With all the pressures and stress that come with life today, it is so easy to forget ourselves. We often run around on half of the recommended sleep time; sneaking bites of our lunch while we complete an errand that’s been put off too long. Even when we do make some vital time to relax, we’ll still be running through the worries that have accumulated throughout the day or feeling guilty for finally putting our feet up – like it’s a crime!
The bad news is that we can’t just magically turn our jobs and responsibilities into a peaceful utopia. The good news is that we can incorporate small changes into our lives that will bring immense benefits to our overall health and wellbeing. We’ve put together a list of the most beneficial lifestyle changes to embrace, some of which may sound like the broken record you’ve been hearing all your life, but maybe it’s time to finally start paying attention to just how important they really are.
Practise positive thinking.
I’ve put this first as it forms the base for all other positive changes and attitudes you will develop. Without this keystone, the rest will be rather difficult. Your mindset ultimately determines how you will approach your day; how you will tackle difficult tasks; how you will cope with daily challenges and stresses; and of course, your overall mood and happiness.
One of the most important times for positive thinking is as soon as you wake up. New day, new attitude. You’re ultimately programming yourself for the day ahead, and how can you expect to deal with tricky customers or requests from your boss when you start the day programming your attitude with ‘Urgh! I can’t be bothered with this!”. Instead, try waking up with a more positive approach – even if you feel like you’re forcing or faking it, you may very well end up believing it. Before even getting out of bed, take a few minutes to look around you and list 5 things that you’re grateful for. That way, you’re starting the day thinking about what’s going right in your life rather than what’s not.
Try taking a few minutes out of your day to send a positive, complimenting message (or say it in person) to friends or family members. A lot of the time we are so caught up in everything else that we forget to notice and appreciate those closest to us. It will make you feel warm and upbeat just by making the gesture, alongside maintaining healthy relationships with people. It may also result in them returning the gesture to you on a day when you really need it.
Incorporate exercise into your routine.
This doesn’t mean splashing out £1000 you don’t have on a fancy gym membership. Exercise takes many forms: a brisk walk to reconnect with the outside world, or a quick workout session in your living room using an app you’ve downloaded for free.
The most important thing to take from this little change is the act of looking after yourself. Once again, it will promote a positive mindset if you go about it the right way. Don’t exercise because you don’t like your reflection in the mirror and want to get thinner, exercise because it is incredibly healthy and beneficial to your mind and body. It promotes feelings of self-care, relieves stress and can help with memory, sleep quality and energy levels. All from a quick stolen 30 minutes of your day!
Keep a diary.
This can take two forms: emotional and practical. Spilling out all of your thoughts, feelings and frustrations is incredibly therapeutic and allows you to get things off your chest so they’re not boiling up too much inside.
On a practical side, it’s equally as beneficial to keep all of your plans, meetings, errands, time schedules, reminders etc. all written down in a planner or diary – even if you think you won’t forget certain things and don’t have a need to write it down, just write it down anyway! That way, it will give your mind a break from having to suddenly hit you with all the things you need to remember when you’re struggling to sleep at 2 am in the morning. At the end of your workday, you can close your diary and relax knowing everything is noted down, so you can truly rest and be at ease.
Drink more water.
The benefits of keeping adequately hydrated are endless, not to mention the fact that it’s a basic human necessity to keep alive – but sometimes we can take these things for granted! Try swapping your 10 am coffee for a bottle of water, you’ll be surprised by how better off you’ll be with H2O instead of caffeine. If you’re in need of any more convincing, here are just a few benefits of drinking the recommended amount of water each day (which is generally 2 litres):
- It promotes healthy and glowing skin.
- Helps prevent and treat headaches.
- Improves and sustains energy levels.
- Improves memory.
- Improves concentration.
- Maximises both mental and physical performance.
So if you’re feeling groggy, lethargic or even down, you can bet that boosting your fluids is going to contribute to combating that. I’ve written a more detailed article primarily focusing on the biggest benefits that drinking more water had on my health and wellbeing, so keep your eye out for that!
Give green tea a go.
If you literally can’t stand the taste of it, don’t worry yourself too much with this. However, if you do like it (or are yet to try it), incorporating it into your daily lifestyle routine is quite possibly one of the healthiest and underrated changes you could make. Packed with nutrients and antioxidants, it will boost and double the benefits you’ll reap when consuming it alongside your recommended water intake. Such as:
- Improved immune system – helping to fight off and prevent colds and flus, alongside more serious illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
- Improved brain function – with some scientific research actually claiming it makes you smarter.
- Improved memory – some studies claiming it lowers your risk of developing dementia later on.
- Boosting metabolism and increasing physical ability.
- Boosting dental health and fighting harmful bacteria.
Get enough sleep.
Being deprived of sleep (even only by a margin) automatically reduces your ability to function properly. This ultimately means that a lack of sleep can result in higher stress levels, higher risk of low moods, reduced memory capacity and generally not being able to think as clearly and effectively. Not to mention a lack of energy – and goodness knows we need that in the hectic lives we can lead.
Understandably, getting sleep can be tough. Sometimes we’re so caught up in stresses and worries that our minds simply can’t switch off. Or work and responsibilities are so chaotic that we can’t seem to make enough time to rest. However, making sleep and rest should be one of our biggest priorities. Without such, it can often lead to a vicious cycle, meaning our lack of sleep one night renders us stressed and lagging the next day, leading to another restless night and so on.