You have seen the articles. The ones that tell you things you already know. Get more exercise. Don't eat junk food. It's all just common sense isn't it? Well, we may all know it – but are you actually doing it? I know I struggle and based on information in the media it looks like I'm not alone. So while it's common sense it seems it's not always common practice.
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Let's face it, sometimes we need to be reminded that taking some time to look after ourselves properly isn't a luxury. We wouldn't think twice about making sure we keep our mobiles, tablets and ipods charged up and ready for action and it's about time we remember our bodies are the most essential bit of kit we own.
What simple things could you do that fits into your life without a huge amount of disruption? Why not just pick one and see whether it could make a difference for you?
1. Do Exercise – Any Way You Can
Let's stop thinking about exercise as recreation for people with 'spare' time. There may be different views about how much time we need to devote to it but there is a clear consensus that we all need to do some!
As I'm sure you do, I try to manage the demands of a very busy professional and personal life. I recently came across Shaun Thompson, a health and fitness specialist (amongst other things – he has a rather impressive CV) who's helping people like us find a way to make exercise time efficient and effective. I've recognised that, rather than a 'dramatic lifestyle change', the key is to slowly build in gradual improvements. Instead of getting frustrated when I don't get the chance to exercise, I'm getting in the habit of looking for opportunities when I can grab half an hour to do some. When I'm struggling I keep reminding myself what I'll gain – and for 30 minutes a day it's a pretty good investment.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, boosting your mood and making you feel more relaxed and invigorated. It improves your general self-perception which in turn makes you more resilient (and more disciplined!). The 'headspace' from all the other demands can actually bring a clarity that can help you with any problems or issues you're trying to address. Even a ten minute walk in your lunch break could make a big difference to how you feel in the afternoon.
And another benefit is exercise can help you sleep well…
2. Get Enough Sleep
Do you find it hard to get enough sleep? There are many different reasons why people struggle and while it isn't always something you can control, we're all guilty of putting in extra working hours by using up what should be sleeping time. And it's not a sensible or sustainable behaviour as feeling refreshed from a decent night's sleep is often a major factor in getting life under control.
Sleep is the only time your body has to restore itself. It's when your brain recharges and if you don't get enough you'll find your memory and attention are negatively affected. A lack of sleep also raises stress hormone levels (even if you're not in a stressful situation).
No one can avoid the odd late night but it's worth asking yourself whether some discipline around your sleeping habits could pay back considerably for you.
3. Eat Well
We all know the importance of a balanced diet. Are there a couple of changes you can make to improve yours? Most dietitians agree refined carbs are bad news so if your lunch is high in them (such as a white bread sandwich) try swapping it for something a bit healthier. It'll reduce the energy swings that leave you tired a few hours later and reaching for the biscuits and chocolate.
And never underestimate the benefits of water. As we speak, we lose moisture and the more dehydrated we get, the more tired we become. So get into the habit of having a glass or bottle with you all the time and take regular sips.
Think about what could help you and just try adopting one change gradually. It could be more exercise or it could be trying to remember to have an extra glass of water every day. You may be surprised at how a very small change can start to yield results for you.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a Work It Daily-approved expert.