21 Healthy Habits That Changed My Life According to a Functional Medicine Practitioner

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Healthy Habits - Woman Holding A Bottle Of Water After Exercise

We all have “healthy habits” we do everyday–some for the better, some for the worst.

For example: running may be a healthy habit for some people…but if you force yourself to run 5 to 10 miles every single day (beating your body down), this healthy habit can soon turn into an unhealthy overtraining habit.

Healthy habits are all about balance and the little things that make us feel better, move better, think better and live better.

Some healthy habits we don’t even think of as “healthy habits” because they’ve become our “norm” that we don’t think twice about— such as going to bed early in order to wake up early, or listening to music that makes you happy.

So what are your healthy habits that make us feel happier and healthier?

Healthy Habits - Woman Eating A Healthy Meal

Here are 21 random healthy habits I do most day that have changed my life to be a better version of myself…

21 Healthy Habits That Changed My Life

#1. Drink 16-20 ounces of clean mineral water in the morning

Cleanse your lymphatic system and boost your digestion for the entire day by front-loading your body with hydration. When you sleep, your body naturally loses fluids and electrolytes, making the morning the perfect time to replenish before putting food in the tank.

#2. Listen to boy band beats (or any music) that makes you happy

Music has a way of putting us in a mood. If you want to feel good, turn up Hanson’s “Mmm Bop”, N’Sync or even Spice Girls and say “bye bye bye” bad mood!

#3. Start the day off with a phone-free morning routine (no e-mail + social media or news)

Mornings are sacred for me. You get a choice every day—you happen to the day or let the day happen to you! If I start my head down in Instagram scrolling, doom and gloom daily news and e-mail and text checking, I feel my heart beating faster and breathing getting shorter—just by thinking about these things…versus tuning in to my morning devotional, prayer time, an inspirational mindset podcast or playlist and movement. Seriously, try it. 

#4. Get your pump on, first thing

Working out first thing is just like brushing my teeth. Before sitting down to my computer or getting to those e-mails or patient appointments, you’ll find me getting my pump on—strengthening my body and mind for the day.

#5. Do yoga…daily

Healthy Habits - Woman Doing Yoga

I used to “poo poo” yoga. It wasn’t “challenging enough”…until I realized what a difference it made in my own healing journey from chronic illness. There’s nothing like going “screen free” for an hour, deep breathing and letting your mind “go”—releasing stress as you flow. Now I go DAILY, just like brushing my teeth. 

#6. Take a quality probiotic

It’s been estimated that 95% of probiotics do not contain the probiotics they claim, which is why vetted formulas are essential. Probiotics are helpful for cultivating a healthier gut ecosystem, in conjunction with plenty of prebiotic and colonic foods (veggies) in your diet to help probiotics populate the gut. I am digging Seed Probiotic and Bifido Maximus probiotic at the moment for lactobacilli-bifido species that mimic your mom’s breast milk (probiotic rich), as well as TerraFlora for spore forming biotics. 

#7. Swig apple cider vinegar + digestive bitters

Boost your digestive super powers naturally! Apple cider vinegar shots (1 tbsp in water) sparks stomach acid and digestive bitters like these or these support your gallbladder to break down fats and carbs, as well as excrete toxins, excess hormones and wastes out in your poo! 

#8. Eat something green with every meal & cook your veggies

My plate feels incomplete with something green on it—sautéed chard and kale, green beans, asparagus, broccoli, bok choy, lettuce, fresh herbs…something! Breakfast may be an except if I have a simple sip like protein shake or bone broth, but if I can help it, celery juice or green juice will find it’s way into the mix. Greens are super great for loving your liver and gallbladder, and if you tend towards bloating or constipation cooked veggies vs. raw in general digest way better. Cook, roast, sautée, steam, mash, puree, boil—these methods help break foods down so your gut doesn’t have to work as hard. 

#9. Sleep 7+ hours per night—whatever it takes

Sleep is a nutrient that at least 1 in 3 people don’t consume enough of (myself included)—although I really think it’s more considering how much broken or light sleep people get. If you’re waking up in the middle of the night or finding yourself still tired even after 7 to 8 hours of sleep…something is up. Hormones, blood sugar, neuroinflammation. Something. Workshop it with a practitioner. Also, at night turn off the wifi or put your phone in airplane mode and make sure that there are no electronics (nor lights) anywhere near you. Cut those EMFs! 

#10. Take a recess break (or 2)

Work-life balance made possible! I do my best work in shorter sprints (3 to 4 hours) followed by a recess break—yoga, a walk, a workout, an errand, a catch up or meeting with a colleague. Then I go back at it for another 3 to 4 hours to round out the day, followed by a recess break to put the work day to rest.  Most people’s max focus capacity is about 3 hours. Instead of pushing “harder”, what would it be like to take a break and come back stronger? 

#11. Just say “no” to overcommitment

The practice of overbooking your schedule is so overrated. Instead of making a never ending to do list, I consider my “NOT to-do list” and only like to fit about 3 essential things on my to do list each day for work. I do the same thing for my personal life, asking myself, “What are the top 1 to 3 things that I would feel most accomplished having done when I lay my head down tonight?” (Laundry, meal prep, paying some bills, sending some personal emails, etc.). Lastly, I make sure I build in space to “just breathe” in a day—instead of stacking back-to-back-to-back meetings, events and commitments, I ensure there is at least 1 to 2 ‘unplanned’ hours in there for creative and self-care space.

#12. Break a sweat (in the infrared sauna)

Healthy Habits - Sauna

Daily infrared sauna sessions have been the BIGGEST game changers in my personal mold detox and health journey. Face it, we live in a toxic world, and most everyone needs to pay attention to some degree to daily detox practices that keep toxins from overwhelming the system. Other ideas include: dry brushing, drinking celery juice on an empty stomach, taking a daily binder and soluble fiber (like citrus pectin, partially hydrolyzed guar gum and flax). 

#13. Pay it forward

We rise by lifting others up. No matter how down or unwell I feel, when I do something kind for someone else—even sharing a smile and genuine eye gaze—I get an instant lift (and so does the other person). I love to send friends a random text or snail mail note to let them know that I am thinking of them, make dinner for a friend going through a tough time or surprise the front desk person at the gym with breakfast for the morning. It’s all about the little things. 

#14. Cut the blue light on your screens

Blue light kills your circadian rhythm flow—jacking with your sleep cycle, mood, digestion and hormones. I look at yellow screens all day long by using an app like F.Lux on my computer and the nightshift setting on my phone to remove the blue-flight. Also: Wear UVEX safety goggles at least 2 hours before going to bed… this one is seriously a big deal. They cost $9 and they make all the difference. If you’re not going to do anything else, do this! 

#15. Use non-toxic skincare

Your skin microbiome eats and absorbs what you put on it. The average woman puts 120 toxic chemicals on her body before leaving the house each morning—makeup, toothpastes, face wash and more. Many of these toxins are called xenoestrogens and mimic estrogens in the body, causing all sorts of hormone and gut imbalances. Gradually replace and swap out toxic products for non-toxics. 

#16. Shop at the farmer’s market

Go local and seasonal in one fatal swoop! Farmers market food seriously has MORE nutrients and energy than that 2-week old broccoli shipped from 300 miles away and tossed between 5 to 6 different hands before making it to your plate. Grass-fed, pasture raised meats, eggs, chicken and fish also are free of hormones, antibiotics and inhumane raising practices that don’t nourish you either. 

#17. Sip 1-2 cups of bone broth daily

Bone broth is a gut healing super food. It aids in the repair and support of your gut lining and is power packed with minerals and nutrients like calcium, magnesium, collagen and other amino acids that boost digestion and help heal leaky gut. 

#18. Be inspired, not jealous, of others

Social media in particular is a breeding ground for jealousy, comparison and feeling less than good enough. When we are jealous of others, we constantly live in “effect” mode vs. “cause” mode. When we live in cause mode, we are able to show up and be 100% authentic to ourselves and do the amazing things we are meant to do in this world while inspiring others to do the same. The most popular person in the room is the person who is confident in themselves—no ego included. 

#19. Grow your mind

We are what we feed our mind! 95% of our thoughts are subconscious—leaving only 5% of our thoughts things we are actually aware of! Rewire your subconscious by feeding it more positive—not negative “fuel”. Replace the news, social media scrolling, vulgar music, and raunchy reality TV with 1-2 books a month and podcasts and music that feed your mind. I highly recommend “How to Win Friends & Influence People,” “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and “Get Out of Your Head.” Experiences and growth-mindset experiences, like Tony Robbins, NLP, retreats and conferences have also been super impactful in helping me tap into the amazing healing powers of my mind. 

#20. Get outside every single day

Fresh air does a body good. Humans are innately wired to thrive in nature. Get morning sun exposure (at the same time everyday) to regulate sleep / wake cycles. Also: Earthing… you can do it the old fashioned way or you can use grounding sheets (Google it). 

#21. Pretend you’re in pregnancy class when you’re really stressed

Just breathe—5-10 seconds in through your nose…5 to 10 seconds out through your mouth. Repeat 4 to 6 more times. This calms down your HPA axis. I also like to practice “tapping”—tap the pituitary 3rd eye part of your forehead. It signals “calm” to your body.

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