Design Your Healthy and Happy Life With 3 Quick Makeovers: Small Steps Equal a Big Impact

09/29/2015 07:44 pm ET Updated Sep 29, 2016

Design your healthy and happy life with these super quick makeover tips that will have you wanting more.

A healthy and happy life is about living blissfully, with passion and purpose, not just about the absence of disease. The great news is that we can design our own healthy lifestyle plan just like interior designers create beautiful spaces; we can design it no matter where we are in your own health journey; dealing with an illness, or recovering from an injury. What's even better news is that we don't need to do a complete overhaul.

Who doesn't love a quick makeover? Sometimes, all it takes is new throw pillows or a bold new wall paint color to completely refresh the look of a room. Similarly, there are quick "projects" you can do starting right now to change how you feel, and even look, every day. Small change can create big impact!

Simple small changes to our daily routine can have a big impact on the way we live, feel, and celebrate life. By adopting concepts from the glamorous and sparkling world of interior design, and using some of the same design elements, we can design our life however we choose, and by combining home and health, it can help reap rewards.

Designing Your Life -- Design Your Healthy Life

Just like spectacular spaces don't happen overnight, neither does a spectacularly healthy and happy life. It takes planning, practice, and a determined mindset. And, just like you can design a spectacular kitchen, you can also design a spectacular YOU!

If the concept of "designing" your ideal life seems strange, consider how similar your feelings about your space might be to your feelings about your overall health.

Designer Lynda Reeves spoke to the intimidation we sometimes feel about tackling a big design project in House and Home Magazine in April, 2014, and her words also perfectly relate to that overwhelmed feeling so many of us have when trying to lead a healthier life. To paraphrase, Reeves said in the article, that when it comes to your home, it's simple to stand back and list all the things you wish you could change, and you end up doing nothing because the sheer weight of it all discourages you. When it comes to our health, many of us may have experienced similar feelings. We acknowledge that there are certain elements in our life we wish to change, whether it's eating better, moving more or becoming more successful in our lives, we become so overwhelmed, we end up doing nothing. That's why it's so important to start small. Tiny steps are easier to achieve. Accomplishing your personal design goals is like renovating yourself, relishing your style and revitalizing you. You, only better.

GET STARTED AND DESIGN YOUR HEALTHY LIFE WITH THESE 3 SIMPLE HEALTHY MAKEOVERS TIPS:

Makeover your sleeping habits: It sounds so simple, yet I still hear people say, "Sleep is for the weak." They are burning the candle at both ends. This type of thinking needs to change. The right amount of sleep is vital for your health and wellbeing. Lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your health, and according to the National Institutes of Health - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, "Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke." There are an estimated 50-70 million U.S. adults have sleep or wakefulness disorders. Sleep helps your brain work properly. If you're not getting enough sleep you may have difficulty making decisions, trouble controlling your emotions and behavior, and problems coping with change and solving problems. "Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide and risk-taking behavior." Sleep can also help repair your heart and blood vessels. Adults should get between 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep isn't for the weak, it's for strong, successful people.

Simple Healthy Design Actions to Savor Sleep:

• Design your bedroom so it's your oasis. A place that is calming, relaxing and clutter free. Use calming and soothing colors.
• Keep a sleep journal (write in your sleep journal before you get into bed, and in another room).
• Darken the room.
• Wear a sleep/eye mask.
• Take out the technology. Put your devices in another room. This way you won't be tempted to use them, and no TVs.
• Avoid large meals before bed.
• Avoid caffeine.
• Avoid alcohol.
• Go to bed the same time each night.
• Have a relaxing bedtime routine each night. Take a warm shower or bath, listen to soft soothing music.
• Keep your bedroom at a comfortable sleeping temperature. Choose a temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

(If you're concerned about your sleep habits and you recognize that it's disruptive, talk to your doctor, nurse practitioner or other health care professional.)

Makeover your on-the-go personal history and medication form: Okay, this doesn't sound so exciting, but I can tell you as a nurse, it's vital. It's always good to be prepared in case of an emergency. Sometimes, life's little mishaps happen and before you know it, you're at the doctor's (or nurse practitioner's) office or even the hospital; and you don't have all the necessary health information. You can clearly describe the meds you take, you know the color and shape, but you have no idea what it is. So do yourself a favor with this quick makeover tip and keep a copy of your personal health and medication form in your wallet. (You can print one or more here (click Medical History Form.) (A quick tip for moms -- keep one for each family member -- and put them in one of those sleek photo clutches. Yes, they still sell them, despite the mobile takeover!) For those of you who insist on using your mobile device, the iPhone as an emergency feature that can be accessed without your passcode. So you can store your vital health and medical information in your phone. In the Health App that's stored in the iPhone you can put your medical information in there. Add your medical information, you can personalize your Medical ID on your iphone. Here's how to access Medical ID on a locked iPhone:

1. Swipe to unlock.
2. Tap Emergency.
3. Tap Medical ID, on the emergency call screen.

(Make sure, whether you have your medical history on paper or in your phone, you have an emergency contact number and if you have any allergies -- make sure it's noted.)

Makeover your thoughts with mindfulness: With mindfulness, choose your words carefully. For example, recently The View's Michelle Collins and Joy Behar's controversial comments about Kelley Johnson's monologue (in the Miss America Pageant), created a backlash in social media and nurses spoke out. The hashtag #NursesUnite took center stage. Bloomberg Business writes: "The week following the season premiere saw her apologizing repeatedly after mocking a Miss America contestant for being a nurse. Two sponsors pulled their ads, and a hashtag campaign vilified the show. 'I just was not paying attention,' she told her adoring audience. 'I didn't know what the hell I was talking about.'"

So the lesson learned is, be mindful of what you say and who you're saying it to.

With mindfulness, relish and enjoy the simple things with wonderment and enthusiasm, and choose your words wisely.

So start designing your healthy life and live blissfully with these quick makeovers because it's the small steps that have the biggest impact!

Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA HEALTH DESIGNER

"Design Your Healthy Life" #DYHL