10 Daily Habits to Boost Your Wellbeing

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There are some habits that are so easy to develop you’d never think they could possibly be good for you. But these gems reap healthy rewards. Inject them into your everyday routine and you’ll feel better before you know it.

 

Get outside

Especially first thing in the morning, exposing your skin to sunlight will help you come out of the sleep phase. Get up a little earlier and go for a 10-minute walk – it stops production of melatonin, which helps with restful sleep (and also improves nocturnal melatonin production) – or simply make a cup of tea and sit outside.

 

Move for half an hour

Of course, we all know exercise is essential, but it has benefits far beyond assisting weight loss. It can help you relax, make you feel happier, increase energy levels and assist with memory.

 

Drink at least two litres of water

Seems like a lot, but if you get a one-litre jug or bottle, fill it at the beginning of the day and get sipping it’ll be gone in no time at all. Refill and repeat. Just remember not to drink water for half an hour either side of meals – it dilutes the stomach acid that digests your food.

 

Sleep for eight hours

You know it makes sense to get enough rest each day, but did you know it’s also a key component in maintaining healthy habits? A University of Chicago study showed sleep-deprived participants chose snacks with twice as much fat as those who slept at least eight hours. If you’re really tired you’re also more likely to crave a sugar boost and less likely to exercise.

 

Eat plenty of colours

Every meal you have should look like a rainbow on the plate. Make sure you’re tucking into fresh fruit and veggies across the colour spectrum, since it’s the best way of ensuring you’re getting all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants your body needs.

 

Spend time away from electronics

Put down your phone and step away from the tablet. Spending too much time on social media can lead to feelings of envy and, ironically, loneliness. So, don’t mindlessly scroll when you’re watching TV or eating, turn off all ‘push notifications’ and turn on the ‘do not disturb’ at night. Even better, get an alarm clock and leave your phone in another room.

 

• Get portion sizes right

You can prepare the healthiest meals ever, but if you’re eating too much of them you’ll have trouble losing weight. The best way to keep things under to control is to learn what a serving size looks like. A serve of vegetables is about 75 grams (1/2 cup of cooked green or orange veggies, or 1 cup of raw salad vegetables). A serve of grains is one slice of bread or ½ cup of rice or pasta. When it comes to protein, you should start with 100 grams of raw meat, two eggs, one cup legumes (chick peas or lentils) or 170g of tofu.

 

Stretch it out

Taking the time to stretch tired muscles is a no-brainer, especially if you do a lot of sitting during the day. Come up with a basic 10-minute routine that concentrates on the major muscle groups, especially hip flexors, hamstrings and calves. You’ll start to feel the benefits in a few weeks.

 

Breathe deeply

Each morning, as you wake up, take five long, strong breaths. At the end of each exhalation, pause for a second before taking the next one. It helps the body to wake up and helps with feelings of calmness. This technique also works well if you’re stressed during the day, as it turns off the ‘fight or flight’ response that’s triggered when the body goes into crisis mode.

 

Express gratitude

Believe it or not, writing down the three best things about your day – the things for which you’re most grateful – can calm a monkey mind. It helps to remind you of all the good things that happened during a bad day. There’s a great app called Five Minute Journal (it costs about $8) that can get you started, or just put a notebook on your bedside table.

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