Feb 01, 2018

10 health hacks to become a happier and healthier you

Live a long, happy and fulfilled life – that’s the goal, right? To do that, you need to start taking care of yourself. A few small, simple changes to your lifestyle can help you along the way:

1. Get to bed an hour earlier

According to Dreams 2016 UK Sleep Survey*, 63.1 per cent of people are happy with the amount of sleep they are getting. However, only 8 per cent said that they wake up feeling refreshed.

Sleep is so Important! It plays a vital role in our physical and mental health.

If you go to bed an hour earlier than you normally would, your body has more time to unwind and relax, resulting in a more effective sleep.

Reasons to go to bed earlier:

• Less stress – an extra hour of sleep provides the ultimate mood boost. When you don’t get enough sleep at night, exhaustion can create a wide array of negative impacts on the brain, including depression and anxiety.

• You are more likely to get a good sleep – a lot of us find it difficult to go to sleep at night, with all of life’s stresses, this is normal. If you give yourself more time to fall asleep, you are more likely to achieve that.

2. Wake up an hour earlier

Ben Franklin had it right when he said, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

Like going to bed earlier, getting up an hour earlier in the mornings could have a positive impact on your health and your day.

Get up one hour earlier and give yourself time to ease into the day. Enjoy your coffee and lemon water in peace, read something inspirational or educational, squeeze in a workout and think about what you want to accomplish for the day.

Getting up earlier helps:

• Improve your diet - late snoozers tend to skip breakfast because they try to get in every last wink of sleep and skip breakfast.

• Enhances productivity – there are less distractions in the morning, your brain is better equipped and fully charged from a good night’s sleep and early risers tend to be better at making decisions and setting goals.

• Improves mental health - the first hour of your day and how you spend it often sets the tone for the rest of your day and your life. If you get up, workout, eat well and give yourself time to wake up properly, you start to reduce the stress in your life by eliminating the need to rush in the mornings.

• Better quality of sleep - early risers often have very well-established sleep routines. This means going to bed early, and most likely at the same time every day. This makes it easier to establish a habit of waking up earlier.

3. Practice a little self-love

Taking care of yourself should be a number one priority.

Research is increasingly showing that those who put their own health and wellbeing at the top of their life agendas are enjoying better health, fewer illnesses and are less likely to suffer from obesity, high blood pressure and Type 2 Diabetes.

• Pamper yourself.

• Take care of your body by eating well and exercising.

• Try meditating.

• Take some time out every day to think about what you want to achieve, what makes you happy and what is making you unhappy.

4. Meal prep

When life gets overwhelmingly busy, it can be easy to push back the importance of eating a well-balanced diet. The temptation to pop to the shop during your lunch break for a quick sausage roll or pick up a pizza on your way home from work can be too much.

Use your weekends to prep several lunches and evening meals to kick this bad habit.

The more effort you put into cooking, the more likely you are to enjoy it and actually start to appreciate taking the time to make nutritious, tasty food.

If you’re struggling for recipe inspiration, check out over 1,000 recipes here.

5. Step away from your desk – try eating outside

Taking a break during the day can have a massive impact on your health and happiness.

Moving away from your desk and standing up for periods of time throughout the day is much better for your health than staying put and constantly staring at your monitor whilst trying to eat your lunch.

If you take your lunch away from your work station, potentially outside, you will become a mindful eater, you will appreciate some fresh air and you will definitely appreciate the break away from the office.

6. Treat yourself

You’ve got to look out for number one!

Treating yourself can mean a variety of things – it can be buying that pair of shoes you’ve wanted for ages, it could be eating your favourite dinner or it could be having a rest day when you don’t do anything that causes you stress.

Think of something you really want or something that brings you real happiness…

Now go out and do it.

Because if you don’t, who will? Taking care of yourself and treating yourself once in a while is completely ok. It will make you feel good and you deserve it.

7. Avoid heavy use of technology

Technology can do a lot of wonderful things, but just like anything used in excess it can have its dark side too.

Excessive use of technology can:

• Strain your eyes – when you spend more than a couple of consecutive hours staring at a screen, you risk dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision and general eyestrain.

• Stunts growth of social skills – technology has changed the way we interact with others. Maintaining human interaction and face-to-face communication defeats the risk of becoming uncomfortable in real-world social situations.

• Affect your sleeping pattern – If you’re part of the 95 per cent of people who use an electronic device during the hour before bed, the artificial blue light could suppress the hormones that promote sleep and make it harder for you to sleep.

We can’t escape the use of technology, most of us are required to use it in our everyday lives, but where you can swap it out of your routine, you should feel encouraged to do so. Take a walk, read a book or just relax. Give yourself a break from technology.

8. Stretch it out

A mid-day stretch break boosts your energy, improves your focus, and benefits your mood! Set aside 5 minutes in between long stretches of work to stretch your muscles.

• Stretching increases circulation – tense muscles have reduced blood blow, which is why you feel pain if you’ve been sat in the same position for hours and feel tense. Regular stretching naturally reduces tension over time, increasing blood flow and oxygen to the muscles.

• Stretching helps you wind down – it can help you to allow your body to relax. Taking time out each day for a few minutes and doing a few stretches helps to increase your wellbeing.

9. Kick start your day with a lemon water

Start every morning with a glass of water with fresh-squeezed lemon. It will help flush your system of toxins, alkalizes your body, and keeps your digestive system working as it should. This gives you more energy, fights off inflammation, and provides you with an all-natural health boost.

Not convinced? Lucky for you, we have a whole blog post dedicated to the mighty lemon!

10. Sweat it out before you hit the shower

Exercising in the morning can give you that energy boost you require to get going due to the release of endorphins and other hormones that make you feel good.

A simple 10-minute routine can help clear your mind, increase personal discipline and can even lead to a healthier sleeping pattern. A little cardio exercise in the morning can dramatically improve the quality of your night-time sleep, especially when done on a regular basis.

Instead of hitting the caffeine in the morning, why not try a simple workout? Start your day the right way.

It is important to remember that we are not machines, we can’t keep running for hours on end and not expect to receive any repercussions. Taking care of yourself and making a few small changes to your lifestyle is the first step to a long and happy life.

Equalibras is a useful tool for anyone looking to make a Life Change Now. With access to videos, meal planners and a huge selection of delicious and healthy recipes, the journey to long term health and fitness is only a click away. Register today!

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