Keeping your Health without Losing Your Sanity

By Rebecca Jones

Every morning we wake up and decided today’s the day that we follow all the golden rules of diet and exercise. 30 minutes of cardio, 8 glasses of water, we’ve all heard them, those guidelines that sound so easy in theory and turn out to be nearly impossible in practice. The good news is you don’t have to be a perfectionist. Turns out you can stop beating yourself up and take a day off because sometimes good enough really is good enough.

Eight Glasses of Water

You keep a glass by the bed, a bottle at the office but at the end of the day sometimes it just doesn’t add up. The good news is drinking water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated. Many of our favorite foods and drinks contain a significant amount of water. Drinks like tea and coffee, fruits and vegetables all help keep us hydrated. About 20% of our daily water intake comes from the foods we eat so as long as you drink when you are thirsty you don’t need to sweat the number of glasses. Just remember that if you exercise frequently or live in a hot climate it is especially important that you pay attention to water consumption.

Eight Hours of Sleep

We’ve all heard this one, but it seems that these days few of us have the time. Luckily researchers have discovered that there are no negative repercussions from getting 7 hours a night. Don’t push your luck on this one though anything less than 7 and you increase your chance for obesity, heart disease and diabetes not to mention the foggy headed crankiness that comes from not getting enough rest.

30 Minutes of Daily Exercise

30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week may be the ideal but if you don’t have time to hit the gym don’t worry. Even 20 minutes a day can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, improve your energy levels and relieve stress. If you can’t even commit 20 minutes try two ten minutes workouts it’s just as effective. Throw in some cardio intervals and not only will you have the physical benefits of exercise but you’ll have the psychological benefits as well.

(Also read: Get Fit on Holiday)

Portion Control

Sick of weighing and measuring everything you eat? It is very hard to gain weight eating too many fruits, vegetables or lean proteins, so the next time you make a salad leave the measuring cups in the cabinet. It’s really the foods that are high in fat and calories that you need to watch. Things like salad dressings, nuts, and bread can add up quickly so at meal time load up on the good stuff like broccoli and spinach it will fill you up and leave you feeling more satisfied even with smaller portions of the richer items.


We all know that we need to stay out of the sun but wearing daily sunscreen can leave skin feeling heavy and oily. Even though we’re told that we need to wear SPF 30 you can get away with an SPF 15 as long as you’re not spending the day at the beach. SPF 15 blocks only 4% less UV rays than 30 and is easy to find in a light weight daily moisturizer. This way you can protect your skin (don’t forget neck and chest) without sacrificing your daily beauty regimen.

Nobody’s perfect, try as we might it’s very hard to follow every health guideline thrown at us. Nothing is more damaging to your goals than adopting an all or nothing attitude. Like so many things in life aiming for moderation can be the key to keeping both your sanity and your health.