10 Healthy Habits for Living Incredibly: A Guide for Women

Three young women gather around a phone after working out together

Three young women gather around to look at a video on a phone after working out together. Staying healthy means keeping up with mental health as well as physical health!

We all strive to live a healthy and fulfilling life, but sometimes it can feel overwhelming to know where to start. We've compiled this guide of 10 Habits for Living Incredibly. Incorporating these habits into your daily routine can enhance your overall well-being and empower you to lead an incredibly fulfilling life.

From eating well for energy and vitality to prioritizing sleep for optimal health to nurturing your mental well-being, this guide covers a wide range of essential areas for women's health. We'll also explore the importance of self-care and stress management, maintaining healthy relationships, finding joy and purpose in life, taking charge of your health, and embracing a positive body image.

So, whether you're just starting your health journey or looking for new ways to enhance your well-being, this guide supports you every step. Let's dive in and discover the ten healthy habits that will make a meaningful difference in your life. Get ready to rock your way to incredible health and happiness!

Eating Well for Energy and Vitality

Healthy eating habits are the foundation of overall well-being. Nourish your body with a balanced and nutritious diet, focusing on whole foods, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Remember, the goal is not perfection, but finding a sustainable approach to nourishing your body while indulging in occasional treats guilt-free.

It's helpful to incorporate some simple tips into your daily routine to improve your eating habits. Try increasing your intake of vegetables, snacking on fruit more frequently, and cooking at home more often. 

  • Everyone must consume fruits and vegetables daily, aiming to fill half their plate with them at mealtime. Unfortunately, many women fall short in this area. To address this, focus on eating whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juice, and try experimenting with different types of vegetables throughout the week.
  • When it comes to protein, make sure to include a variety of sources such as seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy products in your diet. Most women don't get enough seafood, which is recommended at 8 to 10 ounces per week (about two servings).
  • Another area to improve is whole grain consumption. Opt for whole grains like brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, and whole-wheat bread for at least half of your grain intake.
  • Aim for three cups of dairy daily, but if you can't consume milk, consider low-fat plain yogurt or cheese. While dairy is an excellent source of calcium, other options like kale, broccoli, fortified soymilk, fortified cereals, and certain fruit juices also provide this mineral. 
  • Lastly, cooking oils from plants instead of solid fats like butter or margarine. Many women consume excessive solid fat through packaged foods, but it's essential to incorporate healthy fats like olive oil or the fats found in seafood. Healthy eating means avoiding excessive sugars, saturated and trans fats, and sodium. Instead, focus on consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy proteins, and dairy while being mindful of your calorie intake based on your body type.

PRO TIP: Create a well-planned shopping list and adhere to it during grocery trips. Additionally, avoid shopping on an empty stomach to reduce the likelihood of making unhealthy choices or purchasing unnecessary items while feeling hungry.

Staying Active and Fit

Being active and fit is not just about looking great; it's a powerful way to boost your overall health and well-being. As women, taking care of our bodies is of utmost importance, and regular physical activity can play a significant role in achieving a healthy and happy life. Let's explore the numerous benefits of staying active and fit.

Improved Physical Health

Regular physical activity offers a wide array of benefits for our bodies. It can help maintain a healthy weight, reducing the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. According to the IDPH, staying active enhances cardiovascular health by increasing "good" HDL-cholesterol levels. This, in turn, helps lower "bad" LDL cholesterol, reducing the risk of artery blockages and promoting a healthier heart.

Mental Well-being

In addition to its physical advantages, staying active can do wonders for our mental health. Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, often called "feel-good" hormones, which can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also improve sleep quality, leaving us feeling more refreshed and energized to tackle daily challenges.

Boosting Bone and Muscle Health

As women age, maintaining strong bones and muscles becomes increasingly crucial. Regular weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, dancing, or resistance training, can help prevent bone density loss and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Strengthening our muscles can improve balance and stability, reducing the likelihood of falls and injuries.

Increased Energy Levels

It may sound counterintuitive, but staying active can increase our energy levels. Regular physical activity improves blood flow, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to reach our muscles and organs, ultimately boosting our endurance and overall vitality.

Social Connection

Exercise can be an excellent opportunity to build connections and expand your social circle. Joining fitness classes, sports teams, or outdoor activities can introduce you to like-minded individuals, creating a supportive and enjoyable community to share your health journey.

Setting a Positive Example

For women who are mothers or caregivers, staying active sets a positive example for the younger generation. Encouraging physical activity in our children benefits their current health and establishes healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

Prioritizing Sleep for Optimal Health

Life is all about balance, and one aspect that often gets overlooked is the importance of sleep. Everybody knows you have a million things on your plate, from conquering the world to binge-watching your favorite shows, but prioritizing sleep should be at the top of your to-do list. 

Sleep is a critical component of overall health, particularly for women, as highlighted in the Office of Research on Women's Health article. Adequate and restful sleep is now more critical than ever, given women's unique sleep challenges compared to men.

Sleep plays a vital role in mental health. Women are more susceptible to mood disorders like depression and anxiety; inadequate sleep can exacerbate these conditions. Quality sleep is essential for emotional well-being and resilience.

Here are some suggested things to do and avoid to have a nice sleep:

  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing.
  • Avoid electronic devices (phones, tablets, computers, and TVs) at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Keep your bedroom calm, dark, and quiet. Invest in comfortable bedding and a supportive mattress to promote a comfortable sleep environment.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol intake, especially close to bedtime. 
  • Avoid heavy meals, spicy foods, and excessive fluids before bedtime to prevent discomfort and nighttime awakenings.

A young woman writes in a journal

A young woman writes down her thoughts in a yellow journal. Journaling is a great way to maintain mental health and well-being.

    Nurturing Mental Well-being

    Life can get overwhelming, especially for women. Juggling multiple roles and responsibilities can leave us feeling stressed and burnt out. It's time to embrace the ultimate stress-buster: self-care. It concerns those bubble baths, face masks, and guilty pleasure TV shows. Take time out for yourself because you deserve it. Remember, self-care is not selfish; it's essential.

    Another critical aspect of maintaining mental well-being is staying connected with your support network. Surround yourself with people who lift you, and seek support when needed. Whether it's your best friend, partner, or therapist, don't be afraid to lean on them.

    Be kind to yourself and avoid self-criticism. Treat yourself with the same compassion you would offer a friend facing challenges. Acknowledge that it's okay to have difficult days and that imperfections are a natural part of being human.

    Find relaxation techniques that work for you, such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or taking a warm bath. Incorporate these practices into your daily routine to manage stress effectively.

    Here are various activities that women can engage in to nurture their overall well-being:

    • Yoga and Meditation
    • Reading and Journaling
    • Spending Time in Nature
    • Creative Expression
    • Physical Exercise
    • Socializing with Loved Ones
    • Volunteering and Giving Back
    • Cooking and Trying New Recipes
    • Taking Relaxing Baths
    • Attending Workshops or Classes
    • Listening to Music or Podcasts
    • Limiting Screen Time

    Oh, and remember the power of laughter. It truly is the best medicine. Watch a funny movie, hang out with hilarious friends, or try laughter yoga. Yep, that's a thing! Laugh away the stress and let the positivity flow.

    Practicing Self-Care and Stress Management

    Between juggling work, family, and social commitments, it's easy to forget to take care of ourselves. But guess what? You deserve a break! So here are some simple yet effective ways to practice self-care and manage stress like a pro.

    • Learn to say "no" without feeling guilty - It's okay to prioritize yourself and set boundaries. Remember, no matter how hard you try, you can't pour from an empty cup.
    • Indulge in activities that bring you joy – reading a book, going for a walk, or taking a relaxing bath. Find something that makes your heart sing and devote time to it regularly.
    • Set aside dedicated time for self-care activities every day. It could be as simple as meditating for 10 minutes, doing some yoga, or journaling your thoughts. Find what works for you and stick to it like glue. Creating a self-care routine is essential.
    • Treat yourself to a spa day or a cozy night with your favorite face mask and a good movie. You deserve the love and care you often give to others.
    • Surround yourself with supportive friends and family who uplift and empower you. Seek professional help if necessary; there's no shame in it.

    Drink Enough Water

    Your daily fluid requirements are significant as a woman living in a temperate climate. Your body loses water daily through breathing, sweat, urine, and bowel movements. To ensure your body operates at its best, you must replenish this lost water through beverages and water-rich foods.

    The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have researched this extensively and concluded that an adequate daily fluid intake is as follows:

    • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men
    • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

    Now that you know how much water you need, the next step is to ensure you meet this target consistently. Here are some practical tips to help you stay hydrated:

    • Carry a Water Bottle: Invest in a reusable water bottle and keep it wherever you go. Having water readily available will remind you to take sips throughout the day.
    • Set Reminders: In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it's easy to forget to drink water. Set hourly reminders on your phone or use apps encouraging you to stay hydrated.
    • Infuse Your Water: If plain water seems bland, add slices of citrus fruits, cucumbers, or berries to your water bottle for a refreshing twist.
    • Track Your Intake: Keep a hydration journal to monitor your water consumption. It will help you identify patterns and motivate you to improve.
    • Create Hydration Stations: Place water dispensers or pitchers in different rooms at home or work to encourage drinking.
    • Prioritize Water-Rich Foods: Incorporate fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as watermelon, cucumber, oranges, and lettuce, into your diet.
    • Drink Before Meals: Make it a habit to drink a glass of water before each meal. It not only boosts hydration but also aids in portion control.
    • Make it Fun: Get creative and prepare your own infused ice cubes or herbal iced teas to enjoy a variety of hydrating beverages.

    Finding Joy and Purpose in Life

    Who says life has to be a mundane routine? As women, we have the power to find joy and purpose in every aspect of our lives. And here are the things you can do

    First and foremost, remember to prioritize yourself and your desires. It's okay to put your needs first and pursue your passions. After all, life is too short to spend it pleasing others.

    Secondly, surround yourself with positive and supportive people who uplift you. Cut out the toxic influences and surround yourself with friends who bring out the best in you. It's incredible how much more fulfilling life can be with a robust support system.

    Next, remember to embrace the little things that bring you joy. These small moments create a fulfilling life, whether indulging in your favorite hobbies, enjoying a walk in nature, or simply savoring a delicious piece of chocolate.

    In addition, set goals and work towards them. Whether it's a career milestone, a fitness goal, or a personal achievement, having something to strive for gives a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

    Lastly, remember to care for yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Eat nourishing foods, move your body, and prioritize self-care. When prioritizing your well-being, you become better equipped to find joy and purpose in life.

    Balanced Screen Time for a Healthier Lifestyle

    Technology has become an integral part of our lives. While screens offer numerous benefits, excessive screen time can harm our overall well-being, particularly for women. This blog post will explore the benefits of limiting screen time for women, backed by evidence from the University of Suffolk. We will provide practical tips to help women balance their digital devices and a healthier lifestyle.

    Improved Sleep Quality

    Research suggests excessive screen time, especially before bedtime, can disrupt sleep patterns. Blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the body's production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep. By reducing screen time, women can experience more restful sleep, increased energy levels, and improved daily cognitive function.

    Enhanced Mental Health

    Spending too much time on screens, particularly on social media platforms, has been associated with higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Limiting screen time can help women break free from the pressures of comparison and online validation, leading to improved mental well-being and a more positive self-image.

    Increased Physical Activity

    Excessive screen time often leads to a sedentary lifestyle, contributing to various health issues like obesity and cardiovascular problems. Reducing screen time allows women to engage in physical activities such as exercising, walking, or participating in sports, promoting a healthier body and mind.

    Stronger Interpersonal Relationships

    Spending too much time on screens can lead to a disconnect from real-life social interactions. Women can foster meaningful relationships with family and friends by limiting screen time and promoting genuine communication and emotional connections.

    Enhanced Productivity and Focus

    Frequent distractions from screens can hinder productivity and focus in both personal and professional aspects of life. Women can allocate more time to meaningful tasks by reducing screen time, improving efficiency and time management skills.

    A young woman speaks with a nurse

    A young woman smiles as she speaks with a nurse. Regular check-ups are a vital part of health living.

    Regular Check-Ups

    Regular check-ups are vital for maintaining women's health and preventing potential health issues. Through routine screenings and examinations, women can avoid health concerns, leading to early detection and more effective treatment. Here are some key benefits of regular check-ups for women and tips on how to incorporate them into your healthcare routine:

    Early Detection of Health Issues

    Regular check-ups allow healthcare providers to monitor your health over time and detect any potential health problems in their early stages. It is particularly crucial for conditions like breast, cervical, and heart disease, where early detection can significantly improve outcomes.

    Preventive Healthcare

    Routine check-ups enable healthcare professionals to provide preventive measures tailored to your health needs, including vaccinations, screenings, and counseling. Preventive care can help avoid severe illnesses and keep you healthy and active for years.

    Management of Chronic Conditions

    For women with chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or thyroid disorders, regular check-ups are essential for effectively monitoring and managing these conditions. By keeping these conditions under control, you can lead a better quality of life and reduce the risk of complications.

    Mental Health Support

    Women's health is not just about physical well-being; mental health is equally important. Regular check-ups allow for discussions about mental health concerns, stress management, and access to appropriate resources or referrals if needed.

    Bone Health and Osteoporosis Screening

    As women age, bone health becomes increasingly important. Routine check-ups can include bone density screenings to assess the risk of osteoporosis, enabling early intervention and preventive measures to maintain bone health.

    Reproductive Health and Family Planning

    Regular check-ups are crucial for reproductive health, including Pap smears, pelvic exams, and screenings for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). These check-ups provide an opportunity to discuss family planning options and address any concerns related to fertility and menopause.

    Cardiovascular Health Assessment

    Heart disease is a significant health risk for women. Regular check-ups help monitor blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and overall cardiovascular health, allowing for early intervention to reduce the risk of heart disease.

    Health and Lifestyle Guidance

    During routine check-ups, healthcare providers can offer guidance on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including advice on nutrition, exercise, and weight management tailored to individual needs.

    Here are the tips to get yourself regular checkups

    • Make it a habit to schedule an annual comprehensive check-up with your primary care physician or gynecologist.
    • Maintain a personal health record that includes previous test results, medications, and medical history. It will help you and your healthcare provider track changes and make informed decisions.
    • Share any health concerns, symptoms, or lifestyle habits with your healthcare provider during the check-up. Open communication ensures accurate evaluations and personalized care.
    • Stay informed about recommended screenings and age-specific health checks. Regular screenings, like mammograms and Pap smears, are critical for early detection.
    • As your healthcare provider recommends, follow preventive healthcare guidelines, including vaccinations and health screenings.
    • Remember that oral and vision health are integral to overall well-being. Schedule regular dental and eye check-ups to maintain optimal health.
    • Don't neglect mental health concerns. If you experience anxiety, depression, or stress, discuss them with your healthcare provider for appropriate support and resources.

    Avoid Harmful Substances

    According to the NIAAA, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to various health problems, including liver disease, cardiovascular diseases, neurological disorders, and multiple cancers. Alcohol abuse can also negatively affect mental health and lead to addiction, further exacerbating the health risks. It is recommended to limit alcohol consumption to moderate levels to reduce these risks.

    The Better Health Channel provides information on how drugs affect the body. Illicit drugs can have different adverse effects depending on the type of drug used. Still, common health risks include increased heart rate, high blood pressure, respiratory issues, mental health problems, and damage to vital organs. Drug use can also lead to addiction, negatively impacting well-being and social functioning.

    The NCBI highlights the detrimental effects of smoking on health. Smoking tobacco exposes individuals to harmful chemicals, including nicotine and tar, which can damage the lungs and increase the risk of lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cardiovascular diseases. Smoking is a leading cause of preventable death worldwide, and quitting smoking can significantly improve health outcomes.

    Here are some practical tips to help you avoid harmful substances like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and illicit drugs

    • Familiarize yourself with the potential health consequences and the impact on your overall well-being. Knowledge is a powerful tool for making informed decisions.
    • Define your health and wellness goals. Whether improving fitness, mental well-being, or achieving personal milestones, having clear objectives can help you stay focused and motivated to avoid harmful substances.
    • Surround yourself with friends and family who support your decision to lead a healthy lifestyle.
    • Explore alternative ways to deal with stress and difficult emotions. Engage in activities like exercise, meditation, hobbies, or spending time with loved ones to manage stress without using harmful substances.
    • Identify situations or environments that may tempt you to use harmful substances and try to avoid them whenever possible. It could include parties where alcohol is present or places where drugs are readily available.
    • Establish a routine with regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and sufficient sleep. 
    • If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. The recommended guidelines vary by country, but generally, it's advisable to limit alcohol intake to a moderate amount per day or week.

    Women's Health: Habits for a Happy Life

    Maintaining good health and well-being can be quite challenging in today's fast-paced and stressful lifestyle. However, it is essential to follow healthy habits that can profoundly impact our overall health and happiness. This guide of 10 incredible habits for women is a great way to start living a healthier and more fulfilling life. 

    The habits recommended in the guide, such as eating nutritious food, taking care of our mental health, and avoiding harmful substances, are all crucial for maintaining optimal health. In addition, we must also make time for regular check-ups to ensure that we are healthy inside and out. Cultivating joyful and purposeful activities in our life can also contribute significantly to our overall well-being. Incorporating these healthy habits into our routine can lead a more enriching and satisfying life.

    For more information on healthy lifestyles, check out these articles:

    Mindfulness and Eating for Weight Control

    The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Intermittent Fasting

    The Importance of Exercise in Improving Insulin Sensitivity