This week is World Wellbeing Week (21 – 30 June). The awareness week provides an opportunity to shine a light on all aspects of wellbeing, including social, physical, emotional, financial, career, community and environmental aspects, all of which contribute to our overall sense of wellbeing.
Never before has it been more important to dedicate time to focus on your wellness than in today’s challenging times. Addressing all aspects of your health and wellbeing can have a huge impact on how you feel, your mindset and your energy levels, as well as your productivity, how you deal with stress and the relationships you have with those around you.
Everybody’s lifestyles are different and the areas that can be improved on will differ from person to person, but here are 10 ways that you can start to improve your health and wellbeing today.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise
If you are already exercising daily then good for you; if not, it’s time to start. This is even more important if you lead a sedentary lifestyle where you either sit at home, or you have a job which keeps means you are inactive for long periods of time. As well, as the many health benefits associated with weight loss and improved fitness, exercise improves your strength, stamina and flexibility. All of this means you are less prone to injuries and general ‘aches and pains’ such as falls, sprains, backaches, shoulder aches and so on, all of which get in the way of enjoying life.
- Limit your screen time
Many of us have to have a certain amount of screen time for our jobs, but too much unnecessary screen time is not good for your health. Everyone has a smartphone in their hand nowadays which means there is more temptation than ever to scroll through social media. This can actually be leaving you feeling lethargic though, as well as having a negative impact on your eyes and brain. Over time, you can develop lifestyle disorders such as obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes as you sit for hours in front of the screen, instead of undertaking more physical activities. Excessive amounts of time spent on social media has also been linked to depression. Try to limit unnecessary screen time by setting timers or taking regular breaks to get some fresh air and exercise.
- Get outdoors
Try to get outside as often as you can, whether that’s cycling to work or a lunchtime walk. The fresh air, sunlight (a great source of Vitamin D) and open space will work wonders for both your mental and physical health. Getting back to nature with a walk outdoors decreases your stress levels and the fresh air energises your brain while enhancing your mood. Walk is also a great exercise suitable for all ages and fitness levels which can actually improve your physical fitness.
- Reduce alcohol intake
Drinking too much alcohol can have a number of negative side effects on your body. As the weather improves it can be tempting to reach for an alcoholic drink to unwind with after a long day but alcohol actually interferes with your brain’s working pattern and disrupts clarity of thought and coordination. Regular intake of alcohol can lead to high blood pressure as well as liver and heart problems. It can also affect your relationships with others and your mental health if you drink in excess. Try to have at least 3 alcohol-free days a week and keep an eye on the number of units you are consuming.
- Get active whenever you can
If you struggle to fit in dedicated time to exercise during the week then look for opportunities to get active throughout the day. Even walking is a great way to get your body moving and is beneficial to your health. So perhaps get off the bus a couple of stops early, walk to the supermarket or go for a quick walk at lunchtime. You can always use a step counter on your phone or smart-watch to keep track of your steps. Setting yourself a daily target can work as a great motivator.
- Talk to friends or family
We all have times when life feels like a struggle which can leave you feeling depressed, stressed or unable to handle the situation. Instead of keeping it pent up, share your problems with a friend or family member who you trust.
We’ve all heard of the saying, “a problem shared, is a problem, halved!”. Getting a different perspective from someone is often the first step towards solving the problem. Storing up negative feelings for a long time can lead to chronic depression and other mental health issues in the long term.
If you don’t feel able to discuss your problems with someone you know, there are a number of organisations who can offer confidential support.
- Limit processed foods
Processed foods are full of artificial additives, colours and flavour enhancers. They are also quite often high in fat, sugar and salt, all of which are harmful to your health. Try to eat a balanced diet, with plenty of fresh fruit, veg and lean protein for optimum health.
Processed foods have very little nutritional value compared to freshly prepared foods and over-consumption can lead to obesity, type II diabetes, cardiac problems and digestive issues such as inflammatory bowel disease.
- Set a fitness goal
Getting fit and active can have a huge impact on your overall health. Sometimes it can be difficult to stay motivated when making lifestyle changes so setting a fitness goal to work towards can really help. Joining a gym, group exercise class or working out with a friend can also provide the support to need to stay on track with your fitness journey and have fun along the way.
- Get plenty of shut eye
Many of us struggle to get the recommended 8-hours of sleep each night which can leave us feeling fatigued during the day. Not getting enough sleep has also been linked to heart disease, diabetes, mental health problems and infertility. Try to gradually change your sleeping habits inline with the recommended 8-hours to see how much more refreshed you can feel after some quality shut eye.
- Factor in time to relax
It is just as important to take a break and relax, as it is to work. Downtime isn’t wasted time; it’s very much needed for your health. Spend some quality time with friends or family to take your mind off day-to-day life issues, read a book, watch a film, go to the gym or go away on a weekend break to de-stress. You will be more productive, healthier and better equipped to take life on in the long-run.