Whenever the weather changes, Al and I tend to be more prone to sickness. And now with fall on its way and the cooler evenings creeping in, we’re upping our ante to prevent sickness this season.

Being Crumb Savers, you can guess that our prevention methods don’t involve things like expensive juices extracted from exotic fruits or multi-level marketing products which can cure anything from dandruff to Crohn’s disease. Instead, we do our best to stay healthy year-round and use simple means of deterring sickness when we feel a cold or sore throat coming on.

Al and I learned the acronym NEWSTART as an easy way to remember how to maintain our health, and we thought we’d share with you how we’ve been trying to incorporate these 8 areas of healthy living into our schedules. Of course, we do struggle to stay disciplined (we all have those lazy bum days), but it does help when we remember that these few simple (and practically FREE) tips are potentially saving us tons of money in doctor visits, medications, and sick days off work!

Nutrition – Eat Naturally

As we discussed in our series on How We Eat for Less Than $60 a Month, we are vegetarian, don’t eat between meals, make most of our food from scratch, and grow a garden. We may not eat extremely gourmet and it does take a bit more time when you have to wash, chop, and cook instead of ordering from a menu, but we have found that simple foods made mostly from natural products help us get the nutrition that keeps our immune systems healthy, our arteries clear, and our waists trim (well…fairly).

Exercise – Get Moving

Back in college I took a PE class where we had to run a couple laps on the track every morning. I have kept up the morning jog routine ever since. So while my hubby sleeps snuggly in bed, I get out into the brisk morning air and get my blood moving and my lungs working. (Before we got our awesome treadmill, I would sometimes run in the rain balancing an umbrella or in freezing temperatures wearing snow pants and a balaclava.) Not only does the exercise prevent me from getting chubby, it also helps circulate my blood so I’m awake and alert in the mornings, clears my lungs breathing the fresh air, and is a treasured time to think, pray, plan the day, or just watch the sun rise.

Water – Strive for 6-8

Always have headaches? It could be dehydration. Eating too much? I often find myself unknowingly trying to quench my thirst by munching calories instead. Water contributes to glowing smooth skin, alertness, less constipation, and a myriad of other wonderful things.

I keep a 1 liter water bottle by my bed and try to drink 10 big gulps the moment I wake up. Before leaving for work, my goal is to drain the water bottle dry. At work I keep a 0.5 L water bottle on my desk and whenever I think about it or feel the least tinge of thirst, I make myself take a couple swigs right away. I’ll admit, it can be extremely challenging to get the recommended 6-8 cups/day especially when you’re busy at work or running errands around town, but it has gotten easier over time (and the bathroom runs less frequent).

Sunshine – Get Outside

We’ve all heard about the risks of skin cancer and excessive tanning, but without going to the extreme of getting sun burnt, exposing ourselves to a few rays of warm sunshine would help us sleep better (melatonin), be in a better mood (serotonin), and strengthen our bones (vit D), just to name a few.

Al and I work office jobs, so we rarely get enough sunshine during the week. And with days getting shorter, we’ll soon be leaving for work before the sun rises and getting home after dark. So every Saturday afternoon, I drag Al out for a looong walk. We usually walk about an hour and a half and get lots of sunshine, exercise, and fresh air (we also get lots of quality talk time). Al complains about his shirt being soaked with sweat in the summer and about freezing to death in the winter, but I know inside he secretly likes it (or maybe he just hopes it’ll boost my serotonin levels).

Temperance – Good Things in Moderation

We interpret temperance to mean using good things in moderation (i.e. sun exposure, exercise, even eating healthy foods) and avoiding bad things altogether. So, just because walnuts help prevent cancer, if I ate a 50 pound bag of walnuts, you can imagine that my nutrition would not only be imbalanced, but all that natural fat would have to go somewhere (likely as a blubbery ring around my waist!). However, we believe that things like smoking, alcohol, recreational drugs, and even caffeine are NOT good for us, so we avoid those altogether.

Air – Escape the Smog

We all know we can’t live without air! But sometimes we forget how important it is to fill our lungs with pure, fresh air and make sure that we’re breathing deeply enough to get that oxygen all the way down to those little alveoli. Al and I both have lived in Southern California near LA and find it quite refreshing to now live in the countryside. Surrounded by fields and ponds, blue skies and puffy clouds, it’s nice to know when we go for a walk or a jog that we’re doing our lungs a favor and not a disservice.

Rest – Sleep Before Midnight

Each of us have different needs when it comes to sleep. If Al and I have more than a week of sleep deprivation, we usually start getting sick, stressed, and our brains start working a bit sluggishly. We try to get at least 2 hours before midnight (although it doesn’t happen as often as we’d like) as we feel that sleep before midnight is much more quality for us than sleep after midnight. We also set one day apart each week to rest by putting aside the work of the week, going to church, spending quality time with friends and family, and focusing more on spiritual things.

Trust – In God

Perhaps one of the most important things for us in maintaining a healthy body and outlook on life is knowing that we can trust in a higher and more able power than ourselves. We believe that God has given us a purpose in life and that we work and live for reasons that reach beyond stock market crashes, family squabbles, and presidential campaigns. Al and I choose to trust in God, have peace in His leading, and maintain hope in His promises because it gives us true health of mind, body, and soul!

So, are you ready for a NEW START? Your new start may look different from ours, but hopefully keeping in mind these 8 simple areas of health will help keep you healthy, happy, and even prevent expensive visits to the doctor this season.

What ways have you succeeded (or failed) in these areas? Do you have any tips on how to keep up a good health habit? Share with us your ideas in the comments!