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We all want to get healthier, but it’s not always easy. Developing habits can be a long process, and it often feels incredibly expensive as well. After all, not everyone can afford fancy gym memberships, baskets of seasonal organic produce, and high-end sleep gadgets.
The good news is that you don’t actually need any of that to live healthfully. There are many affordable and simple ways to start changing your habits for the better.
#1 Set Up a Home Gym
If you can’t afford to go to the gym, bring the gym to you. A home gym is not only more affordable than a membership, but it also makes exercising more convenient.
You’ll be surprised at how much more willing you are to work out when you can just roll out of bed and do it in your old sweatpants.
A home gym does involve some investment, but you can save money on equipment and gear by looking for online promo codes for stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods. Resist the temptation to buy shiny, complex machines; instead start with a few basics: a yoga mat, some free weights you can lift, and resistance bands.
You can work your way up to more expensive equipment later. You can also use the internet to do exercise classes for free; Thrillist has a great list of the best YouTube channels with free workouts, including Pilates, HIIT, and weightlifting.
#2 Learn to Eat Well On A Budget
A short walk around any supermarket would seem to confirm the idea that healthy food is unaffordable. A basket full of fresh produce will cost you more than a basket full of pre-packaged meals.
However, that doesn’t mean healthy food is more expensive. For one, you can make many meals with that produce. Big-batch meals, especially those made in a super-convenient slow cooker, are some of the healthiest and most affordable ways to eat.
It’s not all soups and stews, either; slow cooker recipes range from delicious fajitas to chili, gyro, and perfectly cooked chicken.
Secondly, there are cheap ways to get your five-a-day into your diet. Tinned and frozen fruit and vegetables are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, for a fraction of the price and a longer shelf life.
When you do want to buy fresh, focus on seasonal produce (this will usually be on offer at the store). Keep track of what is in season using this guide by the USDA.
#3 Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Sleep is so important to our mental and physical well-being, but it is too often neglected. Over one-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep every night, and the rest often report poor-quality sleep.
This can cause ripple effects throughout all areas of our lives and our health, so it’s important to do something about it. Before you reach for prescription pills or expensive gadgets, try simply adjusting your sleep hygiene.
This is the combination of habits surrounding your sleep.
Set a bedtime that allows for seven to eight hours of sleep, and stick to it
Set an alarm for half an hour before you want to go to bed
Avoid lying in bed during the day, so your body associates it with sleep only
No phones, laptops or tablets in the hour before going to bed, as the blue light from the screen can keep you from sleeping
Create a soothing atmosphere in your room. There are many ways you can do this for cheap, for instance by using a homemade soothing pillow mist with essential oils or a free app that plays relaxing sounds, like Relax Melodies or Sleepmaker Rain
You should never fall into the trap of thinking that spending lots of money on something is a guarantee of success. Living healthfully is not a matter of buying expensive things.
It’s a matter of habit, and these habits can easily be built on a budget. Without the financial pressure, you can take it slow, make gradual changes, and allow healthy habits to integrate themselves with your life.