I find myself recommending these super simple practices to anyone who wants to improve their well-being. As a personal trainer and development coach it is my job to help my clients feel stronger, healthier, and guide them through the process of improving their overall well-being. These are a few things I find myself repeating over and over and they really do work. If you’re not already doing all of these then start right now! I promise you won’t regret it.
Get some sunlight.
Regular sunlight helps us to synthesise Vitamin D which allows us to maintain healthy blood levels, strengthen our bones, and stave off depression. We need 10-30 minutes of direct sunlight 3-7 times per week. No, the effect is not the same if the light travels through glass, you have to go outside! It’s also important to note; the amount of sunlight the body needs increases with the amount of melanin in the skin.
Try this: take a 10-40 minute walk in your lunch break or eat your lunch outside, even if it is overcast and raining what little light there is will still have a positive impact. If this isn’t an option then stepping outside and letting the light shine on your face for even a few minutes at a time is still better than nothing. Do this at multiple points throughout the day and a few minutes here and there soon adds up.
Drink more water and herbal teas.
Come on now people, this is the most simple way you can improve your health and well-being. Proper hydration improves your ability to eliminate toxins, joints health, effectiveness of muscles (including the brain) and you feel better, faster, stronger. There is no universally agreed upon amount of water a person should drink. The best way to monitor hydration is your pee. If it isn’t clear or very light then you are not drinking enough water. Simple as that. Herbal teas are also a great source of hydration. I like a herbal tea with fennel and dandelion extract in the morning for digestion and gut health and one with Valerian root to soothe anxiety or help me relax before bed.
Try this: every night before bed put a pint of water next to your bed. Every morning drink the whole pint before you even get out of bed. It’s difficult at first but you’ll get used to it. This starts the day off topping up your hydration levels and waking up your metabolism: double whammy.
For the rest of the day make sure you’re drinking water consistently keeping your pee clear. Drinking more water takes getting used to. At the start you will go to the bathroom, a LOT, but your body will adapt after the first couple of days. You will feel completely different for the better when you are properly hydrated, I guarantee it.
P.s. A gentle but very real reminder not to buy single use plastic bottles! Carry a re-usable bottle with you or if you’re feeling really wild you could drink out of a glass!
Get to bed earlier.
Going to bed an hour earlier than I used to has changed my life and the lives of many of my clients. I now make sure I get 8-9 hours of sleep per night instead of 7. There are too many reasons why sleep is important for health and well-being for me to cite here. Take my word for it, sleeping more is pure magic. When you start to feel tired, go to bed. No excuses. It’s simple but so many people won’t go to bed when they’re tired and become sleep deprived as a result.
Try this: If you’re one of those ‘but I don’t feel tired’ people then it’s time to start conditioning your mind and body to re-learn how to sleep. Find a routine that works for you. My personal routine Includes avoiding the classic ‘one more episode mentality’. Make sure whatever I’m watching at the moment of feeling tired is the ‘one more’ I always promise myself.
Spend some time with friends.
It can be easy to get swept up in the stresses and routine of daily life. Maybe you’re busy with work, or your kids, or a new relationship; but spending time with friends is a vital part of holistic well-being. Socialising with peers increases our general life satisfaction and brings a quality to our experience that we can’t replace with our virtual friends or social media, try as we might.
Try this: make a weekly or bi-weekly commitment to one or more friends. A few ideas include: attending a creative class together, eating a roast on Sundays, hitting the gym together or meeting for a glass of wine one night in the week. If you live close by you could even meet to walk to work or home from work together. Even just a little bit of quality time spent socialising will bring a new richness to this area of your life that can easily go under-nourished.