing nutrients in their bodies. Although a salad a day may seem boring, there are a variety of salad recipes out there. Keep trying different preparations until you find one or more that you like. If salad is just not for you, a daily bowl of vegetable soup is another simple way to increase your produce intake. As with salads, there are many vegetable soup recipes to choose from so you can avoid boredom.
Making home-cooked meals is optimal, and the less processed the better. Make your kitchen a central hub for creating healthy meals, and consider installing a new range hood to keep the cooking area well ventilated – and stylish, at that!
Healthy, high-quality food can be expensive, yes. However, budget-friendly shopping is possible. Purchase nutritious non-perishables in bulk. Other foods can be frozen. If you see lean meats or other healthy choices on sale, you can stock up and freeze them. The vegetable soup mentioned above can be prepared in a large pot, put into single-serve containers, and frozen for a convenient, reheatable meal that saves time and money.
If your goal is to get in shape, technology is your friend. Fitness apps can help — as can picking up a fitness tracker, as well as listening to music while you exercise for a little extra motivation. That being said, some people struggle with knowing where to start. The most important thing, though, is just to start. If you’re working out at home, keep in mind that you’ll want to remove any barriers to starting and staying motivated. This involves creating a positive environment by eliminating anything inducing undue stress or anxiety, such as clutter, disorganization, and even poorly lit rooms. Make your home a place where getting your exercise comes naturally and freely.
There are many wellness benefits of exercise, not to mention plenty of cost-efficient methods of getting in shape. Bodyweight exercises build strength without the use of weight machines or other high-priced apparatus. Also, if you’re interested in boxing — which is one of the best forms of exercise there is — certain bodyweight exercises can be a big help in the ring. For instance, lunges will strengthen your legs for better punching power, while sit-ups strengthen your core to protect your body from body shots.
You can also improve your stamina by running outdoors. Jump ropes and resistance bands are inexpensive exercise tools that can add variety to your daily routine. If you decide that you want a piece of exercise equipment, consider buying used from a secondhand store or a yard sale.
There are even plenty of options for seniors, particularly those who subscribe to Medicare Advantage Plans, which provide access to thousands of facilities around the country, and there are several right here in Austin too. Silver Sneakers programs typically offer fitness classes, personal training, swimming, yoga and more.
Sleep provides many health benefits. However, getting enough slumber time is difficult for some people. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to improve sleep quality. Setting a bedtime schedule and routine and sticking to them as much as possible is the first step to getting better sleep. Make your room as dark and quiet as you can before you go to bed. If your mattress is more than eight years old, it may be time to upgrade. Holiday sales are a good time to go mattress shopping. Consider adding a mattress topper if you need a less expensive upgrade.
The negative effects of stress can have long-term consequences on your physical health. Fortunately, as Self points out, there are many stress-reduction techniques and behaviors that you can add to your routine to develop a better response to tense situations. Writing down your thoughts can help you make sure they are clear and logical. Putting your worries down on paper allows you to set them aside for later.
Take time to calm down and try to be kind to yourself. You can set aside a distraction-free space in your home to meditate or work on creative pursuits. Parks and outdoor spaces are options for getting out of the house or office for a quick break without spending money.
Revisiting Your Budget
Money is often the top stressor for most people (a double whammy for female entrepreneurs), and when you don’t have a solid budget in place, stress about money can reign supreme in your mind. However, with careful planning and a budget you can stick to, not only will you be able to reduce your stress, but you can save money too.
Things like eating at home more often (which is also healthier) rather than dining out, avoiding pricey coffee shops, canceling any unnecessary subscriptions or even moving can make an impact. For example, you could save hundreds of dollars a month just by moving into a smaller space. If you’re a renter, there are plenty of options through the Austin area, which ensures you can find an affordable place in a good neighborhood.
Although many expensive options to improve your health exist, you can utilize numerous budget-friendly improvements instead. Nutritious food can be inexpensive, and exercise, sleep, and relaxation can all be free — not to mention a great investment in your future self!
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