Whether it comes to a romantic partner or an interview, we often can spot red flags from a mile away, but we could all afford to put a spotlight on the green ones too. You know, the signs that give you the thumbs up that you’re heading in the right direction with your health, relationships, career, or all of the above. While we can more easily identify growth in our relationships and work, it’s not as black and white gauging our progress with our wellness (health is way more than just the number on the scale or pants size, after all). The good news is there are some general clues the body tells us that indicate good health (consider them gold stars). Ahead, we’ve rounded up some of the green flags that prove you’re becoming the healthiest version of yourself. BTW, these aren’t the only green flags; we all have unique bodies and paths toward greater well-being, but these green flags can serve as a starting point.
1. You wake up feeling refreshed
There’s nothing like waking up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to take on the day. And thanks to you falling asleep in under 30 minutes and sleeping solidly straight through the night without waking up more than once, feeling rested, restored, and energized upon waking up in the AM is the norm for you. Plus, you know better than to hit the hay and wake up at inconsistent times, get trapped in the hamster wheel of TikToks close to bedtime, sip on an espresso after 2 p.m. (yes, you also skip your favorite nightcap in the name of a good snooze), or keep your bedroom warmer than 72 degrees. Because PSA: Sleep is essential for our bodies and minds to release toxins and recharge, and when we have consistent nights of blissful Zzzs, we reap the benefits of better brain function, improved emotional regulation, a healthy immune system and weight, and decreased risk of developing chronic diseases.
2. You have consistent energy throughout the day
Repeatedly throwing back one cup of coffee after the next ’til you’ve lost count to get you through the work day: You’ve been there, done that. But as you’re healing your body, you’ve bid adieu to needing a cat nap or your afternoon caffeine pick-me-up just to function. Instead, you’ve picked up a workout routine that you enjoy and stick to, you nosh on whole, nutritious foods (most of the time), and you meditate, journal, and call your sister and BFF on the reg to tame any stress. The best part? You have the physical and mental energy to do the things you want to do. You crush your workouts (heavier weights, who dis?), you’re able to check off a work project without any distractions (bye, bye, brain fog!), and you let the little things slide (a 20-minute wait at the doctor’s office? no biggie). Afternoon slump, who?
3. You have regular and healthy bowel movements
Real talk: Your bowel movement schedule (or lack thereof) is a window into your gut health. Sure, you may have struggled with digestive drama in the past (looking at you, stomach pain, bloating, and constipation), but out with the old habits, in with the new. You’ve prioritized staying hydrated (you aim for about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day) and stick with foods rich in antioxidants, antimicrobials, prebiotic fiber, and resistant starch. You stocked your kitchen with eats like asparagus, spinach, berries, sweet potatoes, oats, barley, legumes, and fruit to help fight inflammation and support a healthy gut microbiome.
The result? Your bowel function is normal, AKA they are soft but solid, are easily passed, and happen regularly (at least once a day). The previous pain and bloating? Gone. And because you’re thorough AF, you keep a food journal so that in the event that abdominal pain, excessive bloating, or diarrhea rear their ugly heads after eating certain foods, you can pinpoint the culprit(s). Your new MO: Happy gut, happy life.
4. If you menstruate, you have regular cycles
If there’s one telltale sign you’re in good health, it’s having Aunt Flo visit consistently with minimal symptoms (read: your hormones are healthy). You know this to be true since you were once all too familiar with the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance (such as irregular periods, weight gain, fatigue, PMS, low libido). But you took matters into your own hands when you healed your hormones naturally by syncing to your cycle (otherwise known as the Cycle Syncing Method ®)—adjusting your eating, exercising, and lifestyle habits according to the phase you’re in. For example, during your menstrual phase, you swap your HIIT workouts for walking and Pilates. Bonus points: You’ve noticed that cycle syncing not only keeps your cycle consistent, but it also helps you burn more fat and build more muscle, while encouraging you to reconnect with your body.
5. Your mood is noticeably better
Let’s face it: Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but because you’ve made it a point to carve out time for self-care, mindfulness, and connecting with others, you’re not in a constant funk, you don’t feel stressed out 24/7, and you feel happier overall. Whether it’s gratitude journaling, catching up with old friends over coffee, weight lifting, attending therapy, or setting social media boundaries, you notice a difference in how you handle stress and your overall mood. However, when you find yourself in a season of hardship, you feel and process all emotions without judgment, practice self-compassion, and remind yourself everything temporary–including hard times.
6. You have clearer skin
J.Lo’s got nothing on you and your dewy, sun-kissed glow. That’s right: your breakouts, eczema, and rashes are a thing of the past, your complexion is even-toned, and there’s no denying your skin is hydrated and supple. The skin is a great indicator of your overall health (it’s the body’s largest organ, FYI), so you listened to what it was telling you. Your skin glow-up didn’t happen overnight, of course, nourishing your body with foods that boost skin glow (the gut-skin connection is real) and loading up on antioxidant and omega-3-rich superfoods. It doesn’t hurt that you have green flag #1 down to a science (quality sleep, ICYMI, and beauty sleep is a real thing).
Source: Cosmo Politian