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6 Things to Do If You're Skipping the Gym

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Life's busy. We're in constant demand and, though we know our health is important, some days hitting the gym to get the bikini-model body isn't our number one priority. And that's okay. You're allowed to take a break every once in a while.

Nothing can substitute the health benefits of a good workout. But just because you're missing out on one doesn't mean you should give up on your health altogether. If you're feeling sluggish, or know it's a day (ahem, week) you just won't be able to make it to the gym, there are simple things you can do to make sure you're still taking care of yourself throughout the day:

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1. Drink at least one cup of green tea.
In case you have been living under a rock, the health benefits of sipping green tea throughout the day are popping up left and right. In addition to being linked to lowering the chances of cancer, Alzheimer's, and Type 2 diabetes, a Japanese study found that regularly consuming green tea can play a major role in reducing your chances of cardiovascular disease (CVD). It also has a decent amount of caffeine, which can be great for your mid-afternoon slump.

2. Eat slow and chew a lot.
This may seem gross to some, but you should get in the habit of eating slow and chewing enough so your food is almost in liquid form before swallowing. Not only will your body be able to absorb more of the nutrients, it will also make it easier to digest and you will get full faster. It takes our brains 20 minutes to register that we're full, which is why most people overeat and experience that "food coma" feeling. When you eat slower, you are more inclined to be conscious and mindful in the present moment, making you feel happier and more focused.

3. Make a to-do list.
You'll feel a lot better about not hitting the gym when you're kicking ass in other areas of life. Making a to-do list will unclutter and sooth your mind. Prioritize the list in order of importance, and start your day by tackling the tasks you're dreading most. It will keep you focused and reduce anxiety.

4. Listen to upbeat songs.
Too often people listen to the kind of music that matches the mood they're in, instead of listening to songs for the kind of mood they want to be in. The Mayo Clinic has found music can actually lower stress levels, ease pain and improve blood pressure. If you're not someone who can work with music on, listen to it while you can--like in the car on the way to work or during your lunch break.

5. Exfoliate and moisturize your skin.
Without the after-workout glow, your skin might be looking a little dull. We typically don't start taking skin care regimes seriously until we've already started seeing signs of skin damage and aging. Of all the beauty products that line the shelves promising us younger looking skin, there are two basic (and inexpensive) musts: exfoliator and moisturizer -- with SPF, of course. Invest in a quality exfoliator to use once a week, getting rid of all the dry, dead skin. Every morning moisturize with SPF, even in the winter, before leaving the house -- and don't stop at your jawline! Move down towards your neck and chest, too, so one doesn't start aging fast than the other.

6. Go to bed early -- and get a deep sleep.
We've been told since we were kids how important sleep is, yet it is still something too many people are cutting the corners on. Use an app like Sleep Cycle that records your sleeping patterns and allows you to notice activities in your daily schedule that affect sleep quality. Talk to your doctor about try a natural sleep aid such as Melatonin for overly stressful days, or sipping chamomile and lavender tea before bed.

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