It’s been a long and difficult couple of years due to the pandemic. The hyper-focus on health and hygiene has brought pros and cons, but largely it has highlighted for a lot of people the importance of caring for our bodies and mental health. During the lockdowns we were protected from a lot of the bugs we are normally exposed to, meaning colds are hitting us even harder now. And we weren’t able to do the things that helped us feel healthy and happy, such as going to the gym or spending time with friends.
In 2022, with life going back to some normality, you can embrace caring for your body with more freedom. Your body is the only one you have and making small behavioral changes can make a significant difference to your well-being and quality of life.
Check out our top tips for staying healthy and happy in 2022. Even just focusing on one or two changes from the list will be a positive step and something to be celebrated.
Get your vitamin-D
Vitamin D is crucial to your health and happiness. It helps maintain healthy bones and teeth, your immune system, and other bodily processes such as regulating insulin levels and supporting lung function.
The body creates it when your skin receives direct sunlight outdoors. It can also be found in some foods, such as oily fish, eggs, and red meat. During fall and winter, when access to the sun is limited, consider taking a daily supplement to ensure you’re still getting the benefits of this important vitamin.
Go for daily walks
If you’re not into going to the gym or intense exercise sessions, walking is an amazing way to look after your mind and body. You can even walk with friends to make it a sociable and enjoyable experience! It’s recommended that walking for 30 minutes most days is an amazing way to maintain your overall health.
Walking will help you burn calories, making it a cost-effective and low-impact method of managing your weight. There are other physical benefits too, such as strengthening your heart and general cardiovascular fitness. Research indicates that walking at least 30 minutes per day, five days a week, can reduce your risk for coronary heart disease by about 19%. Time to get those sneakers out!
It can also be a great way to boost your emotional well-being, something a lot of us came to understand during the Covid-19 pandemic. Our daily walks became our lifeline, and it allowed us to appreciate even more the beauty and wonders of getting outdoors in nature. Nature is incredibly healing and has been shown to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Next time you’re on your walk, listen to the sounds around you. What can you hear? What can you smell? What wildlife can you see? Even just ten minutes outdoors can improve your mood and well-being.
Drink tea instead of coffee
Tea is very good for you; studies have shown that drinking tea regularly can be good for your heart, immune system, and general well-being.
This is because a lot of teas are bursting with healthy antioxidants and compounds which support your general health.
Tea also has less caffeine than coffee, meaning it can be better for your nervous system and mental health. Next time you’re craving that coffee, try a tea instead, such as B.W Cooper’s Iced Tea. Even a small change like that can have a positive effect on your day.
Smoking causes tremendous damage to every organ in your body, making you highly suspectable to cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Smoking even harms those around you, through second-hand exposure. So you’re not only harming yourself, you’re harming those around you, including loved ones. It’s never too late to stop, even if you just begin by reducing. Check out your local services for extra support on stopping smoking.
Water is the elixir of life. Not only is around 71% of the Earth’s surface covered by water, but our bodies are made up of a lot of it too – around 60%! Water is essential for organs such as the kidneys to keep us alive; all cells and organs in the body need water to function. For example, drinking water delivers oxygen throughout the body. This is because blood is made up of 90% water, and blood carries oxygen to various parts of the body.
Dehydration can wreak havoc on your body. It can trigger headaches, reduce your energy levels, decrease brain performance and lower your mood. Drinking enough water is one of the most important and caring acts you can do for your body, along with getting plenty of sleep. Getting a reusable water bottle can help with this.
Get enough sleep
Most people need about 7-8 hours of sleep a night. If you’re getting this, great job! If not, there are steps you can take to work towards better sleep hygiene, such as following a bedtime routine, putting technology down an hour before bed, relaxing before sleep through a hot bath or shower, some gentle stretching, or reading a good book in bed.
We live in a fast-paced digital world. It can be very easy to burn out, become overly stressed, and feel overwhelmed. Often, we only realize that this has happened when it’s too late; we need time off work because we are run down, or our health has taken a big hit from chronic stress and exhaustion.
One way to combat burnout is finding the time to meditate. Similar to yoga, meditating can reduce anxiety and levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body. Meditation can feel scary and unfamiliar, but even taking one minute of your day to just take some deep breaths can ground you and make a positive difference to your mental health. Apps such as Headspace and Calm offer guidance and tips for starting your meditation journey, and you can choose to just do 5-10 minutes each day.