Moving Toward Wellness with Purpose
Guest Blogger: Misia Temler, PhD
Moving Toward Wellness with Purpose
Wellness is about adopting healthy habits and lifestyle so you can be the best version of yourself. You may have heard that the journey toward wellness starts with an intention, but often life can feel overwhelming and you may feel too busy to achieve your intentions. However with a bit of planning and knowledge you can start moving toward a healthier lifestyle to improve your mental and physical health. Focusing on the below components can help you move forward with purpose so you can reach your optimal wellness.
Go to Bed and Get Up at Similar Times Every Day
Going to bed and getting up at similar times every day can help structure your day and get you into a healthy wellness routine. Being consistent in your sleep patterns also improves your body’s circadian rhythm so you can sleep better. Sleep serves a restorative purpose for your body and mind and getting enough sleep is thus essential for your general health. Being well rested improves your mood, energy and overall wellbeing. You can maintain a regular bedtime routine by following relaxing bedtime rituals. These include – reading before bed, avoiding bright blue light screens at night, and staying away from chemical substances that interfere with sleep, such as evening caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. Even if you get a bad night’s sleep try to maintain the next day’s schedule and activities and allow your body a bit of time to adjust to the new rhythm.
Eat a Healthy Balanced Diet
Eating a healthy balanced diet can strengthen your immunity, optimize your body performance, increase your cognition and improve your mood increasing your overall wellness. A Mediterranean-style diet has been found to be most beneficial for overall mental and physical health for just about everyone. Eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and proteins can fuel your body and help it to function properly. Try to limit high processed products and foods that contain substances that may increase your stress levels. When under stress and pressure, reaching for energy drinks, extra coffee, or sugary snacks may provide a quick fix for focus and energy, but this can have the counter effect of leaving you feeling irritable, moody, and lethargic in the long run. Though sticking to a healthy diet is important, obsessing over food is unhealthy. Everyone enjoys the occasional indulgence that may not always align with healthy eating, but the key is flexibility and to bear in mind ‘everything in moderation.’
Get Regular Exercise
Regular exercise is important for your health wellbeing. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most days. You can also build up the total in 10 to 15 minute intervals. Take the dog for a walk, go for a jog, dance to your favourite music, or choose any other physical activity you enjoy. Other tips to increase your activity – Take the stairs instead of the lift, or park further away to finish the last segment of your trip by foot. You may feel that you are too busy and too tired to exercise, but exercise can help you relax. This is because working your body provides a release for built up muscle tension. Exercise dissipates high levels of adrenaline and releases endorphins. Consequently, exercise can clear your mind, lift your mood, and help you sleep at night so you can more efficiently use your time. Regular exercise can also lower blood pressure and improve your immunity. Ideally, you should aim to combine elements of stamina, strength, and flexibility.
Set to Accomplish Tasks Every Day
Feeling a sense of accomplishment is an important factor in developing and maintaining wellbeing. Set to complete tasks every day. We are goal orientated beings. When we work towards a goal and accomplish a task it makes us feel good. Break down goals into manageable achievable tasks. These might consist of making your bed, or starting that new work project. Try not to wait until you “feel like it,” Frequently, motivation, and focus surface only after you have begun. The key is to start small so you can build consistency over time.
Make Time for Pleasant Activities
Balance is essential to wellness. The fast paced nature of our society can lead to enormous pressure of being perpetually on the go. You can attain balance by scheduling and making time for pleasant activities that that you enjoy and that help you relax. Develop or broaden your leisure activities and hobbies, for example, sailing, biking, gardening, hiking, or sewing. Incorporate peaceful pleasant activities that help slow you down, such reading a book, listening to music, doing a puzzle, painting, meditating, or taking a leisurely hot bath.
Train Your Mind to Work Better
Mindfulness has been associated with health benefits for both the body and mind. Mindfulness is a present-centered process of observing your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations as they come and go, without judgment, and with a sense of curiosity, detachment, and acceptance. Rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, mindfulness can brings you back to the present. Developing mindfulness skills can help you stay calm and rational, so you can choose how you want to respond rather than automatically and impulsively reacting to situations. There are a number of free audio and video resources online that can help you get started. You can also incorporate mindfulness in everyday life by choosing a routine activity (e.g., eating, walking, brushing teeth, washing dishes, etc.) and practicing moment-to-moment awareness to the task.
Connect with Others
Social interaction promotes a sense of belonging, safety, and security. It can also increase your happiness. As social beings we thrive in social relationships. Social activities and healthy interpersonal relationships have demonstrated to be incredibly beneficial. Connecting with others improves social, emotional and physical health. Ask a friend to join you for a walk or hike. Telephone a relative. Join a group or club that shares similar interests or hobbies. Volunteer for a local charity. Volunteering offers a great opportunity in meeting and connecting with people as well as in giving back to the community thus instilling a sense of wellbeing and purpose.
Wellness is multidimensional and involves making active choices and maintaining ongoing commitment so you can reach your full potential. It is important to remember however that change is a gradual process. Adopting a new lifestyle takes time and practice before it becomes habitual. Setbacks are a normal part of progress. Use setbacks as learning and monitoring opportunities to reflect on what works for you. Wellness is a holistic approach that involves working on a number of different areas so your life is balanced and coherent. Each one of us has different needs, goals, likes and dislikes. Revising and personalising the above components to your individual style and preferences will increase your success in sticking to your planned intentions and maintaining new healthy habits that lead to your optimal wellness.
Thank you, Dr. Misia Temler, from Kristine Sperling and the Makes 3 Organics Wellness Team!