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24 ways to ‘leap’ into health starting February 29

Happy Leap Day! One of the biggest hurdles to leap over is fitting healthy habits into your routine. So just like this extra day breaks up your typical year, the Snohomish County Health Department provided some ideas that might help break up your typical routine.

Try making at least one healthy activity part of your rhythm. Consider setting an alarm on your phone or another personal device as a reminder. 

In honor of Leap Day 2024, here are 24 ideas of healthy activities worth setting that alarm for: 

  1. Stand up and stretch. 
  2. Take a walk
  3. Move your muscles. Beyond a stretch or walk, make some time to really move. This can be an exercise regimen, or it can just be dancing all-out to one song before you get back to your regularly scheduled programming. 
  4. Do some deep breathing exercises
  5. Go outside. Even just a few minutes in nature can help you decompress. 
  6. Drink some water. Time to hydrate! 
  7. Close your eyes and check in with yourself. How are you feeling? What do you need? Your body might be trying to tell you something, so give yourself some quiet moments to listen. 
  8. Unplug for the night. Do this about an hour before you plan to sleep so you have screen-free time to wind down. 
  9. Food break. Make time to eat a healthy meal or healthy snacks so you don’t get over-hungry and end up overeating.  
  10. Feed your curiosity. Make some time to read, watch a video, or ask an expert about a topic that interests you. 
  11. Check in with someone you care about. You can do this in person, or with a quick phone call or text to say hi. 
  12. Wake up. You probably already have an alarm for this, but are you fairly consistent in your sleep schedule and are you giving yourself enough time to not feel rushed or stressed? 
  13. Practice gratitude. Say or write what you are thankful for today. 
  14. Caffeine cut-off. If you enjoy coffee or other caffeinated beverages earlier in the day, switch to decaffeinated drinks after noon to help get a more restful sleep later. 
  15. Freshen up. Wash your hands and face, and brush and floss your teeth. It might sound like a reminder for a child, but the reality is that freshening up is, well, refreshing for all ages.  
  16. Write or doodle. You don’t have to be a professional author or artist to benefit from the stress-easing powers of jotting down or scribbling out your feelings. 
  17. Try something new. A new food, a new exercise, a new destination to explore. Expand your horizons. 
  18. Celebrate a success. It’s easy to get stuck on a struggle – make time to get stuck on something good, too. 
  19. Exercise your mental muscles. Puzzles, crosswords, sudoku, brainteasers – there are lots of options. Learning a new language is also a fantastic way to build that brainpower.  
  20. Declutter. This can be a physical declutter, like tidying up at home. It can be a digital declutter, like clearing a busy inbox. Or it can be a mental declutter where you sit down and make a physical list to help take some pressure off your mental to-do list. 
  21. Make a mess. OK, this may seem out-of-sync with our advice to declutter and freshen up. But when is the last time you got your hands in the dirt to garden? Or stomped in a mud puddle? Or rolled the car window down to let the wind make a mess of your hair? A little mess can be a good thing. 
  22. Give back. This can be through donations, volunteering, or checking in with a friend or neighbor who could use a hand. There are always opportunities to give, and studies show that giving to others has a positive impact on your health, too. 
  23. Laugh. There are health benefits to laughter. We can’t guarantee that something humorous will happen around you each day, but with the wonders of modern communication and technology, it’s worth finding something to giggle about. Cute animal videos, anyone? 
  24. Do one small thing that’s part of a bigger leap. Set a long-term goal that means something to you. You don’t need to tell anyone about it if you don’t want to. But make some time each day to do one small thing toward that big leap. Learn a few new moves from your favorite dance routine. Write a few pages of your great novel. Tuck away a few dollars for your dream vacation. Add a few paint strokes or stitches to your masterpiece painting or quilt. Remember: This leap is for you to take, even if it’s a little bit at a time.  

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