I am pretty sure I’m not the only one looking for ways to improve my health and general state of wellness this New Year. I mean it’s the time for fresh starts, new beginnings!
‘Health is Wealth’ – The older I get the more I realize just how true this is, no matter how cliché it may sound. I have come to realize that no matter how much money I am able to make through different streams of income and investments, if I am not healthy enough to enjoy it, it is all in vain.
When I talk about health, I am not referring to your physical health alone. I also mean your mental and emotional health. Find below 7 simple, yet effective ways to improve your health and wellness in 2017:
- Take walks
I am not a big fan of exercise: I hate sweating and hate being in pain for days after working out. But exercising is a necessary ‘evil’. Walking is a form of exercise I have come to enjoy over the years, and it makes working out a little more bearable. I have found that walking a minimum of 30 minutes, 4 days a week has helped me keep fit over the years. The pace at which you walk will determine how many calories you burn. Not only does it help with weight loss, it also helps clear the mind, which is very important for productivity.
- Drink more water
I really mean water, not just any type of fluid. People suggest that you drink at least 8 glasses a day and although this is just a guideline, the health benefits of drinking enough water cannot be exhausted: Drinking water helps with weight loss, promotes healthy skin, relieves fatigue and flushes out toxins in your body.
For people, that don’t like the taste of water, I’ve found that adding some ice and lemon slices to your water makes it even more refreshing. If you’re having trouble drinking enough water throughout the day, try: carrying a bottle of water around, drinking a glass of water with every meal rather than choosing soda, and if you love your smart-phone as much as I do, you can get an app to track how many cups of water you’ve had.
- Eat better
We all know how important it is to eat fruits and vegetables each day. However, we may sometimes forget how freeing it is to not to feel weighed down by sugars, simple carbohydrates and overly processed foods once eaten. The key to eating well is balance. By not being too hard on myself and allowing myself little treats like cupcakes and ice-cream from time to time, I don’t feel like I’m denying myself of anything. I try to eat clean 70% of the time and allow myself to indulge 30% of the time. However, this is just a guideline and you would have to tailor your diet to your personal goals. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, you might need to eat clean 90% of the time. The point is, as much as you can, try to put clean, unprocessed food in your body.
I’m sure you have heard about how amazing it is to meditate and how it could change your whole life. Being present helps to control the way you react better to different situations, anticipated or not, that you may find yourself. If you don’t know where to start you can try using a meditation app to help you get started. Some of my favourite apps available on the App Store and Google Play are Calm and Headspace.
I was once told that “the best way to know how much progress you’ve made and remain consistent is to have a record of your starting point”. Journaling helps you understand your past, present and future. It improves your insight and understanding, helps you track your overall development, and helps improve your mental clarity. Journaling every morning before you start your day or at the end of your day (or both) will improve the quality of your life tremendously.
- Give back
Giving back by volunteering your time or donating will give you a chance to stop thinking about yourself and actually focus on issues that people around you experience daily. Stepping away from your problems and helping someone else could bring a sense of fulfilment, and also a different perspective to the way you might view life. This, I strongly believe, is essential for your mental and emotional health.
This year, try volunteering a few hours of your time to help a cause you are passionate about. If you’re interested in youth empowerment, volunteer at your local youth community and mentor kids. Bonus: Volunteering not only makes you feel good about yourself, it also looks great on your resume.
- Get enough sleep
We all know how important sleep is so rather than boring you with all the benefits of getting 8 hours of sleep each night, I’ll talk about how you can actually get more sleep. If you have trouble sleeping through the night (like I do sometimes) limit your caffeine, and alcohol intake before sleep. Also, try not to use your phone, laptop or watch any TV at least 30 mins before you sleep. If none of these help, you should try visiting your doctor.
Bonus – Be Consistent
This is the most important part because this is the only way you will see a real improvement in the quality of your life. Consistency is KEY!
Wishing you a great year ahead as you take charge of your health and general well-being!