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8 ways you can improve your wellbeing
Life is busier than ever. There are so many goals to achieve, so many social media followers to impress, and so many people relying on us, that it can be easy to let our wellbeing fall by the wayside.
Let’s take a look at that word for a second. ‘Wellbeing’. If you search the #selfcare hashtag on Instagram, you’ll find millions of images of homemade spa treatments, healthy food and beautiful quotes on the importance of loving ourselves…but where does wellbeing fit into all of this? How do we separate wellbeing from…well, unwellbeing?
According to the Mental Health Foundation, wellbeing is about ‘how we’re doing’ as individuals. It’s a word that covers so many aspects of our lives, from our physical health to our relationships, career and environment. YOu might be surprised how connected these aspects of our life are. For example:
- Worrying over your job could affect your sleep, which could affect your mental wellbeing
- Living in a high-pollution environment can have negative effects on your physical wellbeing (e.g. respiratory problems)
- Worry over debt could make you irritable, causing arguments with loved ones and damaging your relationships
The following tips can help you find an improved sense of wellbeing.
Fortunately, you don’t need the cash or clout of an Instagram Influencer to have a good sense of wellbeing. Here are some top #selfcare tips that you can put into practice every day.
Keep it small, simple and realistic
Part of working towards improved wellbeing is to accept where you are right now and give yourself the patience and understanding you deserve. Despite what the media, celebrities, your Facebook feed or even you tell yourself, no one is capable of feeling amazing all of the time.
Improved wellbeing isn’t about being perfect. It’s about what you can put into practice right now, and keep putting into practice tomorrow, next week, and beyond.
This could be as simple as drinking two extra pints of water a day, or walking part of the way to work each morning. These are the small, realistic actions that turn into long-lasting improvements over time.
There are apps that can help you track your daily habits. Alternatively, you can tick your habits off in your journal or on a well calendar.
2. Keep active
- You might be tired of hearing this old chestnut but it’s true – exercise isn’t just something you do last minute before your holidays (like I’ve been known to do). Exercise plays a huge role in your overall happiness and quality of life.
- It has been proven that exercise can enhance all aspects of your life from your confidence to your sleep patterns. It can also alleviate your mood and make you feel more positive.
- Try to get active for around 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week or for 45 minutes a day, 3 times a week, and make it fun. I find a walk to work with my headphones in to be a great start to the day (as well as a money-saver on bus fares!).
- Read our keeping fit on a budget article for more useful exercise tips
3. Don’t play the comparison game
As someone really smart once said, ‘comparison is the thief of joy’. We live in a world that seems to push us towards comparing ourselves to others. This can have a negative effect on our self-esteem as well as our wellbeing.
Going back to the ‘feeling amazing all of the time’ issue in the previous tip, no one’s life is fantastic all of the time. Even the people you admire the most have to deal with disappointment, regret and boredom.
If scrolling endlessly through other people’s social media feeds is making you feel lousy, remember that you only get the ‘highlight reel’ of other people’s lives, and not the bloopers.
Try taking a break from social media for a few days, week or month. Check in with yourself each day. How is your mood? Are you noticing any improvement? Think of ways you could spend the time you’d usually devote to social media to making yourself happy instead.
It might sound a bit hammy, but writing down the things in your life that you’re grateful for can improve your mood and outlook over time. They don’t have to be monumental things, either. It can be as simple as having good friends, a roof over your head and a nice cup of tea in the morning.
4. Goodnight, sleep tight
- Sleep affects our digestion, our energy levels and most importantly our mental and emotional wellbeing. Go to bed and get up at roughly the same time each day. Doing this gives your body a routine and it will quickly adapt to your schedule.
- As tempting as a nap may seem, try to resist it. Chances are you won’t be able to reach the deep level of sleep you need for true rest, and you may struggle to drift off later in the evening.
- Take it easy with caffeinated drinks the later the day gets, and try not to eat too close to bed time. If you’re lying awake, don’t stress too much! Try reading a book or doing something else that relaxes you until you feel sleepy.
5. Get support when you need it
Having friends, family and other sources of support around you can make all the difference.
Identify who your most trusted loved ones are and tell them how you feel. Your true friends won’t begrudge you an hour’s vent here and there and should be glad to lend a listening ear.
How are your colleagues doing? Do you make time to talk during breaks? Get together and share how your day’s going. Could you arrange a social event, such as a payday lunch? Social time is a key part of fostering a sense of wellbeing, not just for you but the people around you.
If you have an addiction that you’re dealing with, know that further support is available.
6. Take time to relax
- It’s not easy to unwind after a hard day or if you’re feeling anxious about something. The more you concentrate on relaxing, the less your mind will dwell on other stressing matters.
- Sit in your favourite comfy spot and try some deep, slow breathing to help relax you. Go on YouTube and look up some yoga instruction videos or binaural music which is said to be highly relaxing to listen to.
7. Eat well
- When we’re run off our feet with things to do, we can often find ourselves flying through our meals or even putting off eating altogether. This can have a severe knock on effect on our physical and mental wellbeing.
- Eating small portions at regular intervals can give your body a consistent stream of energy rather than the erratic bursts that end up tiring you out.
- Even mild dehydration can put you in a bad mood, so make sure to keep some water nearby to sip on. If you find water boring, fruit juice is an easy way to get one of your ‘5 a day’ (but remember to clean your teeth!).
8. With a little help from my friends
- Dealing with stress can often make us feel isolated. We don’t want to burden our friends or family with our worries or simply don’t want everyone knowing our business. Bottling it all up often intensifies all that pressure you may be feeling.
- Identify who your most trusted loved ones are and tell them how you feel. Your true friends won’t begrudge you an hour’s vent here and there and should be glad to lend a listening ear.
And one more for luck – be your best friend
No one can look after your wellbeing better than you. If you look closely enough you’ll see that a little bit of self-preservation works wonders. If you need time out, then take it. If you know you deserve a day of reflection on all the things you’re going to do better, do it.
Maintaining good wellbeing isn’t a ‘one-and-done’ job. It takes consistent, daily effort and patience with yourself, and knowledge that support is there for you when and if you need it.