how to change your habits

The one thing you need to help pull you out of a health rut

The answer is digital

We all go through stages of flux with our health. Maybe you’ve just been through a breakup or it’s winter and you’ve lost all motivation. These fluctuations are normal for most people, but sometimes these fluctuations become ruts. Once you’re stuck in a health rut, it can seem like there’s no way out. But there is!

Whether your diet, exercise, strength or mental health have become stagnant, the bridge between meaningful digital wellness tools and well being levels has been created.

Disclaimer: I’m not working for any of the apps of businesses mentioned. I just love the power of digital health tools!

What is digital wellness?

Digital wellness is a broad term that covers a whole range of digital devices, tools. monitoring systems and even government-led wellness initiatives. Examples are:

  • Digital activity trackers (like monitoring how many steps you take in a day)

  • Bio-sensing wearable devices (such as heart monitors and Fitbits)

  • Digital health records (your medical history all kept in one space)

  • Teleconferencing with health professionals instead of face-to-face appointments

While some of these digital tools sound like something out of the Jetsons, it’s incredible how popular they have become.

what is digital wellness

How do digital wellness tools get you out of your rut?

By holding you accountable. That’s right! When you have push notifications urging you to get 10 more minutes of exercise everyday, or get out of your chair every 20 minutes at work, the irritation will drive you to better health!

Plus, you can see a clear graphs of your progress showing you objective readings of your current health status. This helps you see exactly what you’re doing, creating correlations between your ‘objective wellness’ and ‘how you feel.’

The combination of health apps I suggest for anyone stuck in a health rut:

  • One activity tracker (steps and heart rate)

  • One nutrition recording app. My Fitness Pal is a good option.

  • One meditation app (Breathe or Calm are great)

  • and one symptom recording app if you’re in the midst of injury rehabilitation, or any treatment plan, including for mental health.

Activity trackers are popular and they work

Activity trackers from the stepping tracker on your iPhone to Fitbits on your wrist all work to track your movement. If you have a more complex tracking device, you may even be able to measure your heart rate, distance traveled and top speed.

Aussies are loving wearable technology, with one study finding those using wearable tech increased from 19 to 27% between 2016 and 2018.

Setting SMART Goals is the key to getting out of a health rut - digital wellness can help

Goal setting is great, but it can by empty if your goal isn’t measurable. Thanks to digital wellness devices, you can track your wellness data to monitor your progress..

A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

So! For example, your goal might be to walk 20 minutes everyday. But that’s not enough. It’s not concrete enough and you’re likely to favour an excuse instead of your seemingly boring walk.

It needs to have parametres:

Specific: Walk 20 minutes per day from home to work (instead of catching the train) But what about weekends? Ok, change it to 20 minutes per day, at any time of day.

Measurable: Track the time you spend walking daily thanks to your wearable device

Achievable: 20 minutes is a very manageable investment in your time

Realistic: Everyday? What about when it rains? What if you feel sick one day? Let’s change it to 6 days per week.

Timely: So by summer I can walk along the beach with my friends without getting out of breath

NEW SMART GOAL: I’m going to walk 20 minutes per day, 6 days per week.

And you digital wellness device is going to help you get there!

how to get out of a health rut

Digital wellness tools help you communicate better with your health professionals = help you get out of your rut

As a Physiotherapist, I have about 5 minutes to check in with a repeat patient and see how they are progressing since their last appointment. The rest of the time is spent on treatment, and education.

If I have a patient I’m treating for chronic, cervicogenic (from the neck) headache, I need to know how often many headaches they had since I last saw them, how long they lasted, what medications they took and how often, if it stopped them from their daily activities, and if they feel better or worse than when they last saw me. That’s a lot of information for a patient to remember!

I had one patient who wrote a huge A3 spreadsheet of all this information over a month. A practitioner’s dream! But most people won’t do that. They’ll rely on their memory.

Instead of asking a patient to recall all this information, we can use digital wellness tools to help.

Tools like Apple Health help a patient monitor their medication dosages, and symptoms. The patient can whip out their phone and show me how often they needed pain killers, and how much they took.

The same goes for their activity. If they’ve had two episodes of headaches since I treated them last, their activity tracker will show huge declines on those days, giving me accurate information of their well being since I last saw them. Thanks to digital wellness tools, I’m able to see this information quickly and easily within a few minutes, and record it in my notes. This takes the pressure off the patient from having to remember all the details.

For this patient suffering chronic headaches,data allows the to see a clear pattern of improvement, which helps them feel a sense of relief. Plus! Having access to all of this health data on their own phone is hugely empowering.

Many digital wellness tool interact with each other

Apple health is one tool that’s created to interact with a number of other third-party tools to help you monitor everything from your sleep to your health. This is really exciting for those tech-savvy people out there, but if you’re very new to the wellness tool world, stick to just a few.

how digital health apps can help you

Digital wellness empowers you to start fresh

If you’re stuck in a health rut, now is the time to start again. Forget the 10 Mars bars you ate yesterday, or the empty graphs in your Fitbit app. Today is the day!

  1. Set a SMART goal for your wellness. Only one! And it must be positive eg. A distance to walk vs. ‘not going to eat candy’

  2. Integrate the digital wellness tools you need

  3. Track your progress every 3 days. If you miss a day, no worries! You’ve allowed for that in the ‘realistic’ part of your SMART goal setting

Ruts don’t last forever, even though we can get stuck in them for months and even years. There’s always time to turn things around.

Phones are an integral part of our daily lives, so use yours to help pull yourself out of your health rut, and help you move forward towards your goals.

If you’re stuck in a health rut and don’t know where to start. Send me an email, and I can recommend the best way to start.

caitlin reid wellness consultant physiotherapist

5 Ways to Find More Time for Yourself This Winter 

To mark the end of Mental Health Month and with winter fast approaching the southern hemisphere, it’s time to think about ways to take time for yourself to make it through the chilly months.

Wellness writer Laurie Larson wrote this post for Aprivé Wellness to share her top tips! Check it out:

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In honor of May being National Mental Health month, it’s a great time to reflect on how you are nourishing your soul. Mental health is important at all times of the year, so take this time to evaluate if you are truly allowing time for yourself and your well-being.

When you have a job and a family to care for, it can sometimes feel selfish to take time for yourself. However, it’s difficult to truly care for others or perform your daily tasks and work responsibilities if you aren’t properly caring for yourself.

 In fact, spending time just for you is good for your overall health and wellness. There are many benefits of engaging in activities that are dedicated to self-care and self-awareness, including releasing negativity, promoting creativity, and fostering patience to help when you’re surrounded by others at work or at home.

With that in mind, here are five ways to find more time for yourself this winter. 


1.Try a New Hobby

Picking up a new hobby as an adult can feel a little awkward and forced. However, hobbies can benefit you in several ways, including promoting flow and balance in your life. In this sense, flow is that feeling you get when you get lost in something that you feel passionate about. It is the opposite of scrolling on Facebook or staring at the television. Hobbies foster inspiration and passion that can spill over into other areas of your life, like work and family. 

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2. Book In Your Alone Time

Although it may seem like you don’t have time for yourself, if you write down what you do throughout a 24-hour day, you’ll probably be surprised at how much time is either wasted or dedicated to other things. Take an inventory of your activities down to the minute, and notice where you may be able to work some time in for yourself. If there’s a certain time of day when you notice you’re passing the time in unproductive ways, begin to fill that time of day with a hobby, do some exercises, or go for a walk. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

3. Create a Nighttime Ritual 

In order to ensure that you’re getting quality sleep every night, you have to make it a priority. Set aside an hour before bed to dedicate to yourself. Try creating a wind-down routine. Not only will this help you sleep better, but it will also be great quality time to yourself. Some activities that can help promote relaxation and getting a good night’s rest include stretching, meditating, reading a book, and taking a warm bath.

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4. Book a Staycation

One great way to ensure that you get a chunk of alone time is to schedule a vacation in your hometown. You can spend the time at home or even book a hotel room. You’ll get the benefits of a vacation getaway without spending quite as much money. If you need some deep relaxation and the hotel offers massages, take advantage of them! Soak in the hot tub at the hotel spa, then order room service. If you enjoy camping and you live near a state park or natural area, take a couple of days away to spend in nature.

5. Start Doing Morning Affirmations

All too often, we don’t allow ourselves enough time in the morning to relax and set our intentions for the day. Instead of giving yourself just enough time to shower, get dressed, and grab your coffee on the way out of the door, wake up an hour earlier to sit and enjoy your coffee and meditate on some positive affirmations. Leaving the house in the morning feeling like you don’t have enough time will see you carry that rushed feeling with you all day. Starting the day with a thought like, “I am grateful for the job I have,” or “I will only say what I want to put into the universe today,” can get you started on the right foot and dispel negative thoughts.

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Remember that taking time for yourself is not selfish. It’s the opposite! The better you are to yourself, the better you will be overall.


freelance wellness writer laurie larson

Guest Author Bio

Laurie Larson is a freelance writer based on the east coast of the USA who writes on home, health, and lifestyle topics. In her spare time she enjoys spending as much time outdoors as possible.