Today: A few simple steps for a better life.

I had one of those weeks.  The kind where you get to your desk and think… I don’t remember driving to work.  The kind where, at the end of the day, you forget where you parked.  And subsequently, you walk from one parking level to the next, casually pressing the alarm button on your key ring.  The kind where you eat frozen yogurt for dinner.  The kind where you wake up in the morning, feeling like you could use another six hours of sleep (maybe because you ate frozen yogurt for dinner?).  The kind where you wonder if wearing tomorrow’s suit to bed would give you a jump on the morning routine (a bad idea, I assure you).

Not exactly the healthiest week.  But we all have ’em.  And fortunately, it’s a long weekend – perfect for getting a little much needed rest, and getting back on track.  More good news:  some of the best steps we can take for a better life are also the simplest.

A few simple steps for a better life:

1.  Take off your shoes when you walk through the door.

Your shoes pick up all kinds of cooties, germs, and particles throughout the day.  Leaving your shoes at the door will prevent you from tracking those nasty things throughout your house.  Need more convincing?  Here’s 37 reasons to leave your shoes at the door.

Fellow dog owners would do well to wipe their pets’ paws after walks.  Just think (on second thought, maybe don’t) about what those little fellas walk through.

2.  Consider making a switch.

It might be taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  It might be a piece of fruit instead of a cup of juice.  It might be a phone call to a friend instead of a television show.  Small switches can make a big difference, without requiring a lot of added time or effort.

For me, making the switch from dairy milk to almond milk has been an easy and effective way to ensure I get plenty of calcium in my diet, without the unpleasant effects of lactose.  I grew up drinking skim milk with every meal, but when my doctor and RD prescribed all kinds of tests and elimination diets last summer, dairy was at the top of the no-no list.

Single-serve cartons of Silk PureAlmond – I was thrilled to find these minis in the market. They’re much more commuter-friendly than a large, previously-opened carton of non-dairy milk. And yes, I have had one of those tip over and spill in my handbag.

Nick and I were already using almond milk in smoothies, coffee, baking, and protein shakes, so it was not hard to make a total shift.  Cheese was another story.  I came close to weeping before a wedge of brie at our favorite Whole Foods Market.  While I am back to eating dairy in small quantities, we still tend to opt for almond milk over cow’s milk.

There are the obvious benefits (50% more calcium per serving than dairy milk, shelf stable before opening… in your purse or elsewhere), but it’s also a taste thing.  I simply prefer almond milk at this point.  If you’ve made the switch and are looking for a little inspiration, check out these recipes featuring Silk PureAlmond Unsweetened shared by a few fellow bloggers on Silk’s Facebook page (where you’ll also find a $1.00 off coupon to um… sweeten the deal).  New recipes are being added regularly, and they all look fantastic.

3.  Bring home a plant.

Plants help purify the air around us.  They give us something to care for (I think this is important).  They look pretty.  And, apparently, they can make us smarter.

Lacking a green thumb?  Here’s a list of  24 easy to care for house plants.

4.  Give your cell phone some thought.

Every now and then, I use my iPhone for making actual phone calls.  You know when you’ve chatted just a little too long, and suddenly your phone feels like it’s been in the microwave?  That can’t be safe.  When Pong Research sent me a protective case, designed to reduce radiation exposure,  I hesitated to read their materials for fear I’d be convinced to forgo my phone all together.  Then I saw something really cute I wanted to Instagram.  Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too prevent harmful radiation aaaand over-share on the Internet too.

This is the thing: It’s possible that many of the devices we use daily are harmful.  Maybe a little, maybe a lot.  Spending time worrying and imagining (two favorite past times of mine) accomplishes very little.  Give your cell phone usage, or microwave usage, or super-amazing-hold hair spray some thought.  Research alternatives.  Come up with a plan to limit the harm you may be causing yourselves or others.

5.  Take a walk.

I take what I call a “wellness walk” (nearly) every day.  I usually fold in office errands, like grabbing the mail or making a bank deposit, but I always make sure I have a few minutes to myself to just be.  To say hello to the older people who gather near the playground by my office.  To look at the clouds (another favorite past time, one more productive than worrying).  To stretch my legs a bit.

I always return to my desk feeling refreshed and re-energized.  On days when I am at the office for especially long hours, these walks help break up the day and keep me feeling connected to everything going on beyond my desk.  They give me perspective.  It only takes a few minutes (I am rarely gone more that 10), but it makes a world of difference.

It’s pretty incredible how one simple, smart choice can lead to more simple, smart choices.  And how simple, smart choices lead you to the exact spot where you parked this morning.

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign.  All opinions are my own.

Also On Tap for Today:

What healthy switches or swaps have you made?

6 thoughts on “Today: A few simple steps for a better life.

  1. The first point about shoes makes me think I should have “indoor shoes” and “outdoor shoes”. There’s an advice person called “Fly Lady” who always encourages you to make sure you get dressed first thing in the morning including into your laced up shoes (once you’re fully dressed, you’re less likely to lounge around being useless). So when I put on sneakers at home, I feel pretty ready to go! Though then I guess I’d have to change into “outdoor shoes” when I’m ready to go… Okay, nevermind?

    I’ve never tried almond milk. Does it taste sweet/nutty/weird? I’d be interested in making some healthy changes like that, but I’m not the best at trying new healthy changes. Maybe I’ll grab that coupon 🙂

    Walks are good. I’m looking forward to when the weather gets a bit warmer and my coworkers and I will start going on our post-lunch walks again.

  2. I guess the whole idea behind making healthy switches is to do it a little at a time. My little swaps are to eat more complex carbs instead of grabbing things like bagels/ bread/ pasta. Also, I’m adding planks to my routine and getting myself to drink 6 cups of water a day (I’m a cactus and usually don’t drink water at all!)

    Best of luck with your almond milk transition. May I suggest trying quinoa&oat milk. I actually got it this week from Whole Foods and it tastes amazing!

  3. I since moving I now have slipper that I wear like crazy around the house and my outdoor sneakers for dog walking. I agree with you about the wellness walk, went today down to the beach even with the temperature being 32 and 15 mph winds, it felt great! My puppy enjoyed it very much too! Great ideas!

  4. I make sure to get 30 minutes of “non screen” time before I go to sleep every night. I either read a magazine, journal, or read on my Kindle. (I don’t count my Kindle as a screen… its a paperwhite). It helps me sleep deeper, I swear.

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