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.
When life is busy or stressful, prioritising your health and self-care regime is really important. Here are our top 5 tips to help you focus on how you can make simple changes to prioritise your health:
Keep a Handle on Stress
Mindful eating can be an effective 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 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 our 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.