30 Things You Can Start Doing Right Now to Improve Your Well-being
Taking care of ourselves and our well-being is crucial to staying healthy, both physically and mentally. Often, when we’re growing up, we’re told to prioritise the needs of others. But that’s not always good advice - the only way you'll have the strength to look after others is if you look after yourself… After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup!
Improving your well-being will make you healthier and happier in the long run, that’s a fact. The good news is that you don’t need to make radical changes to your lifestyle to do it. Incorporating small, healthy habits (even if it's only a couple) into your day can have a hugely positive impact on your well-being over time.
Here are 30 things you can do right now to improve your well-being!
1. Improve your Breathing
Breathing is something we all do naturally, even when we’re not consciously thinking about it. But sometimes that’s the problem, and many of us don’t breathe correctly. When you do, it can come with a whole range of health benefits. Diaphragmatic breathing ((sometimes called belly or abdominal breathing) is a type of breathing exercise that helps strengthen your diaphragm, an important muscle that aids in healthy breathing.
Here are some of the biggest benefits this type of breathing can have:
- It helps you relax, reduce stress, depression and anxiety.
- It lowers your heart rate
- It helps lower your blood pressure
- It helps you cope with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- It improves your core muscle stability.
- It improves your body’s ability to tolerate intense exercise.
- It lowers your chances of injuring or wearing out your muscles.
2. Meditate in the Morning
Meditate in the morning, even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes. Meditation can help deal with stress and anxiety, improve your mood, help you be more productive and much more.
No need to follow any guided meditations. Just sit on a comfy cushion or chair and focus on your breathing - it’ll help you centre yourself and start the day in a better frame of mind. Meditation takes practice, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t master it the first time.
3. Don't start the day with a Coffee
As much as I love coffee, having one first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is intense. Starting the day with an upset stomach, feelings of nausea and jitters doesn’t set you up well for the rest of the day. Work can be stressful enough, without turning up feeling on edge from the coffee you had earlier.
Try having a matcha instead. The L-theanine in matcha makes your body absorb the caffeine more slowly. The energy boost you get lasts longer and you don’t get any jitters. Matcha also has a ton of other health benefits, including improved mood, increased concentration and calming effects. Plus, say goodbye to coffee breath!
4. Spend more time in Nature
It’s no secret that getting our ‘dose’ of nature is good for our physical and mental well-being. But how much nature do you need? A minimum of 2 hours a week. The study found that people who spent at least 2 hours per week in nature (or green spaces, like parks) were far more likely to report good health and psychological well-being.
5. Have a Self Care box full of goodies
All your favourite ‘feel good’ products go in this box. Candles, herbal teas, bath bombs, face masks and anything else you need for the ultimate self care ritual. Whenever you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, your self care box won’t let you down.
6. Don’t use your Phone for at least 30 minutes before you go to bed
Using your phone before you sleep has been shown to negatively impact sleep quality. Not only can blue light disrupt our circadian rhythm, feeding your brain information tricks it into thinking it needs to stay awake. This is especially the case if you consume some content that makes you angry or upset – it’ll keep you awake and prevent you from getting enough sleep.
7. Eat less Meat
You don’t need to go vegetarian or vegan, but many of us have meat-heavy diets and it wouldn’t hurt to eat less. The opposite, in fact! Meats like pork and beef are heavy on our digestive system and take a long time for our bodies to process. That’s why we often feel bloated or lethargic after eating a meat-heavy meal. Swap for lighter meats like fish and chicken, or make more plant-based meals and cut down the amount of meat you eat each week. Plant-based meals can still taste great, be quick to make, satisfying and have all the essential nutrients. They just don’t leave you feeling low on energy and tired afterwards.
8. Do something Creative
We often associate playing and having fun with children, and as adults we simply ‘don’t have time’. Not only is creativity considered one of the most important skills, engaging in creative tasks can make you smarter, fight against dementia, and reduce stress, anxiety and boost your mood
9. Set small, achievable Goals each day.
When we have a to-do list as long as our arm, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. The previous evening, write down everything you need to do for the following day. In the morning, take a look and see what you think you’ll be able to do that day. Remember that there are only 24 hours in a day and there will be times when you don’t complete your to-do list. Be proud of what you managed to do, set realistic goals and be okay with the fact there will be days when you just don’t get everything ticked off your list.
10. Happy Gut, happy Life
There has been a lot of interesting books written about and research conducted into the link between having healthy gut flora and our health. Not just physical, but mental, too. Probiotics aren’t a new thing, they have been around for ages. An easy way to incorporate probiotics into your diet is to drink kombucha or use kefir yoghurt.
11. Find or rediscover a Hobby
For a lot of us, a new hobby seems like one more thing we just don’t have time to do. Consider this – you may not be as busy as you think and may not be managing your free time effectively. While ‘passive’ hobbies, like watching TV and surfing the web can be great (we all need to veg out once in a while), we benefit so much more from active hobbies that require us to engage. Remember, it’s never too late to start learning a new hobby!
Not only do hobbies make us more interesting people and lead to more social connections, they can help cope with stress, help us stay mentally active through old age and promote ‘flow’. You know when you get so wrapped up in something you enjoy that time just disappears?
12. Finding hard to get up Energized?
There’s a little (very hard) trick many yogis do before they start their daily practice. They get into an ice cold shower. A quick one, like 2 minutes. Start with splashing a little water on your feet, hands, legs, face, belly then jump under the shower. Spin a couple of times singing out loud and you are done! It takes some getting used to but it helps you start the day fired up and ready to go!
13. Improve the Atmosphere at Home
Creating a nice environment at home puts us in a more positive and relaxed state of mind, even if you create one area of your home that you can go to and relax. Add nice things to look at, like plants and artwork, and diffusers, incense or candles to make your home smell dreamy.
14. Give your body a Powerful shot of Goodness
Prep a powerful shot using turmeric and black pepper. Turmeric contains curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties and is an extremely strong antioxidant. Curcumin is poorly absorbed into our bloodstream. Pepper, however, contains piperine, a natural substances that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2,000%.
Try using fresh turmeric. You can peel a couple of them juice it on a blender with a little bit of water and the black pepper.
If your not a huge fan of Turmeric, try adding some orange juice to disguise the flavour. Extra Vitamim C as a bonus to the body!
15. Spend more time with the ones you Love
Many of us have said “We should go for a drink and catch up!” but fail to actually do so. Sometimes we can go weeks without spending quality time with friends and family. Should we be putting in more effort?
A recent study found that strength of a person’s social circle was a better predictor of stress, happiness and overall well-being than fitness tracker data relating to your physical health. There has been plenty of research about the benefits of having a strong social life. A common conclusion is that spending time with the ones you love lowers stress, improves mood, encourages positive behaviours and discourages negative ones, improves illness recovery rates and so much more.
Even if you just have 10 minutes, pick up the phone and call somebody to see how they’re doing. It’ll make you both feel better!
16. Do something that makes you Happy in the morning
Ever had a bad morning and it has affected you for the rest of the day? The opposite is true, too! Whether you like singing, exercising, playing an instrument or anything else, doing something you enjoy in the morning will improve your day. It’s that simple. If you start the day positive and doing what you love, it’s much easier to keep a positive mindset throughout the day
17. Take a Risk, no matter how small
While routine and structure are important to us, it can lead to us being ‘stuck’, without the feeling that we’re moving forward, growing or learning. Sometimes you just need to ignite your inner fire again. You can do that by taking a risk. Taking risks feels rewarding, makes us more resilient, increases our self-confidence and helps us grow as people.
Challenge yourself to take a small risk every day. Whether it’s striking up a conversation with someone new, setting a tough workout goal, going to a class for a new hobby, or anything else that pushes you out of your comfort zone.
18. Do something Selfless
Acting selflessly helps us to be empathetic and all-round better people. Each act of kindness, no matter how small, can have a huge impact on somebody’s day. As long as you’re helping for the sake of helping, you’re being selfless. The good news is that you can fit small selfless acts into your day, whether it’s giving up your seat on a train, donating to a charity or calling a friend who you know is going through a tough time. Volunteering is another great way to be selfless as your are donating your most valuable asset – your time.
19. Practice Gratitude
Often, it’s easier to identify what irritates us than what we’re thankful for. Practicing gratitude has a huge number of benefits, from better relationships and overall health to higher self-esteem. You don’t need to be vocal about it, either. You can simply keep a gratitude journal of all the things you’re thankful for, no matter how big or small.The best thing is, practicing gratitude doesn’t cost you anymore and it doesn’t take much time!
20. Focus on the Positive
It’s easy to tell someone to ‘stay positive’, but does it actually help? Studies have shown that optimists are psychologically and physically healthier than those who are always pessimistic. Identifying a single positive in an experience, whatever that is, allows you to learn and grow from it, while reaping the benefits positivity can have on work, health and relationships.
21. Live in the Present more
Buddha said “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” Trying to live in the present moment more comes with a range of benefits such as improved social skills, more creativity, stress reduction and helping serial overthinkers stop, well… overthinking.
22. Eat intuitively
There are lots of restrictive diets out there and, unless you have a specific medical condition that requires you to cut out certain foods, often the best thing you can do is eat intuitively. Restrictive diets can worsen your relationship with food. To eat intuitively you do need to understand about the food you eat and the macros you need each day in order to make informed choices.
Try to eat more whole, unprocessed foods and be mindful of how nutritious the food you’re eating is. There’s no need to cut out less nutritious foods (a life without pizza, no thanks). The healthiest way to eat is to understand the role each food plays in our diet. Not too indulgent, not too restrictive.
You don’t need to work out for an hour, 10 minutes is enough to see some benefits. Studies have shown that exercising leads to better decision making and focus, improved mood and better sleep that night.
With so much great content on YouTube and thousands of fitness apps to choose from, there’s a workout to fit anybody’s schedule. Whether you’re a busy mom or dad, working long shifts or you need a workout you can do anywhere.
A lot of us sit down for most of the day at work. Sitting permanently changes our posture. It causes our muscles to tighten up, leads to neck problems and so on. By exercising - even in short bursts - you can reduce and even reverse the damage done by sitting down for long periods of time.
24. Use Natural Face Masks
The beauty industry has a lot of great products, with a shift towards more natural ingredients, but these can be pretty expensive. Luckily, you don’t have to break the bank to have a glowing skin - you can make a face mask with common ingredients around the house! Two of the best natural ingredients are matcha and honey. Matcha is a great skin-food given the high content in oxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K and chlorophyll. A simple 1:1 mix of matcha and water with a little honey will leave your skin feeling nourished!
25. Drink plenty of Water
Many of us rely on beauty products to keep our skin looking supple and fresh, but one of the best things we can do is make sure we’re drinking enough water. And it’s not just important for our skin, keeping our bodies hydrated is essential to make sure they’re functioning as well as possible. Prone to forgetting to drink? You can get an app that reminds you! Drinking enough water every day for just 2 weeks can already yield visible results.
26. Lemon Tea & Honey
If you’re not a fan of drinking caffeine in the morning, try having lemon tea with a little honey. Lemon gives you a hit of vitamin C which supports a healthy immune system, aids in collagen synthesis (important for our skin) and its antioxidants help fight against diseases related to oxidative stress, such as cancer and some cardiovascular diseases. The sourness of the lemon gives you a little ‘wake up’ without the caffeine.
Honey is also one of nature’s greatest gifts. Research has found that honey has strong antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, as well as exceptionally high antioxidant content. It also helps to sweeten the lemon, which can be a little sour when you’re drinking it early in the morning!
27. Follow your Circadian Cycle
Some people are more active at night. Some in the morning. There are benefits to both, so see what works best for you. You can sync your life with your circadian rhythm in various different ways; spend some time outdoors in the morning, eat within a 12-hour period, avoid electronics before bed and take a little afternoon nap.
28. Balance and Moderation
Live a life of moderation and balance, while avoiding extremes. Restrictive diets (a life without takeouts? No thanks!), over-exercising and binge-watching Netflix all weekend, and anything when taken to the extreme can become unhealthy. When life is lived with moderation, you can enjoy a little of everything!
29. Have a healthier Digital Diet
It’s easy for us to be glued to our devices for most of the day, even when we’re supposed to be relaxing. While many of us could benefit from reducing our overall screen time, the content you consume is equally important. Avoid reading too many negative stories and unfollow those accounts on social media that don’t make you feel good. By surrounding yourself with more positive and constructive content online, you can avoid many of the mental health risks associated with harmful social media and online content.
30. Laugh more
Whether you’re quietly giggling to yourself or crying with laughter, laughing does you good. It fights stress, improves your mood and relieves pain! There are so many ways we can incorporate a little more laughter into our lives; find a funny co-worker, read a book, watch a hilarious film. Take what makes you laugh and try to work it into your day!
Article credit : ENSŌ Matcha