Our minds are so active these days that it can sometimes forget the little things and the positive impact it can have on our body, our mind and our emotions. For me, wellness means finding time for the things that make me happy and removing the distractions of modern life.
- Connect with nature
Spending time outside in nature ensures that you are getting vitamin D which helps the body to absorb calcium, magnesium and phosphate which we know are important. Low vitamin D is also linked to lowered immune system, fatigue and depression.
Whether you make the time to wake up early and take the dog for a walk, eat your lunch outside, or create a vegetable or herb garden at home; spending more time outside is a simple way to improve your health and wellbeing, and make you feel more connected to nature.
2. Turn your lights down
Blue light can not only cause headaches and eye strain after long periods but also inhibits the release of melatonin, our sleep hormone, instead triggering the release of cortisol, a stress hormone which keeps us alert. This can lead to feeling like we can’t shut off properly at bedtime and starts to impact the quality of our sleep.
Simple ways that you can decrease your blue light exposure in the evening include setting an alarm on your phone to put all of your screens away, and putting a salt lamp in your room so that you are dimming the light down and introducing warmer tones that mimic sunset and help to kick our brain into sleep mode.
It may sound too simple to really work, but the way that we breathe can alter our state of being drastically, either activating the sympathetic nervous system (our fight or flight mode) or the parasympathetic nervous system (our rest and digest mode). With so much stress and stimulation in our modern lives, knowing how to switch into rest and digest mode is such an important tool, to create better sleeping patterns, improve digestion, and just to feel better and more relaxed.
A helpful breathing exercise to help you find deep relaxation is a 4-4-8 breath. Inhaling for 4 counts, holding the breath for 4 counts, then exhaling for 8 counts, and repeating as many times as you like. Before this exercise take a minute or two to ensure that you are sitting or lying comfortably and relax each part of your body. Even a short breathwork practice of 2-5 minutes a day could create big changes in your state of mind and stress levels.
4. Try plant-based options
If you are like most of us who would like to eat more vegetables than we do, choosing the vegan option when you are out to eat, or simply cooking a vegetarian meal instead of a meat heavy meal once or twice a week is a great way to do so.
Increasing your vegetable and fruit intake will increase fiber, water and vitamins and minerals, which improves digestion and clears your skin. Eating less meat is also linked to a decreased risk of high blood pressure, stroke, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Plus, you will also be doing something for the earth, as the meat industry has a huge environmental footprint.
5. Make it from scratch
If you are looking for ways to reduce your sugar, salt or processed oil ingredient intake, a simple way to do to is by making things from scratch. Instead of buying packaged burgers, dips, or sauces, try making them yourself from good quality ingredients. This will help to reduce your intake of processed oils, artificial flavours and colours, and rplace them with healthy fats, herbs and spices.
Start off with something simple such as making your own pesto, hummus, or simple salad dressing, all of which are simple to make and are much healthier homemade than store bought. By making more from scratch you can save money, improve your health and reduce the amount of packaging that you are bringing into your home.