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Wellbeing 101

There's too much health advice out there. This week we are going to talk about THE FUNDAMENTALS for mental and emotional wellbeing:

  • Sleep

  • Exercise

  • Connection

  • Nutrition

Sleep:

You need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Even if you think you don't. Almost no aspect of health is more important than sleep. Sleep actually cleans the clutter from your brain, stores all the memories and learning you've collected during the day, improves mood, energy, and brain function, and keeps you young.

Our top sleep tips:

1. Get up at the same time everyday. Yes, even weekends. This avoids the Monday effect of “social jet-lag” that is so common.

2. Going to bed at the same time every night is good but just as important is Go to bed when you're tired.

3. Don't stay in bed trying to sleep for more than 15 minutes. This becomes upsetting and counter-productive. Get up, leave the room and do something low-stimulation. Reading (a book) or watching something relaxing on TV is good for this.

4. Occupy your busy mind while getting to sleep. Anything that requires just enough attention that you can't over-think, but not so much that it is stimulating. I use visualizations - imagining myself flying over a vast and empty ocean.

5. If you find yourself worrying about tomorrow - it helps to write down a list of things you need to do. Get it out of your head and onto the paper.

6. Cultivate a sleep routine. Something like: Phone to silent->Shower->Hot drink (without caffeine)->read for 30 minutes->Bed. Sleep becomes a conditioned response to this ritual.

7. Get enough sleep for a week and check in on how you feel. You're likely to be amazed.


Exercise:

Our bodies were designed to be on the move. They get very unhappy when they’re still for too long. Exercise prevents depression and when you’re feeling sluggish exercise gives you more energy.

Regular movement is crucial for psychological as well as physical health. The latest research suggests that exercise is many more times effective than medication for depression. Let’s come out of this healthier than we went in. Get up, walk around, go outside, stretch. Try to get out of breath for 20–30 minutes every day.

Everyone is different so do what works for you: high intensity workouts, yoga, running. Try different things and observe how they make you feel:

Connection:

We can’t overstate how related connection is to wellbeing and happiness. Connection actually prevents depression and makes you live longer. From an evolutionary point of view the very purpose of happiness may be to promote connection between people.

The type of connection we are used to may not be available during this time so we’ll have to use our imagination.

  • Make contact with someone who makes you feel good at least once a day. In person is best but even a phone call is good.

  • Use technology to have small parties - we’re using Whatsapp, Zoom, and House Party.

  • When you’re out for your daily walk wave to people (while keeping your distance obv).

  • If you feel nervous in social situations PRETEND you are outgoing and extroverted for a week. Research tells us that people are happier and more connected after doing this. Fake it til you make it.

Nutrition:

You might not think of food as important to your emotional wellbeing but good nutrition prevents disease and improves mental health!

There's a lot of confusing information out there so let’s keep our NUTRITION TIPS very simple:

  • Sugar and processed (or fried) foods are BAD for your brain

  • Plant-based foods (nuts, olive oil, veg) and oily fish (or omega-3 supplements) are GOOD for the brain

Here are some easy, cheap, and healthy cooking tips: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/cooking/a31945358/cooking-at-home-during-coronavirus-quarantine/

You can still treat yourself occasionally though Obviously!

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