When we think of health, we automatically think we should eat better or exercise more, but good health extends way beyond the plate. As a health coach my aim is to empower individuals to make connections between their lifestyle and health in a bio individual way.
If we look at life as a circle and each area of our life – our home environment, relationships, physical exercise, career, stress levels and sleep (to name a few) all make up what state of overall health we are in. You can be living on a perfect diet and exercising daily, but if you have stressful relationships, a job you hate, or poor sleep you still won’t be healthy or happy. It’s worth looking at all the sections of your life, try to write them all down and analyse where you can find greater balance. This will shift at different times depending on what’s going on in your life at the time but remember the goal is never to try and make all parts of the pie perfect; its more an exercise in identifying where the imbalances are.
Here are some small but incremental changes you can make to improve in a few key areas.
- Carry a water bottle round with you to encourage you to drink more. I always keep one in the car and one in my bag whenever I’m out and about.
- Drink hot water and lemon first thing in the morning. It’s the perfect way to hydrate and revitalize your body and mind on waking. A shower on the inside as my grandma used to say.
- If you know you should be eating more fruit and greens, try putting them in a smoothie with a shot of protein powder to add taste. It’s an easy and quick way to build up to your recommended 5 a day.
- Sit down to eat and chew slowly. Such a simple one that makes a huge difference to your digestion and better understanding of when you feel full.
- Aim for 30-60 minutes of exercise in whatever activity you enjoy the most. Don’t forget NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis) which basically means any movement outside of your allocated sport or gym session. Use the stairs instead of the lift, pace while you are on the phone, stretch while you are watching tv. Small steps that can make a big difference in overall activity.
- Aim to walk outside at least for 10 minutes every day whatever the season. It’s a doable amount and the fresh air will clear your mind as well as the physical benefits.
- Buy more plants. Living plants not only look great to add colour to a space, they also have therapeutic qualities and add oxygen to your house.
- Make your bed every morning. A simple effective way to start the day right and feel accomplished and organized.
- If you are working from home keep the space separate and tidy. It helps to feel more organized, and when you aren’t working visibly remove it (at weekends put the laptop away in a drawer or shut the door on it if you have a study space) allow your mind to fully switch off and rest effectively.
- Eat family meals together with a no phones/tv and computer policy. Conversation and strengthening relationships with loved ones are imperative in creating a healthy and happy mind.