In today’s hectic world, it’s easy to forget your physical and mental wellbeing. Whether it be as small as walking to work or changing your diet, these little changes can add up and help improve your wellbeing. Here are some things you can do to help improve your physical and mental health.
One way of dealing with life when it seems like you’ve lost control and your physical and mental health suffers is by keeping active. Studies have shown a link between happiness and exercise, finding that “people who exercise for 30 to 60 minutes three to five days a week get mental health benefits” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
There are many different ways to keep moving throughout the day, even without hitting the gym. You don’t have to work out for a few hours every day to reap the benefits of an active lifestyle or exercise. Short bursts of activity throughout the day has been shown to be just as effective.
Sitting for prolonged periods of time at work can contribute to metabolic syndromes, increased likelihood of heart attacks, obesity, diabetes and even cancer. One way of solving this is by taking regular breaks to walk around or simply, go out for lunch. A stroll after your lunch break will not only help with digestion but help clear your mind and increase your focus before returning to work refreshed. Likewise, take the stairs instead of the elevator or lift, as this will help burn calories and tone at the same time.
Try biking or walking to work because getting some activity before the start of your workday will help start your metabolism, increasing your energy and your focus on the tasks ahead. If you do drive, park farther away instead of the nearest parking spot.
Another way of keeping active is by doing chores such as cleaning the house and mowing the lawn. Similarly, if you have a dog, set a time every day to walk them, this will not only keep your canine happy but will help keep you walking and active!
These little changes will add up, and even small amount of activity will increase calorie burn and greatly aid your metabolism.
Make sure you eat the right number of calories in relation to how active you are, achieving a balance in the energy you consume and lose.
Eat a wide range of food for a balanced diet and ensure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs,
Starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, bread, pasta, rice, and cereals should make up just over a third of your diet, plus choosing wholegrain varieties will help keep you feeling full for longer as they contain more fiber.
It is recommended that we eat at least five portions of fruit and veg every day. It can be as simple as adding a banana to your breakfast cereal or swapping your lunch snack with fresh fruit.
Unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies also count as one portion of your five a day.
Increasing the amount of fish, such as haddock, cod and canned tuna, you eat will help increase your protein and fish also contains many vitamins and minerals that would benefit your diet. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, fresh tuna, sardines contains omega-3 fats which help prevent heart disease. Try to choose a wide variety as possible.
Although we all need some fat in our diet, make sure you are aware of how much you consume and what type. Too much saturated fat can increase cholesterol in the blood and the risk of developing heart disease. Saturated fat can be found in foods such as cakes, biscuits, sausages, cream and butter amongst others.
Instead, choose foods that contain unsaturated fats such as vegetable oils, oily fish, and avocados.
Eating foods high in sugar, on the other hand, increases the risk of obesity and tooth decay but also affects your metabolism. As a result, it’s best to cut down on high-sugar foods such as sugary fizzy drinks, sugary breakfast cereals, and alcoholic drinks.
As well as cutting down sugar intake, it’s best to cut down on food with a lot of salt. Eating foods with too much salt can raise your blood pressure leading to the increased likelihood of heart disease or stroke.
Moreover, don’t skip breakfast! A healthy breakfast has been shown to have positive effects on mental performance as well as increase concentration throughout the morning.
Finally, keep yourself hydrated. Always have a bottle of water close at hand during the day especially if you lead an active lifestyle.
Build positive relationships
One way of coping with the stresses of daily life and aid in mental wellbeing is by talking to someone. Connecting with others, especially those who may be going through or have gone through similar experiences, may increase our sense of belonging and challenge feelings of loneliness.
Make sure that even in your busy lifestyle, you make time for the things and the people you love. Keep regular contact with friends and even if it’s only an hour in the week, set aside time to meet up whenever possible.
In this ever-changing world, it is inevitable that some friends and family may move away rendering face-to-face meetings not entirely efficient. But with technology and social media, frequent contact is possible.
Likewise, this may be the time to venture out of your comfort zone and meet people. Join a local group that matches your interests, reach out to organizations with values you agree with. Not only will this mean you are setting aside time to pursue your personal interests aside from work, but this is the best time to make new friends and meet interesting people.
Talking about your feelings and worries to someone you trust or in a safe and non-judgmental environment helps organize our thoughts and may even shed light on possible solutions. Join a peer support group or reach out to rehabilitation centers where trained professionals will lend an ear and aid you. You can find out more through this website.
Alternatively, volunteer at a local school or community and give time to a cause you believe in. This can be extremely fulfilling and help widen your perspective.
Mindfulness means the moment-by-moment awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. As a result of today’s hectic lifestyle, we are preoccupied with memories of the past, thoughts, and worries about the future rather than fully immersing ourselves and living in the moment.
The idea of mindfulness is to allow these thoughts and feelings to come and go, and an acceptance of whatever drifts into our awareness. Mindfulness is exploring experiences and awareness rather than achieving a goal, and instead, being aware of what motivates and drives you. There are many ways you can practice mindfulness in your everyday life.
Do you tend to eat your food quickly and at the same time as watching television or scrolling through social media? When you eat, stop yourself from reaching towards distractions like your phone and instead focus on what you’re eating. What does it taste like? How does it feel? When you are distracted, you miss out on all these sensations.
Similarly, when you’re out and about, pay attention to the movement of your body and your surroundings. Observe the things going on around you, the sights and sounds and life. Maybe you’ll even notice something you’ve never seen before.
When having a conversation with someone, listen wholeheartedly. Sometimes we are too preoccupied trying to think of what to say next or how best to respond that we miss the way they speak or how their voice sound.
Whether it be cooking or dancing, writing or painting or any other form of interest you harbor, lose yourself in the joy it brings to you. By fully immersing yourself in something you truly enjoy, we forget all of our worries and instead lose ourselves in the moment.
When you have many thoughts drifting around your head, simply observe them and become aware of them. By becoming aware of your thoughts, you place yourself more in the present, and not getting caught up in your swirling thoughts and worries.
Your sense of touch, smell, taste, sound, and touch are ways to connect to the present moment. When lost in thought, you are distracted from what these senses are picking up.
Whether you’re out on a walk or merely relaxing in your room, take a second to notice how the sun feels on your skin, the way the sky looks today, the flowers blooming on the path or how there’s never really silence, but instead a low murmur in the air. Pay attention to the little things and even the simple tasks during your day, and you’ll be surprised at what you might see.
Even taking ten minutes in your day to meditate is enough to create a positive impact on your life and increase your energy levels, feelings of inspiration and clear your head, ready to tackle the rest of your day!
When life gets busy, and the stress makes you feel like everything’s out of control, your physical and mental health are the first to suffer. But with little changes in your habits and making time for yourself, you can find ways to improve your physical and mental health.