Five healthy habits that will relieve stress

Everyone — no matter what their age — likes to reminisce about the “good old days.” You know, when life seemed simpler and easier, and when people weren’t always rushing here or there for a business appointment, a quick workout, or even to a Little League game.
Now, it seems, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished. But, by making time for a few easy, healthy habits to integrate into your hectic daily routine, you will feel better, with less stress and more energy.
Here are a few simple, healthy ideas to make that happen:
1 Forget that cup of coffee every morning, or in the early afternoon when your body may be craving a quick caffeine boost. Caffeine will actually dehydrate you, and any fast rush it may provide is quickly offset by an energy-sapping crash. Instead, try a 100-percent fruit juice or an herbal tea — you’ll also be cutting your sugar intake, too.
2 Take a short break one afternoon and plan your weekly menu. Keep healthy foods in mind, keep it simple, then go grocery shopping with your meal plans in mind. The time it may take you to find simple-to-make, healthy recipes, buy the ingredients, and then cooking them will be more than offset by not grabbing a quick take-out or fast-food meal. The health benefits are huge, as well.
3 Replace high-sugar foods with their low-sugar equivalents and reduce your intake of calories. If you can’t go without your favorite bakery items, cereals and ice cream, in most cases they will come in a low- or even no-sugar version. Better yet, find some healthy replacements. Fresh fruit, applesauce and whole-grain crackers can be just as satisfying to the taste buds, and much healthier.
4 Find time for a quick walk every day, which can be accomplished by purchasing a treadmill and picking out a time that suits you. Listening to your favorite music or watching the morning news will make a half-hour fly by — and will make a huge difference in your energy level and overall health.
5 Find time for proper sleep. When we’re awake, we go here and there trying to get everything done. When we try to sleep, many times the thoughts of what we have to do tomorrow or didn’t get done today are still racing through our minds. But even if you have to build in an extra 30 minutes for those thoughts to cease, make sure you are providing yourself with enough time for the proper amount of rest. You’ll have more energy, you’ll think clearer and you’ll feel better.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at