5 (maybe not so) easy steps to increase your health and wellbeing

The internet is full of well meant advice about how to get healthy, to have great relationships, to find the perfect partner… And they all say it’s easy and simple and all you got to do is this or that. Well, often it’s not as simple as they make it sound.
Changing behaviours or patterns in our every day life often is everything but easy.
So with this list I tried to focus on some important areas of our lives which have quite a big influence on how we feel and how fit and healthy we are. No drastic changes within the next 24 hours are required. Adding little things, step by step, are way more effective than forcing big changes.

1. Food
The first and most important thing to focus on, in order to improve our health and wellbeing is the fuel that we supply the body with: Food (read more about it in my next blog post “Foodism – A new religion?”).

It’s not just what we eat that effects our energy level, but also when, and how we eat.
If we eat just before going to bed, our body will need energy to digest and when we wake up the next morning, we might not feel well rested.
Quickly rushing to eat something between appointments will cause our system to work harder to digest, too, leaving us with less energy than we would have if we took enough time to eat, chew and enjoy.
Also, eating our meals around the same time each day can have a big effect on your energy level and wellbeing. I know this is a hard one, and often we might not be able to do it. That’s fine, don’t get stressed about it, just do your best and it will be possible more often than you think.

2. Physical Activity
Often we feel tired and don’t find the drive to do something. The paradox is that we actually gain energy, once we start moving and after exercising we are usually happy and fully energized.
Start small. Even if it’s just a 10 minute walk around the block today. Tomorrow you might want to take a longer one, the day after you might walk faster… Take small steps and slowly increase them, or sometimes, don’t increase them.
Maybe a friend or a neighbour wants to join you. Then you can motivate each other. If you don’t like jogging (like me), hop on your bike, go inline skating, swimming, slacklining (that’s a really good one, actually!), do yoga either at home or at a studio… There are millions of possibilities, the key is, though, to start small and to do something that’s fun for you!

Overcoming laziness is a training. Train it like a muscle. Start small and with exercises you enjoy.

3. Relaxation
In my last blog post I wrote about the importance of relaxation.
Exercising is good, but not, if we do it too much and don’t give our body breaks to recover.
Sleep is important for the body to rebalance. If we don’t sleep enough, or if the quality of our sleep is poor (troubles falling asleep or waking up at night), our body will have a hard time gaining energy.
If you sleep enough (there is no exact number of hours that you have to sleep, but you might want to consider sleeping from 6 to a maximum of 8 hours) you will feel recovered when waking up.
Also at night time we sleep better and more deeply than we do during the day (when it’s bright and louder outside).

Our mind and soul need to rest as well. Meditation, treatments of any kind, holidays, switching off the phone for a while, enjoying alone-time, or quality time with beloved ones, reading a book, or spending time in nature can do wonders.
Breathing techniques are a really fast and simple way to reduce stress, too. I’ll get into that in a later blog post.

4. Relationships
I am not just referring to romantic love life, but to all people that we spend time with. Most importantly the ones we live with, since we spend a lot of time with them. How do I feel when I am around them?
Of course, this changes, depending on the current situation. But in general you can ask yourself:
Do I feel energized when being around them at least half of the time, or does it feel draining and exhausting?
How about your colleagues at work?
How about your closest friends? And your acquaintances?
Is there something you can do to improve your relationships?
Nothing helps more, than a clear, honest and authentic communication from a point of love and understanding.

5. Work
Yes, this is a big one. I’m not going to tell you, to quit your job if you don’t like it, and to take the risk and start doing what you really like. Many of us have a family to provide for, or are simply not in a situation to change jobs, or to choose another career.
We live in a society with limitations, even if they are just in our minds, but it’s a fact that we have to pay our bills. Some might have managed to break through the limitations and became successful and now they tell us what they did and if we do what they did, then we too, will be successful.
For some it’s easier to take the risk than for others.
Because they also say, to be successful we must be willing to fail. And we will fail. But some cannot afford to fail.

So if we are unhappy with our job, we have more options than to walk away from it.
We can try to change whatever possible so we can enjoy it more. Often, it’s not enough.
Then we can also start to change our mindset about it.
Whatever it is that we don’t like about our job, there are also good things about it. Focus on them.
If it’s your colleagues that you like, connect with them.
If it’s the feeling of security that lets you sleep at night, then be grateful for it.
If it gives you flexibility that you wouldn’t have with another job, embrace it.
If it allows you to live a life according to your standards, enjoy it.

And if none of this is working, remember:

toilet paper