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The world can be a stressful place and keeping on top of your wellbeing is vital to make sure you are getting the most out of life! Whether your goals are in the workplace, at home, at the gym or anywhere else, try these 5 simple changes to make yourself more productive, happy and in control.
1. Get more sleep
We never seem to get our sleep right. For many students it’s all about late nights to maximise socialising. For the young professional, it’s all about late nights to fit in that extra bit of work. For the parents, it’s all about grabbing whatever sleep you can around whenever your beloved children decide to catch some z’s!
No matter what stage of life, it is always hard to get sleep right. But sleep has many health benefits and getting a full 8 hours needs to become a priority to improve wellbeing. Research has shown that sleep is a vital link between health and happiness. Sleep has been shown to improve many brain functions including memory and learning new skills, which is likely to make you more productive in most areas of life! Sleep also improves muscle recovery following exercise, meaning you will be fresh and ready for that second gym session of the week!
2. Drink more
Unfortunately, we are not talking about fitting in a few more glasses of red of an evening, we are talking water! This simple staple of life will start to make a big difference in your life. Health benefits of drinking more water include improved brain function, kidney function and increased energy levels. Trying to shift a few pounds? Water can actually help with weight loss, by boosting your metabolic rate and making you feel fuller. With all these benefits, drinking more water is a simple change you can make starting today.
3. Be positive
Positive thinking makes a world of difference. With so much going on in life, we tend to be hyper critical of ourselves, don’t allow ourselves any mistakes and generally give ourselves a hard time. With a positive attitude, we experience pleasant and happy feelings, and see challenges as a great opportunity. Positive and negative attitudes are contagious, and if you have a positive attitude towards life, you are more likely to attract positive people around you. Try simple things such as smiling more. When negative thoughts enter your mind, try and think constructively to find a solution or an alternative. The reality is no one likes a grumpy so and so who’s always complaining and frowning on the world. Be the polar opposite of that person.
4. Fill your diet with whole foods
Forget faddy diets. The days of cutting out single nutrients or living off raw broccoli are gone. Not only are these unsustainable, they leave you unhappy and craving the very types of foods you should be avoiding. The key to a well-rounded healthy diet is whole foods. What do we mean by whole foods? Foods that are unprocessed and in their natural form. Simply put, we are talking meat, fish, fruit, veg, nuts – wholesome foods unaltered by man. So what are the benefits of eating these whole foods? Well where do we begin. Better digestion, more energy, better immunity to illness, improved recovery from exercise, improved metabolism... do you need any more reasons?
In our modern world of convenience, eating whole foods does take a bit of planning. Unfortunately, when you’re out and about, it’s very easy to pick up a snack pumped with sugar, salt or chemicals. It’s not always so easy to pick up a wholesome piece of fruit or a few carrot sticks with some hummus (yummy!). So make things simple and carry snacks with you so you are never caught short!
5. Take relaxation time
Schedule it in. No, seriously. Relaxation needs to be scheduled in as an activity in many people’s diary. Jam-packed schedules mean down time is often overlooked and squeezed out in favour of fitting in another meeting or just a bit more work. Relaxation can include things such as meditation, yoga, stretching or simply just settling down for a quiet time on the sofa with a book. Anything that helps you unwind. Daily relaxation time reduces stress symptoms and increases feelings of happiness. And who doesn’t want to feel less stressed and happier?! Find whatever works for you, but be conscious of creating enough time to allow you to relax. Life is fun when you are happier!
1. Dement, W et al. (1999). The promise of sleep. Psychnnet.apa.org
2. Nere, A. et al. (2013). Sleep dependent synaptic down selection. Frontier Neurology. 4:143.
3. Datillo, M et al. (2011). Sleep and muscle recovery. Medical Hypotheses, 77, 220-222.
5. Oman, D. et al (2006). Passage meditation reduces perceived stress in health professionals.