On Friday I spoke out against exercise advice as being the only advice as not everyone is able to exercise. As such I figured that I really should share some a few tips of what works for me in improving my health. Just to be clear, I am not suggesting that exercise won’t improve your health, I believe it’s a vital component to a healthy lifestyle but for those of you unable to exercise regularly, these are ideas that you might be able to try.
- Drink plenty of water. Since I’ve upped my intake of water, I have had more energy and am also eating less. For those of you who can’t stand plain water, try herbal or fruit teas – there’s a flavour to suit almost everyone.
- Cut down on caffeine. I only have one mug of coffee a day on most days and I always have it in the morning. If I feel I need a pick-me-up during the day I usually opt for a redbush tea.
- Take breaks from looking at a screen. I spend a large portion of my day in front of my laptop – writing, reading, socialising and playing games. I take short breaks every half hour where I give my eyes a rest. Workrave is a neat little application you can download for free which will remind you when to take your breaks (at intervals and lengths of your choosing).
- Have a sleep schedule. This is another of those pieces of advice you find a lot and that’s because it really works. I used to have great difficulty getting to sleep but I figure that’s probably due to spending the majority of day in bed. Therefore, to get my sleep schedule sorted I took a very small dosage sleeping pill (prescribed by my Doctor) which helped me evaluate how long I need to sleep for and to get me in the habit of going to bed at the same time every day. I now continue going to bed and get up at the same time everyday (I fall down if I don’t get up as then my body doesn’t realise it’s tired enough). If you suffer from insomnia it is not a weakness to seek help. Other than that, my main advice would be to stay away from technology before bed as this stimulates the brain, making it much more difficult to relax.
- Meditation. I don’t meditate as often as I would like but when I do I notice the effects. When my mind is still and peaceful, my body naturally follows suit and relaxes. Meditation doesn’t have to be done sitting up in the lotus position – it can be done anywhere and in any position you find comfortable. I would recommend finding somewhere you won’t be interrupted when you first start out as trying to focus in a busy or loud area can use a lot more energy.
- Smile. Smiling and laughing release endorphins that are guaranteed to make you feel better, plus it’s much better to get your highs from laughing than from chocolate as you will no doubtedly be left feeling guilty for over-indulging.
- Eat dark chocolate. When I feel I have a chocolate craving coming I eat a square or two of dark chocolate (my favourite is Divine) as obviously this is much healthier than splurging on a whole bar of Galaxy.
- Eat your fruit and veg. Now, I don’t usually make it up to the ‘5 a day’ that we hear so much about but I try to get in a few portions every day as they are necessary for our body to perform correctly.
- Take vitamins and supplements. I currently take Vitamin B Complex and an Iron & Vitamin C every day. I don’t know if they are actually helping but I like to think they are (and I know they’re not doing any harm so better to take them than not in my opinion). If you are on a lot of medication or are unsure ask your Doctor or Pharmacist for advice as they are qualified to help you.
- Get some sunshine. Getting outside and soaking up some rays can be very beneficial to our mental health. I often can’t really go out so most days just take a step out the door and stand in the sun for 5 minutes. I am hoping to save up for a sun lamp (often used to treat S.A.D - Seasonal Affective Disorder) for those days when I can’t go out at all (or when there’s no sun).
Hope you found these ideas useful. Please remember that I am not an expert so before taking any drastic lifestyle changes, please consult your Doctor or Pharmacist. Have I missed anything that works for you? Let us know in the comments.