Nowadays, we are usually so busy that we barely leave any time at all for taking care of our mental and physical health. We always seem to be in a rush; no matter how fast we get things done, there is always something else to do. Especially when you’re a parent. This leads to developing unhealthy habits, such as not resting enough, stressing over small stuff, not eating well, etc.

Creating healthy habits doesn’t have to be difficult or disrupt your personal, family, and work commitments. You can incorporate them into your daily life little by little, and sooner than you think, you will start experiencing changes in your mood, attitude, physical health and overall well-being. Here are 5 simple healthy habits everyone should include in their routine:

1. Regular Exercise

Studies show that people who exercise regularly have lower rates of mortality, given that physical activity helps prevent an extensive number of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression, and osteoporosis. In addition, exercise can make you feel relaxed and happy, given that it produces endorphins, a hormone released by the pituitary gland that gives you feelings of pleasure, strength, and self-confidence.

And you don’t even have to get a gym membership to incorporate physical activity into your life. Making exercise a habit can be as easy as taking 20 minutes out of your daily routine to do yoga, go for a walk in the park, take a dance class, or follow an exercise routine online. Try bringing your kids along for some of these activities or look for family-friendly exercise classes, and you’ll also be teaching them the benefits of a healthy lifestyle from the start.

2. Avoid Alcohol

We all enjoy drinking a glass of wine or a beer after a stressful day, and there is nothing wrong with doing it as long as you do so in moderation. But if you feel like you need a drink whenever you face a stressful situation, or you feel like you can’t have fun at a party without alcohol, it might be time to reduce your consumption.

Alcohol can damage several organs in your bodies such as your brain, heart, liver, and pancreas, and it can increase the risk of developing many types of cancer including mouth, esophagus, throat, and breast. Remember that the more you drink, the more your body builds a tolerance to the substance, and this encourages increased consumption to feel its effects which can easily lead to a dangerous alcohol addiction.

3. Meditate

It’s widely accepted that high levels of stress are detrimental to your health, which is why you should do everything in your power to manage stress and avoid getting overwhelmed by small things. Meditation is a very simple yet very effective way to achieve this.

To start practicing this healthy habit all you have to do is set aside 5 minutes of your day. Right before going to sleep, sit somewhere quiet and close your eyes. Begin by focusing on your breathing, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Then start focusing on the rest of your body. What are you feeling in every member of your body, what do you smell, what do you hear. Doing this every day can help you clear your mind, feel more relaxed and lower your stress levels.

4. Eat Healthier

We often don’t have time to make an elaborate lunch that includes every food group in the exact proportions that nutritionists recommend. And that’s okay, eating healthy doesn’t necessarily mean obsessing over the calories in everything you eat or punishing yourself by never eating the things you like. (That sure sounds like a recipe for higher levels of stress!) You can still indulge in your favorite junk food every once in a while, but the idea is to start incorporating more healthy choices into your meals: fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, fiber, less processed carbs, less sugary drinks, less trans fats.

Your diet makes a great difference in your health status. In fact, the Center for Science in the Public Interest indicates that a poor diet directly influences the development of 4 out of the 10 top leading causes of premature deaths in the United States, which are: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.

5. Get Enough Sleep

Not getting the rest you need can make you irritable, unable to focus, constantly tired, and stressed. There are many reasons why you might not be sleeping enough: you may have trouble falling asleep because there’s too much on your mind, you travel frequently for work and experience jet lag frequently, you have a newborn to take care of in the middle of the night, or you simply don’t have the time to balance all you’ve got going on. Well, since sleep deprivation can bring fatal consequences long-term, such as the development of several chronic diseases, the healthy choice is to try and get the sleep your body needs each night.

If you have a hard time falling asleep at night, a few things you could try that might help you are: avoid coffee in the afternoon, eat lighter meals at night, nap early (or not at all), and make your room quiet and dark to help induce sleep.

Practicing these 5 healthy habits can be just what you need in order to regain your vitality, energy, sharpness, and happiness. Start incorporating them slowly into your routine, and come back and let us know in the comments what changes you’ve been noticing. Do you have any tips that help you manage a busy life with kids and stay healthy? Let us know in the comment section below.