It doesn’t take much to achieve positive change in your lifestyle. In fact, we’ve done all the hard work by putting together these small achievable steps that can help improve how you feel every day. Start making subtle changes to your current habits for a healthier, happier and more mindful you.
In the bustle of everyday tasks, it’s common to grab breakfast on the go, eat lunch at your desk and watch television during dinner. However, eating mindfully without distraction connects you with the experience of truly enjoying your food. And when you’re more aware of your body’s hunger signals, you’re also less likely to overeat. It helps to take time to savour and enjoy the flavour of your food. It doesn’t even have to be a full meal – taking a moment to appreciate the fragrance of a cup of tea or concentrating on the crunch of an apple is one way to build the habit of eating mindfully.
Are you hunched over the keyboard or slumped in your seat as you read this? It’s time to get out of that chair! Studies show that prolonged sitting isn’t only bad for posture, it can harm your overall health. Lifestyle related conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and excess belly fat – are all linked to prolonged sitting.
To improve blood circulation and keep your muscles active, limit sitting or lying down for long periods of time. Set a reminder to include intermittent movement into your day. Stand up whenever you can, take short walks to the water cooler, opt for a longer detour when strolling to your lunch appointment, or do a few stretches at your desk. 5 to 10 minutes of activity for every hour you spend in your chair, can halve the health risks associated with prolonged sitting.
From peering at computer screens and mobile phones to television and more – your eyes rarely get a break. Be kind to your eyes and take a short break after concentrated visual focus to look away into the distance. This helps your eyes to rest and reset. Think 20-20-20: every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break to gaze at a faraway object at least 20 feet (6 metres) away. Try this other trick: rub your hands together, then place your warm palms over your closed eyes. Hold the pose for about 15 seconds and breathe deeply. These simple exercises can reduce eye strain and associated problems such as headaches, blurred vision and double vision.
Can’t survive without your phone? You’re not alone. But being shackled to your mobile device 24-7 is not only stressful, it can affect sleep patterns and focus. Develop a healthier relationship with technology by allocating part of your day to a digital detox. This space can be yours to better connect with the world around you. Spend the first 15 minutes of your day sipping your morning cuppa, taking in the dawn or writing down your to-do list – all without your phone. Ensure the last 30 minutes to an hour of your day is similarly phone-free. Set your phone on silent and tuck it away from sight. Then take that time to wind down for the night with a hot shower, a short read (with a physical book!) or some gentle stretching.
Sleep is how your body and mind heal, repair and regenerate. Lack of sleep can lead to a lower quality of life, an impaired immune system and an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart attack and stroke. Build good sleeping habits – known as sleep hygiene – by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on the days when you don’t have to work. It also helps to only use your bed for sleep. Using the bed to read, watch TV or use the laptop makes it hard for the mind to associate it with sleep. Keep the bedroom dark, cool and free of disruptive noises to make it a sanctuary for restful sleep.
These simple, achievable habits add up to building overall wellness, reducing the risk of illness and potentially saving on healthcare bills. Start taking the right steps today and set the foundation for good health that will continue well into your active and healthy retirement years.