1. Morning natural light: get some natural light in the mornings, this will help you regulate your circadian rhythm, which is your body’s natural internal clock which signals when to be alert and when to rest. Regular exposure to natural light in the mornings will help you to optimise your sleep routine.
2. Balanced Breakfast: Start your day with a breakfast that is rich in both protein and healthy fats. Examples include organic eggs, avocado, salmon, probiotic yogurt, oats, nuts, seeds etc. This will help you feel more satiated and will result in more stable blood glucose levels throughout the day. This will help lift your mood, reduce cravings, and allow you to feel more energised throughout the day.
3. Adequate hydration: Keep a bottle of water (preferably a glass or stainless-steel bottle) with you at all times so you can hydrate throughout the day. Try to hydrate between meals, as opposed to during meals to aid better digestion.
4. Take regular movement breaks: Build physical activity into your day and if you spend lots of time sitting down, be sure to take regular movement breaks throughout the day. Recent research found that taking a 5-minute walking break after every 30 minutes of sitting can improve blood glucose control, regulate blood pressure, and can also improve mood, fatigue and overall well-being. Taking 5-minute breaks may not always be feasible, however; it is encouraged that you take regular movement breaks throughout the day and never underestimate the power of a 5-10-minute walk.
5. Fermented food: Add some fermented foods to your daily nutrition. Fermented foods include kefir (fermented milk), kombucha (fermented tea), sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), kimchi (fermented vegetables with spices), probiotic yogurts (with live and active cultures) and some aged artisanal cheeses like an aged parmesan or cheddar. These fermented foods contain living microbes, called probiotics. Once eaten these microbes can increase the number and diversity of bacteria that make up your gut microbiome and which in turn results in better overall gut health.
6. Plant variety: add a variety of plants to all of your meals/snacks, this includes fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, legumes and whole grains. Plants are packed full of vitamins, minerals, macronutrients, and fibre which not only help you to meet your nutritional needs but are also essential for optimal gut health. Some recent scientific literature suggests we should aim for a minimum of 30 varieties of plants per week for optimal gut health. So, the next time you are planning or making a meal/snack, ask yourself - “what plants can I add in here?”
7. After you eat, move: Move your body for 5-10 mins after you eat. Your body uses up glucose from the food you have eaten and so moving after you eat will help to improve your blood sugar balance. This in turn will help to reduce cravings, reduce inflammation, and improve your overall health.
8. Spend time in nature: regularly spending time in nature is associated with many health benefits including improved blood pressure, improved mood, reduced stress, anxiety, and depression, improved immune function and better overall health and well-being. Interestingly, some research suggests even as little as 10 minutes spent in nature, can lead to health benefits.
9. Deep Breathing: In today’s busy, modern world, many of us spend too much time in ‘fight or flight’ mode. If this sounds like you, then it is very likely that your default breathing pattern is to take short, shallow breaths. Next time you feel anxious or tense, notice how you are breathing. To help your body move away from ‘fight or flight’ mode and activate your parasympathetic nervous (or rest and digest system), try to breathe deeply, breathing in through the nose, holding the inward breath, and breathing out slowly and repeat a few times. You might find the following breathing patterns helpful:
box breathing: after an outward breath, breathe in for a count of 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, hold for 4 and repeat
4,7,8 breathing: breathe in for 4, hold for 7, breathe out for 8 and repeat
alternate nostril breathing:
- use your thumb to close the right-hand nostril and inhale slowly through only your left nostril.
- pinch your nose closed by bringing your ring finger to your left nostril. ---- - temporarily hold your breath.
- open up your right nostril by removing your thumb and exhale.
- hold for a moment before inhaling again through the right nostril.
- pinch your nose closed again and hold your breath for a moment.
- now open up the left nostril and exhale. Again, wait a moment before you inhale. Repeat several times.
10. Practice Gratitude: positive psychology research shows that regularly thinking about or writing down the things that you are grateful for in your life, is associated with greater happiness. A regular gratitude practice can help you feel more positive emotions, deal with challenges, reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression, helps you build stronger relationships, improve your self-esteem and overall health. If you are interested in having a gratitude practice, why not try starting your day by writing down three things that you are grateful for today.
Ask yourself which of these habits could you easily add in to your current daily habits?