In a world inundated by quick fixes and fad diets, the pursuit of genuine wellness can feel like an elusive goal.

Whether you’re a seasoned health enthusiast or just starting your wellness path, my experiences might resonate with you, inspire a new routine, or simply offer a comforting nod of ‘me too.’

Maria Kane's Health Hacks

Limit or Eliminate Alcohol

I’d like to raise a toast with you — but instead of clinking champagne flutes, we’ll clink our glasses of sparkling water. When I turned 50, I made a decision to make my health my number one priority. One big change that I made for my health is limiting my alcohol intake and, oftentimes, eliminating it entirely for extended periods of time. When I started opting out of wine at dinner or a cocktail at happy hour, I found the experience to be just as rich, the company just as enjoyable, and my mind and body far happier the next day.

Reducing or removing alcohol can bring forth a wave of change in your personal wellness. You might find you sleep better, feel sharper in the morning, and have an edge in your workouts. If you’re concerned about socializing without a drink in hand, don’t be! I order sparkling water with lime at social gatherings, and it largely goes unnoticed. It’s an easy swap, and I have found support from friends and loved ones, allowing me to remain sociable without the accompanying shot of alcohol or headache the following morning.

Walk Daily Outside

My mornings are sacred. It’s when I lace up my sneakers and step outside, the brisk air signaling the day’s start. This daily walk is non-negotiable. Whether rain or shine, I hit the outdoors—not just because it’s good for me—but also for my loyal companion, my dog, Ringo. This routine has become a grounding ritual that keeps us both happy and healthy and sets an energy-filled pace for the day.

The benefits of walking are so numerous that it’s hard to count. Physically, it promotes heart health and helps manage weight. Mentally, it’s a shot of serotonin that can uplift your mood and reduce stress. This doesn’t have to be a power walk or a hiking expedition, just a steady movement you can sustain and enjoy. Finding a furry friend or a friend who loves a daily walk makes it that much better!

Limit Social Media

In today’s digital age, quiet moments have become a rare and precious commodity. Reflecting on this, I recognized that the constant digital hum was impacting my health, especially my mental clarity. The decision to limit my social media intake was more like a modern-day digital detox. I re-assessed where I was spending my time and the value it brought to my life.

The solution? A kindle. I chose to escape the endless scroll by immersing myself in books. It’s not a complete hiatus from technology but a more mindful one. Reading, especially fiction, has been a soothing activity for my over-stimulated mind. And the best part is, the more I read, the more I long for the quiet space of my imagination and words on a page rather than the flood of notifications.

If you find breaking free from social media challenging, start small and be consistent. Replace incrementally longer periods of screen time with a book, a hobby, a conversation, or even just an extended silence to allow your thoughts the undivided attention they deserve.

Get More Sleep

Sleep is the most passive, yet the most necessary, aspect of our health. It’s the time when our body rejuvenates, heals, and grows. Despite knowing this, for many of us, it remains one of the most challenging health habits to master. I empathize completely — the allure of a full Netflix series or an enticing book has often tugged at my bedtime. But over the years, I’ve learned that an early bedtime isn’t a chore but a luxury.

The benefits of a good night’s sleep are well-documented — improved focus, better mood, and a stronger body. If you’re struggling with the discipline to turn in early, try making your sleep environment more inviting. Invest in good bedding, create a comforting sleep routine, and minimize electronic usage before bed. If you find that sleep continues to elude you, don’t hesitate to talk to a healthcare professional to address any underlying issues. Remember, the hours between the sheets are essential to your long-term health and wellness.

In conclusion, remember, wellness isn’t about jogging for an hour or eating kale all day (though those are great options!). Instead, it’s about the many small changes that add to a big, healthier picture. Treat your health like a personal project where each day offers a new opportunity to improve upon the last. Whether it’s the choices we make around alcohol, the daily activities we engage in, the media we consume, or the way we prioritize our sleep, each step is bringing us closer to our best selves and to living a vibrant life.