Flourish With Fran July 22: Small Daily Changes

How small changes every day can make a big difference to your health

Get out to improve your health.

It is easy to get stuck in your routine and habits that make up your day-to-day life and for the cycle of life to fly by.

Practising Mindfulness and staying present in the moment supports us in experience life. There are many beautiful moments that exist throughout our daily routines. From making the first cup of coffee, to enjoying the sunshine on our skin, forming connections with colleagues, and appreciating the colours of the flowers in our local parks.

As days have started to get longer with more daylight, like many of us, I have adjusted usual routines. Since learning more about how beneficial it is for us to view natural daylight throughout our day, particularly in the mornings, when I can, I have tried to enjoy a cup of tea in the morning sat outside whilst listening to the birds. Sometimes, I only have time to open my blinds and look out the window for a bit whilst I wake up, but evidence shows that viewing daylight first thing in the morning, supports our natural circadian rhythm (natural processes that follow a 24-hour cycle), improves focus and mood, and is tied to overall good night’s sleep.

Another habit I have consciously tried to implement is daily movement.  I’ve started having a walk in the morning around my local area for a 10–15-minute wander, or on my days where I work from home, I’ll try to have a stretch by following a yoga-video. This doesn’t happen every day, but I do notice how more alert and ready to face the day I feel after some movement. If you aren’t able to squeeze in a walk before work, then some other ways to break up time sitting down include using a standing desk where possible, going to a further away toilet or cafeteria area when you make a cup of coffee or incorporating a 5 minute loop around the office building helps break up sedentary time (time sat down) and supports you in having a break from the screens!

Of course, our diet plays a huge role in our overall health. We all know that eating healthy is very important for our physical and mental wellbeing. There are a few tips and tricks that can support us in healthy eating. This could include writing down a shopping list based on meal ideas that you would like to try before you go to the supermarket and sticking with it. When you have your food shopping, you could cook meals in bulk e.g 2-3 additional portions, allowing you to have access to healthy grab and go meals. Preparing healthy snack options in advance is another way to ensure you can eat a varied diet, a favourite for myself is chopped apple and peanut butter!

Finding ways to connect with others can help us feel more confident and happier in ourselves. Chronic loneliness is as bad for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day! The past two years has shown us how devastating loneliness is on human health and happiness and that loneliness increases all-cause mortality (the death rate by all causes of death in a population) by a huge 50! Through finding small moments in your day to connect with yourself, with your community and with nature, can help you support your own health and wellbeing.

Francesca Vuolo is a registered associate nutritionist with a BSc (Hons) Nutrition and MSc in Nutrition and Behaviour. Her interests range from nutritional psychiatry, physical activity, nature, public health, and farming, which complement her work. You can find out more on Instagram @flourishwithfran.

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