Health goalsResearch shows that our physical health is an important contributor to our mental wellness. A report 'Let's get physical - the impact of physical activity on wellbeing' published by the Mental Health Foundation says that: “Participation in regular physical activity can increase self-esteem and reduce stress and anxiety. Physical activity can help play a role in preventing mental health problems and improve the quality of life of those experiencing it. For example, there is an approximately 20–30% lower risk for depression and dementia, for adults participating in daily physical activity”.
By setting yourself achievable targets to improve your physical health, you can create routines that you are likely to continue as part of a healthier lifestyle. Choose a physical activity that you will enjoy, start off small and increase the amount of exercise at your own pace. Where possible, perhaps walk to work or take the stairs instead of the lift and take things from there.
Many of us understand how big a role diet plays in our physical and mental health so you could aim to reduce the amount of sugar or fat in your diet and replace them with natural, wholefoods such as vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds. The key is to allow yourself to eat the foods you crave from time to time so you don't feel deprived of them. Depriving yourself completely will add to the cravings.
Sleep routinePoor sleep or sleep deprivation can lead to significant health problems including depression, weight gain, and even heart disease. The New Year is a great time to get into good sleeping habits as we are usually back into our normal working/study routine. Some ways you can improve your sleep routine include:
Plan wind down time 45 minutes before bed when you reduce the screen time on all electronic devices.
Avoid drinks with caffeine in the evening.
Play relaxing music and practise meditation before you go to bed.Aim for between 7-9 hours of sleep each night and go to bed at a reasonable time. The website Medical News Today recommends you go to bed between 8pm and midnight.
Make more 'me time'We often feel like we’re being selfish (especially those with families to take care of) if we take time out to do something we love, but 'me time' is essential for our wellbeing. Put some time aside each day, even if it’s just 15 minutes to take a long soak in the bath, go for a walk among nature, or read a book.
Get outside moreBeing outdoors and surrounding yourself in nature can be a huge boost to your mental and physical wellbeing. The fresh air and soothing sounds of nature are great for alleviating stress and anxiety and lowering your blood pressure.
Remember that no matter how small your New Year’s wellbeing resolution may be, it’s a step in the right direction and can only make you feel better.