4 More Healthy Habits (That Aren't Food Related)

A couple of weeks ago I talked about a new year providing extra motivation to achieve health related goals, and looked at some fairly simple habits that you could work on incorporating into your day, and that over time would lead to positive health outcomes, and would likely help you have more energy, and generally feel better. Read here if you missed it.

This week I'm keeping with the 'healthy habit' theme, but steering away from food, because being healthy is so much more than what we do or do not eat. It's about our emotional health, our mental health, and our social health too. I saw an instagram post a while ago that said something along the lines of 'you can eat all of the (insert health food item here) but if you're stressing out about eating a burger, that's not healthy.' And it's totally true. What you eat is not the only aspect, it's how we are eating that is so important too. Do you eat with enjoyment, or anxiety, fear and guilt? How we eat and the thoughts that go on before, during and after we eat definitely have an affect on our physical health, we know this. Studies have shown that our bodies react differently depending on our thoughts about what we are eating. But our thoughts around food also have an affect on our emotional health, as it affects how we feel, and our social health, because eating plays a massive role in socialising, and it's hard to have any sort of a relationship when there's anxiety or negative feelings around certain food. And i'm sure anyone who's had a less than fantastic relationship with food can attest to this, it's not just the food and eating that suffers, everything suffers! I've gone on a small tangent, but what I'm getting at is that all of these areas, our physical health, emotional health, mental and social health are interlinked. And it is hard to make improvements in any of these areas, say improving physical health, when the other areas are suffering. For example, it's hard to eat well and exercise if we're not sleeping well.

Our health is also not static, it's something that we need to continue working on. We need to continue to give our body good food, rest, movement, laughter, social interactions, and the list goes on, so it can continue to feel good and function well. There are always improvements we can make, it's just about finding what is achievable for you in your current lifestyle, and going from there. 

So in today's post I thought i'd look at a few areas that could use some improving in my life, and who knows they might benefit you too! 

1. Take a proper lunch break. This is a seemingly easy one, but it's one that I still need to work one. Often i'll find myself on a roll with what i'm working on and so I eat at my desk, or while still working on the task i'm doing. Not only does this mean I rush my meal, and don't enjoy and appreciate the food as much as I could, but I'm also not giving myself a break to help me re-energise. This year I am aiming to take a break everyday, to stop and enjoy my lunch, preferably outside.    

2. Switch off your phone after 8. Or at least stop mindlessly scrolling social media after this time. I have done this before for a couple of months, but the bad habit has snuck back into my life so I'm trying again to stop scrolling social media after 8pm, and you should too! Late night phone use is not ideal for healthy sleeping patterns, and there's a lot better ways to be spending this time. Read a book, watch a movie, learn to knit or crochet, relax with loved ones, the list goes on.  

3. Schedule downtime/ take a break. Another thing that I didn't do very well last year was to take a proper break completely away from work and uni commitments. I went from work, to full-time uni and work, to full-time placement and work on weekends, back to uni and work, then finally work. I'm exhausted just typing that! This really isn't a good habit to get in to, because you never fully feel rested and re-energised for the next thing you need to work on. For me this means I am going on a placement from next week, and am already feeling tired, which is not ideal. This year I am aiming to take at least two weeks off from all work and uni commitments (1 week is already planned, go me!).   

4. 30 mins of early morning exercise. Don't get me wrong, anytime you can fit exercise in is a good time to do it. But for me, I know I feel a lot better and am more energised and motivated if I go for a 30 minute walk or swim before I start my day. Too many times I have put this off because I was "too busy", but interestingly these are the days that I need it the most! This year I am making more of an effort to get up early and do some exercise before I get on with the rest of my day, I am going to start with three mornings per week and take it from there.

Do you have any healthy habits that you are working on incorporating into your routine? I'd love to know in the comments section below.

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