Increasing amounts of research show that simple changes in lifestyle – diet, exercise, sleep habits, and the management of stress – is key to sustaining good physical and mental health. However, simply being told to change these things can be unhelpful. Here, we have put together some ideas to help you convert these lifestyle changes into information that you can use to become a better version of you.
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‘Eat well,’ ‘Eat a balanced diet’ ‘Eat clean’ – all things we are told to do, but what does eating well or eating clean mean, and what exactly is a balanced diet?
We know that diet is one of the most significant factors of our lifestyle when it comes to our health. We all know that we should be eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, but is there anything else we should be eating or thinking about?
The perfect diet for optimum health would involve more than forty vitamins and minerals, and there is no single food out there that contains every single one. There are companies out there pushing their ‘snake oils,’ claiming they have a magic pill that has them all, but it is not true. There is no perfect food or the perfect meal, so we need to look at our diet over a period of time. Our diet should include fruit and vegetables, proteins, healthy fats, carbs, fiber, and calcium.
Increase physical activity
As well as eating well, we should be moving more. It does not matter how old you are, how fit you are, increasing the amount of physical activity in your daily life will have a positive impact on your health. It helps us to burn off calories and maintain a healthy weight; it is good for the heart and circulation, increases muscle mass, and helps us to maintain focus and stamina.
It is recommended that we all do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week. This does not necessarily mean going out for a run or hitting the gym – it could be dancing, gardening, or even something as simple as getting off the bus a stop or two earlier and walking the rest of the way.
Cut the chemicals
Think about how many chemicals you use every single day, from cleaning chemicals to the ones you put on your skin. Where possible, swap these out for natural and non-toxic ingredients. White vinegar and baking soda can be excellent natural cleaners, and essential oils can be used to replace all sorts of skincare products – check out A Guide to The Beauty and Health Benefits of Essential Oils to find out more about how to use them in your beauty routine.
Get more sleep
The power of sleep is still overlooked. However, when we are sleeping, our bodies are resting and recuperating and replenishing themselves. Sleep also enables our metabolism to kick in, meaning we are less likely to gain excess weight, and it can have a massive impact on our mental health.
However, given that we are all living incredibly busy and stressful lives, getting enough quality sleep can be difficult. If you are struggling, here are some tips to help:
- Maintain a good sleep routine – go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every day
- Reduce the amount of caffeine you consume and try not to drink it after lunchtime
- Invest in a quality mattress and replace it every eight years
- Turn off all screens for at least an hour before going to bed
- Take warm baths and drink milky drinks to encourage relaxation and sleep
- Use blackout blinds or heavy curtains to block out as much light as possible
Stress can have a huge impact on our health. It comes at us from all angles – family, finances, work, health – but how we deal with it is what matters the most. Many people choose to use yoga or other forms of meditation to manage stress and focus on the positive aspects of their lives. Others find that talking to a professional can help. The main thing is finding something that works for you and dealing with problems before they get too big to handle on your own.
No one can lead the perfect life, but by putting some of these tips into practice, you can be the best version of you. Try them today!