This is for all the people who, like me, sometimes struggle to stay a positive path. The world around us seems to be coping just fine, I mean if you take one look at Instagram, YouTube or TikTok it’s full of happy, well put together people showing off their ‘perfect’ routines/lives. That’s not reality and sometimes it’s hard to remember that. But that doesn’t mean we can’t become the happiest versions of ourselves.
If you are stuck on ways to improve your physical and mental happiness look no further because I’ve done all the boring research for you! Read on to learn 8 things to add to your daily routine for a happier, healthier you.
Sleep is an all-important part of our everyday lives. We need it to function and essentially to survive, so why do we insist on getting as little as possible? I am a big culprit of this, after all the chaos of the day I find myself staying up way later than I should just to have some quiet time. I normally end up regretting this in the morning but never learn.
Setting up a bedtime routine and sticking to it each night will help make sure you get the sufficient amount of sleep needed to be productive without burning out every day, this will in turn lift your mood and your body should feel more rested for it too.
Try removing distractions from the bedroom such as TVs, tablets and other electronics. Winding down by turning off your phone and picking up a good book instead, or even playing some soft music in the background to help you relax. A nice warm shower followed by a warm drink as you wind down has also proven an effective way to prepare the body for sleep.
2: EATING WELL:
Just as important as sleep; eating the right amount of meals is key to your wellbeing. Most of us tend to skip at least one of our meals a day, replacing it with a ‘snack and coffee’ instead. This isn’t good as our bodies need regular fuelling to keep our energy levels up. As busy as our lives get, we need to find moments to fit in a quick meal to give our body the nourishment it deserves.
A way around this is meal prepping; something that has become extremely popular over the last few years. Schedule out a time of the week to prep a set of meals the coming week (people tend to do this of a weekend) then you won’t have to worry about finding time to make meals during the week. A simple and efficient way to ensure you keep up with the recommended meal amounts (3 meals a day plus snacks).
As well as the amount of meals we eat, the foods we consume are just as important. If we aren’t putting the right foods into our bodies, it can have a bad effect on our productivity and our physical wellbeing. Of courses there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to a takeaway or sweet treat, but when this becomes consistent it starts to have a negative effect (weight gain, sluggish feeling, heart problems etc..) on our bodies. Most of the time people choose these options because they’re accessible. So how can we change this?
Again, it’s all about balance, you can keep this in mind while meal-prepping. By choosing meals with more nutritional value, you’re ensuring your body gets a good balance of all things needed to perform correctly. There are tons of websites out there with 1000s of healthy (and tasty) recipes to try out.
Try to avoid following these fad diets you see all over social media as they can do more damage than good. Like I said, balance is key and we need a little of each food group for our bodies to be the best they can be. If you are someone who really struggles with eating the right foods or eating in general, maybe look into seeing a dietician who will be able to help you find what’s best for you.
3: Working out:
The last component to make up the Big Three. Exercise is without a doubt one of the most important factors of living a healthier and happier lifestyle. It has been known that working out for a minimum of 15 minutes a day can improve your mental health by a lot. It also helps your body stay fit too. We have all seen those ‘Gym Rats’ as they call themselves, in the gym for hours on end. But this isn’t something you need to do for working out to be effective. Anywhere from 15 minutes or more and you’re good to go.
Working out can seem tedious, one thing I’ve learnt while on my health journey is to find what I enjoy doing. For years I would start working out on and off but never stuck to it because I wasn’t enjoying it. I was following videos of others and their routines, but it wasn’t working for me. I then decided this year to try again with a different approach, I cut out the parts I didn’t like (high intensity cardio and jogging) and just focused on what I found effective (low cardio, weight training), now going to the gym is one of my favourite parts of the day.
Now going to the gym isn’t as important as everyone makes it out to be, if this isn’t something you feel comfortable doing or simply just don’t have time, there are plenty of other ways to get your body moving. There are workouts that have been modified to use at home, ranging from 10 minutes up to an hour. Even things like running, hiking, swimming and Yoga will get your body moving, leading you to feel more energised and hopefully happier.
4: Prioritising Time:
With how busy our world is today it’s hard to find time for everything. With just 24 hours in a day, we are supposed to work, eat well, exercise, have a social life, clean, cook, keep up hygiene, and sleep. HOW?
One thing I discovered useful was buying a planner: I started writing out my weeks ahead, starting with things I already have planned and then moving onto things I wanted to get done (in order of priority) I make sure to look at this every night before bed to prepare what’s needed for the day ahead, saving my time in the mornings.
I also have learnt not to stress out if everything doesn’t get done on the day I intended.
By doing this, I save myself a lot of time and energy, making me more organised and calm each day.
5: Balanced social life:
As mentioned before with how busy our lives get it’s hard to find downtime. And when we do we find ourselves struggling between seeing friends/family and having some ‘me time’. One thing I have to say about this: It’s okay to say no. If you aren’t feeling up to being social then it’s okay to stay at home and ignore those messages, just as long as you don’t shut everyone out for too long because this can also have a negative effect on your wellbeing. Again, it’s all about balance.
6: Put yourself first:
It’s easier said than done. When loved ones or work come to you for extra help, it’s hard to say no. I mean you don’t want to disappoint. But there comes a point where you start to lose focus of your own goals by helping everyone else around you. This is also something I learnt during the pandemic, I realised I was spending so much time trying to please everyone around me that I wasn’t pleasing myself. As mentioned before, it’s completely fine to say no, especially when your own goals are thrown to the side. It’s important to do what you want for yourself because at the end of the day, everyone else is achieving their dreams because of you and then you’re left in the dust. How fair is that?
7: Breathing and meditation:
Sometimes the world feels like it’s going to cave in. Everything gets a little darker and it’s hard to deal with. If this sounds familiar to you then breathing exercises and even meditation may help. It may seem silly at first, but it is something that really helps centre your thoughts again. If you want to know where to start, there are plenty of apps and YouTube videos showing you the basics and different techniques you can use. Try spending 5 minutes at the beginning and end of your day in a quiet room, gaining control of your breathing and opening up your mind. This can help have a much more relaxing mindset and can be put into practice anywhere if you feel you need to use it.
8: Finding a hobby:
Having an activity you can turn to simply because you enjoy it is very important!
It helps your brain shut off the stress of the day and release all those important positive thoughts. Everyone has something they enjoy whether it be: reading, a sport, playing an instrument, cooking/baking etc. so just find something you love doing and carve out some time each day to practise this. You’ll feel much better afterwards.
So, I hope I’ve helped you find some things you can add to your daily routine to find your happiest, healthiest you.
Lauren is a content writer that is creating her own book and aspires to become a published author. While writing content, she also spends her time performing as an actress for different projects presented to her.