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Proritise your health

There is no doubt that the pace of life is very busy. It can be easy to forget to focus on healthy lifestyle habits that keep us feeling good and looking after ourselves. It is all too easy after a busy day, to reach for something quick to eat, or make excuses for not exercising. Unfortunately by choosing not to eat right, or to avoid exercising is actually probably making us more exhausted and it become a cycle that is hard to break.



Assess your health

  • Do you find you are prone to illness during or after periods of stress?

  • Does it take longer than normal for you to recover from illness?

  • If a cold or flu is going around are you the first one to catch it?

  • Do you have a serious long-term health condition?

  • Are you a smoker or do you live with one?

  • Have you recently gained weight or lost weight for no apparent reason?

 

If you answered yes to most or all of those questions, then you need some help with practical suggestions on improving your health and wellbeing!



So what simple changes can you make to prioritise your health?


Keep a Handle on Stress

The physical effects of stress on the body are well documented; when your mind is not functioning optimally or eventually your body will suffer the consequences. Stress is known to cause hypertension, high blood pressure, digestive conditions such as IBS, asthma, various skin disorders, allergies and much more. Take some time to addressing any stressors in your life. Take a few minutes to identify areas that can be easily addressed and some areas that might take more time to fix. Some of the things you can do to keep a handle on your stress levels include learning to say no, making more time for yourself, getting a good night’s sleep, talking to someone to share your concerns and managing your time more effectively.


Mindful eating

Mindful eating can be an effective method to reduce stress and improve your digestive health.  Healthy eating is easy to do when you are organised and well rested but many people to turn to food as they get stressed or find themselves mindlessly eating whilst bored or distracted. It is easy to fall in to bad habits when you are busy, such as eating whilst working, eating on the run, or grabbing something quick.


Try and clear time to eat, even if it is only 5-10 minutes. Pay attention to what you are eating, and focus on the sight, smell, texture and flavour of your food. By doing this you will find that you naturally eat slower and that you will enjoy the experience of eating more. It will also make you more aware of what you are putting in as fuel to your body.


Reward yourself in different ways

This is one we recognise well. We can sympathise with the thought ‘I have a bad day so I deserve this glass of white wine’. Try as much as possible to not use food or alcohol as a reward as these are not beneficial for relieving stress (see the blog section on Eat for Wellbeing) and might just make you feel worse the next day. Why not treat yourself with something that nourishes your soul or spirit instead, like catching up with a friend, buying a new book, or having a massage?


Get a good night’s sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), sleep is essential for health and well-being, yet millions of people do not sleep enough or suffer from lack of sleep. On average they claim we need between 7-9 hours a night. We all know how much worse things feel when we are tired, so getting good consistent sleep will benefit your mental and physical wellbeing. So why not set yourself a regular bedtime, take a warm bath, leave the technology out of the bedroom, and create an ideal sleep haven to give you a relaxing and re-energising night’s sleep.


Find some time for exercise

Exercising is often the first thing to go when we are busy, but just small amounts of exercise a day can have a large impact on your overall health. It doesn’t have to be an hour workout, why not start with small changes that will add up incrementally? For example take the stairs instead of the lift, or walk the children to school instead of driving, have a walking meeting at work or simply stand up and walk around whilst you are taking a call on your mobile. The more you can get your body moving, in a non-timing consuming way the better. With this in mind, don't forget that there are lots and lots of short workouts of 5, 10, 15 and 20 minutes on the website when you are short of time! We can ALL find 10 minutes a day!




And finally, in order to prioritise your health, consistently and longer term it is critical to make a plan and hold yourself accountable.


Here are five simple steps for accomplishing this:


1. Don’t try to change everything at once


It is completely unrealistic to change everything at one time. Sometimes the more we try to do, the less able we are to make any of these changes, and everything suffers. Pick one thing that is your priority and stick to it. If you are struggling to pick something make a list of everything you want to change. Think about how each item on the list affects the other, and which makes the most sense to start with. Once you have chosen set a tangible and achievable goal you know you can attain and look at this commitment each and every day.


2. Change your environment

Depending on the goal you set this will mean different things. In order to achieve the goal it is highly likely that you will need to change something in your environment to help you achieve this. For example if your goals is weight loss, why not go through your cupboards and remove the unhealthy foods?


3. Small changes add up

It doesn’t always have to be huge changes that you make, small things really do add up. It could be as simple as taking the stairs rather than the lift at work. Parking further away at the supermarket. Drinking more water rather than tea, coffee or fizzy drinks.


4. If you lapse, get right back on the wagon

We are all only human, There will be times when we make poor choices and we do things that we know are not good for our health. Put that out of your mind and get back on track as soon as possible. You don’t need to overcompensate to try to undo the damage that was done. This only makes getting back on track harder.


5. Make time for your new habits

Ensuring you follow through and are committed to make long term change takes time. You are changing behaviours that you have had for years so it will take time and dedication to stay on track. Take time out every morning to note all the positive behaviours you are committing to for the day. Maybe it’s wake up earlier to work out, or make a healthy breakfast or walk a mile during your lunch break.if you do this every day your thoughts will be come your actions, and your actions will become your habits.






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