Improving your mental and physical health is a good place to start to enhance your overall wellbeing. Knowing where to start to make changes to our lifestyle can be challenging, but there are some simple steps you can take. Read our article to discover six easy habits and how you can start them today:
1. Getting enough sleep
It’s important that you get enough sleep to allow your body to recover and for your mind to rest too. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even at the weekend. That way there’s enough time for what experts call ‘sleep pressure’ to build up throughout the day, and it won’t take you as long to fall asleep each evening.
2. Cooking at home
Want to lose weight or take up a new hobby? Cooking at home is one of the best things you can do for your nutritional health and it’s a new interest you might want to develop. Home cooking gives you the opportunity to experiment with menus and recipes and it gives you control over what ingredients you use. That puts you in control of the quality of the ingredients in your everyday meals, ensuring you get your five-a-day, every day and minimises added fats, salts, sugars and calories found in ready meals and snacks.
3. Get active…and stay active
Taking regular exercise is one of the best ways to improve your physical health. Finding 10-minutes out of your day to get out in the fresh air for a walk is proven to boost your mood as well as fitness. Why not get out at lunchtime or if you have a dog, get out early evening to get out with your beloved pooch to enjoy an early evening stroll. There are many benefits that a daily 10-minute walk can have:
- It reduces stress and improves your mental health
- Walking is one of the best exercises for losing weight
- It helps lower blood pressure, improves sleep and re-energises
- Kills your food cravings
- Improves your cardiovascular fitness
- Strengthens bones
- Boosts immune function
4. Helping others
Why not become a volunteer? Studies have shown that the more people volunteer, the happier they are, and helping others benefits not only your mental health but your physical health too as it can relieve stress. Find out more about getting involved from Kent Volunteers.
5. Spending time in nature
Spending time in green, leafy spaces is beneficial for your mental wellbeing as you can ground yourself in nature. Just remember to avoid the hottest parts of the day, and wear high-factor sunscreen and a hat to give you protection from damaging UV rays. Even a short stroll can have a calming effect and that’s a great habit to develop. We’ve got some great tips on how to stay safe in the sun this Summer.
Many people have tried meditation for the first-time during lockdown and discovered the stress-busting power of sitting still, closing your eyes, and concentrating on your breathing.
If you’ve mastered a daily ten-minute session, try extending the length of your practice. Research has shown that over time, meditation can help you focus better, reduce anxiety, and help manage the symptoms of depression. We've put together some top tips on how to relax and recover.
How to stay consistent with your healthy habits
While it’s good to set goals in developing new habits, don’t push yourself too hard, otherwise you may fall out of love with your new ways; make your goals achievable and grow your targets as the days and weeks progress.
- Start small and build up – if you’re wanting to stay active by running, you could start by doing Couch to 5k or by going for one 15-minute run a week. This is a buildable habit which you can improve on week-by-week
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or you can get disheartened if you miss a day. Illness, busy days and stress can result in skipping occasional days. However, if you skip two days in a row, you’re more likely to drop the habit
- Start by integrating one new habit into your routine every month and eventually you’ll have three or four new habits effortlessly in your routine
- Stack your habits. For example, if you want to meditate for five minutes each morning, you could combine it with another pre-existing habit such as making your bed. So, after you’ve made your bed, you meditate by sitting on your bed for five-minutes
Help for your mental health at Benenden Hospital
If you've been affected by anything mentioned in this article, or would like to discuss your mental health, our fast access GP services can help. Book your appointment online today or contact our Private Patient team via Livechat or on 01580 363158.
Published on 14 November 2022