This last year has been extraordinary. Filled with lockdowns, home-schooling, health and financial insecurity, it has shown us how easy it can be to slip into perpetuating poor health. Amongst many other things, this means we will need to work harder as we come out of lockdown.
However, our lifestyle choices contribute to around 70 per cent of long-term illnesses. This is a truly significant amount of illness that is preventable and can make a difference to the burden on the NHS.
I firmly believe that helping you understand and make the best lifestyle choices for you will help you live the best and healthiest life possible. Your body is amazing and has all the mechanisms and pathways in place to be well. Your lifestyle IS the medicine that you can access instantly and puts you instantly back in control of your health.
However it’s not always easy. It’s not about suddenly switching something on and you are ‘healthy’. It’s about small repeated behaviours. It’s more about making an effort to try and go to bed an hour early on Monday evenings for example. deciding to run up the steps 2 at a time each time when you would normally walk up them.
You see, we know statistically that it takes small repeated behaviours to make a change. Some studies say it takes 16 weeks for this to imbed and rewire our brain.
Here are our top tips:
- Keep a glass of water by your bedside so you wake up and get closer to your 2L daily water intake and crucial for metabolism helping weight loss.
- Bring activity into everyday by associating it with pleasurable or easy, daily things. Like doing 10 squats whilst brushing your teeth or table top press-ups whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.
- Try using ‘pacing’ – a technique used to help manage chronic pain and anxiety symptoms, as well as by top athletes to peak performance. More apparent as we return to fast paced living. It’s about absolutely prioritising just 1 activity a day based on your energy levels, planning activities and also not overloading your ‘to do’ list. This helps to break the boom-bust cycle that we tend to engage in.
- Try setting some time aside to look after yourself. Even 10 mins is enough – a luxurious hand cream that you can use to give yourself a lovely home hand massage or a bath with sleep enhancing Epsom salts.
- Joining a virtual community group that reflects one of your lost interests like singing or a book club. The sense of belonging and losing yourself in something fun is hugely serotonin and endorphin releasing which are the same hormones released when you get a hug!
So join us at Human Health – what is your #1change? Let us know your health changes in our Instagram page @humanhealth.drmayoni
This article first appeared in the April issue SE22 magazine.