With the new year in full swing, you may be thinking about making changes to boost your wellbeing in 2023.
But what is a passing fad, and what actually works?
Setting goals is important, but ambitious targets without supporting habits get old fast. Incorporating helpful habits into your daily routine can enable you to shift the parameters of your comfort zone, increasing the strength and resilience of your mind and body. Implementing small changes daily, building towards bigger goals, is the best way to boost your wellbeing in 2023.
Establish a sleep routine
Sleep deprivation can have serious impacts on your mental and physical health, weakening immunity and making you more prone to illness. Maximise the quality of your sleep. A consistent bedtime routine allows you to slow down and unwind more effectively. Winding down at the same time each night, reducing screen time beforehand, and getting 8 hours sleep in a cool room will ensure a good night’s rest.
Eating healthy boosts your immune system and gives your body the nutrients it needs to thrive. Cultivate a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins, whole grains and legumes. Anti-inflammatory foods such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, leafy greens and nuts all support a healthy immune system. An unbalanced diet can result in a lack of energy, which can cause stress and make it harder to achieve your goals.
Physical exercise has an abundance of benefits for your body - building muscle, losing fat and reducing your risk of developing long-term health conditions, to name a few. Regular exercise also does wonders for your mental and emotional wellbeing. When you exercise, brain chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins are released, reducing stress and anxiety to leave you feeling happier and healthier.
Daily stretching is a game-changer, strengthening your body and empowering you to tackle more vigorous exercise. Stretching increases blood flow, warms up the muscles and builds strength over time. Try following a simple morning stretch sequence or practising yoga. A regular yoga practice has been shown to improve sleep and help to manage stress.
Cold water therapy
Cold water therapy works wonders on the body and mind. Studies have shown that cold water exposure boosts the immune system, reduces muscle inflammation and improves mental health. Cold showers, ice baths and cold-water swimming send electrical impulses to your brain. These impulses jolt your nervous system, increasing energy levels, alertness and clarity. A Finnish study showed that the rush of endorphins provoked by cold exposure can reduce anxiety and lower stress levels, boosting well-being. Start small - following your normal shower, turn the water cold for 10-15 seconds. Do this regularly to build up tolerance, empowering your body and mind.
Spend time in nature
Getting outdoors enhances wellbeing, whether it’s a walk in the park, cycling or a camping trip. Being immersed in nature provides a welcome distraction, reminds you of the bigger picture and motivates you. Spending more time in nature has been found to help with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
The breath is a powerful tool and can be used to enhance mental and physical wellbeing. Practices derived from pranayama yoga such as Alternate Nostril Breathing and 4-7-8 breathing can help ground you in times of unease. The Wim Hof breathing method focuses on deep and rhythmic inhalations and exhalations, and can be used to influence your nervous system and boost your resilience to stress. Practising breathing exercises can boost your mind and body.
Reduce screen time
Our devices keep us connected and informed, but too much screen time can have negative health impacts. Blue light from screens impact your ability to switch off and relax - too much exposure can make it harder for your brain to produce melatonin, which helps you fall asleep. Reducing screen time can improve sleep, lower stress and improve your concentration. Try setting time limits on devices, getting outside and engaging in activities that don’t involve screens.
Do things you enjoy - just for the sake of it
Doing things purely for enjoyment strengthens our sense of personal satisfaction. Making time for hobbies is a great motivator and encourages you to organise your time effectively. Setting this time aside will leave you more motivated to focus on personal goals.
It’s all well and good trialling these tips, but the most important way to boost your wellbeing is to turn these into habits. Building habits and sticking to them ensures that your actions become practices.
By incorporating healthy and productive habits into your daily routine you will see your wellbeing improve incrementally, whilst developing a strong and resilient mind and body.
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