Do you feel like the best version of yourself right now? Did you claim the domestic health insurance you always needed? Or are you staring at your screen, eyes itching, body slumped and mind weary? Here are ten simple things you can do right now to feel instantly better.
#1: Chug some water
Dehydration can cause headaches, dry eyes and all manner of other ailments. Fizzy drinks aren’t the best way to stay hydrated, and the caffeine in tea and coffee can dehydrate you because it has a diuretic effect. You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Make sure you always have a bottle on your desk at work and sip it throughout the day to stay energised and alert.
#2: Get up and stretch
Engage your muscles to strengthen them and keep your joints supple. An easy stretch to release tension in your muscles is to bend down and make your body into a tight ball, hold for five seconds, then slowly straighten your legs and reach your hands high into the sky. Next, keeping your feet firmly planted on the floor, rotate your torso from side to side. Finish by shaking your legs. Instant energiser!
#3: Stroke a pet
Studies have shown that petting a furry friend can reduce cortisol levels – and most of us could do with that! Pets are natural mood enhancers, and even watching a fish swim around a tank can alleviate stress. Owning a pet has also been linked to lowering the risk of stroke, heart attack and depression.
#4: Deep breathing
Most of us don’t breathe properly. Yes, really – that thing you’ve been doing from birth, 25,920 times a day? You might not be very good at it. Increasing your awareness of your breathing can have a positive effect on your health. The big issue is that we breathe too shallowly. Breathe in slowly through your nose and let the air fill your diaphragm. Your stomach should inflate, not your chest. Hold for three seconds, then slowly release your breath through your mouth for the count of six. Repeat and enjoy the feeling of Zen.
#5: Get outside
Step away from your laptop! Fresh air will do wonders for your health, whatever the weather. A brisk walk or ten minutes of sitting on a park bench can benefit your well-being and sharpen your concentration. Even pottering in the garden can alleviate mental and physical fatigue because nature acts as a restorative environment and reduces stress and inflammation.
Keep your metabolism ticking over with a nourishing snack. Choose fresh fruit or vegetables for a clean dose of nutrients and energy. Greens like spinach and kale are potent vitamin providers, and a serving a day will keep infections at bay. Add them to meals or whizz them up in a smoothie with fruit to get your hit!
Do you ever schedule time into your day to clear your head? We’re all in competition to be the busiest person on the planet, and most of us have a million thoughts a minute. Unwind with this simple relaxation technique: Close your eyes and get comfortable. Concentrate on your breathing and allow this to take up your thoughts. If worries or mundane thoughts come into your consciousness, simply tell yourself, “I’ll deal with this later”, and return to your breathing. Next, start to tense and relax each body part, starting at your toes and working up to your neck.
The modern addiction to computer screens, TV screens and phones is hurting our eyesight. You should exercise your eyes just like any other muscle in your body. To reduce the strain on your eyes from the glow of the screen, look away from your computer to an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Do this every twenty minutes to give your eyes a rest. For a quick refresh, close your eyes and roll them in a figure of eight.
Go and floss your teeth right now! Brushing only does so much, and flossing removes pieces of food trapped between your teeth to give you healthier gums and nashers. You will need to use about 18 inches of dental floss, and make sure you don’t forget the back of your mouth!
Or try your hand at Sudoku, mull over a tricky riddle or refresh your mind with arithmetic. Mental gymnastics engage parts of your brain you may not regularly use and improve your brain’s functions by strengthening connections between different parts of the brain.