31 Days of Health Hacks to Live Your Best Life

21. Soak in natural sunlight.

A natural mood-booster is waiting just outside the door. We’re talking sunlight and greenery. “Get bright, natural light exposure, preferably in the morning, which helps to anchor your body’s circadian rhythm,” says Max Lugavere, author of Genius Foods. Take a mini stroll before your commute or go the long way to get your late morning coffee.

22. Get aligned.

Most of us are guilty of slouching over a computer for the majority of the day. Keep yourself from a posture that can lead to muscle imbalances by setting a timer for every 15 minutes, says Alexander Lucci, DPT. “When you get the buzz, re-set by sitting upright and squeezing your shoulder blades together,” he says. “Try and compete with yourself and hold the posture as long as you can until the next reminder.”

23. Eat a “fatty salad.”

Think leafy greens, topped with extra-virgin olive oil, says Lugavere. “The fat helps you absorb brain-boosting carotenoids in the salad and the greens help you check off many of your nutritional boxes by providing micronutrients and fiber,” he says. (Find a few of our favorite salad recipes here.)

24. Focus on deep belly breathing.

Most adults take shallow breaths in their chest, but we’re born naturally breathing deeply into our belly,” says Price. “This helps to regulate the nervous system and alleviate stress and worry. Periodically throughout the day, notice how you are breathing and consciously shift into deep, relaxing breaths.” You just might feel instant calm.

25. Load up on carbs for a tough workout.

A takeaway Hall learned from years of training: “If you want to feel good and produce a lot of power for a hard workout, you need to make sure both your pre- and post-workout meal contains a considerable amount of carbs,” he says. So if you’re going for a long run or a tough conditioning class, make sure you have enough fuel to get you through. One of Hall’s favorite before-exercise breakfasts was cocoa pancakes. Check out this list of delicious pancake recipes to try at home.

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Pre- and Post-Workout Carbohydrates

26. Pop some all-natural probiotics.

When a midday craving kicks in for some chocolate or a calorie-laden latte, Patel actually turns to fermented foods, like a bite of kimchi or a sip of kombucha, which also helps aid in digestion. One of her favorites: rose kombucha over ice with berries on top. “It feels like a treat and a breath of fresh air to my gut,” she says.

27. Have fun with a new activity.

Always wanted to try a dance class? Want to test your skills at indoor rock climbing? Take today to try something new and have a little fun with it. “I have always approached my fitness with the intention of having a good time and making it as fun as possible,” says Abbott. “If you dread doing something, you won’t stick with it no matter how great it is for you.”

28. Eat off a smaller plate.

A trick Hall suggests turning to when you want to cut down on portion sizes (and calories) — grab a smaller plate at lunch. Research shows this serving size reduction will help you eat less.

29. Take five for self-massage.

Foam rolling is one of the best ways to reduce post-workout muscle soreness and help your body feel loose and more mobile. Make it a priority today — in fact, put it on your calendar just a like a massage appointment — and roll out your legs and upper back for five to 10 minutes.

30. Adopt a dog for the day.

Time to find that furry friend you always wanted. Studies show that dog owners walk 22 more minutes a day than those who don’t own a four-legged pal, and tend to take nearly 3,000 more daily steps. Ask to watch your friend’s pet for the day (or just take him or her out for a stroll) or sign up to be a sitter on dogvacay.com. “I actually write prescriptions to get a dog for my patients and those that do, always thank me,” says Steven R. Gundry, MD, cardiac surgeon and founder of Gundry MD. If nothing else, a fluffy friend should bring a few laughs your way.

31. Let go.

It’s time to move on from labels like “you’re not enough” or “you can’t do it,” say Sukey and Elizabeth Novogratz. Whenever a confidence-killing quote pops in your mind, have a new empowering one ready to go like, “you’ve got this” or “you’re stronger than you think.” 

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Originally published on January 1, 2018. Updated on December 31, 2021

All images via Shutterstock