We all strive to be successful in the various aspects of our lives—career, relationships and family responsibilities. A large portion of our time is spent working hard towards our professional and personal goals; we burn the midnight oil to reach our deadlines and put effort into carving out time to catch up with friends and relatives. But if we are not careful, all of this can take its toll on our mental and physical wellbeing. Since we expect so much from our bodies and minds, we need to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves in a way that will enable us to continue doing the things we want to do.

As our responsibilities pile up, burnout becomes an inevitable risk. According to an article of Psychology Today, burnout is characterised by chronic fatigue, cognitive impairment, insomnia and physical symptoms such as headaches, shortness of breath and dizziness. Burnout is an unpleasant state that can lead to depression and anxiety, which will have an adverse effect on your functionality.

Self-care is about so much more than spa days and retail therapy; it is about being mindful of your daily practices—are you getting enough rest? Are you eating well? Do you make time for exercise? Yes, these are all things that we have all heard about but are you taking your wellbeing seriously? You need to be intentional about your health and wellness, not only this year but for the rest of your life. And we are here to remind you of the ways in which you can adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle so that you can be the best in all that you are pursuing.

 

Health and Wellness Practices To Adopt

 

Maintain good sleep hygiene

We all know that the recommended hours of sleep are 6 to 8 hours. We are aware of the importance of quality sleep yet we don’t prioritise it. What is important here is to maintain a regular sleep cycle and make sure that your sleep is restorative; this means that you need to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. If you sleep 8 hours and still feel tired, you need to figure out why and do something about it. Sleep hygiene entails having a set of practices that help you get quality sleep. It is about what you do an hour before bedtime. Good sleep hygiene involves putting your phone down when you are in bed; listening to soothing sounds and making sure that the lights are dim. Don’t have caffeine before bedtime; rather have a cup of chamomile tea.

Did you know that South Africa has an alarming problem with sleep? If you think you may have a sleep disorder, contact your GP.

 

Embrace a healthy diet

Be intentional about what you put into your body and have an actual meal plan. If you can, a great first step would be to see a nutritionist and have a candid conversation about the types of foods you should be eating. You should aim to make healthy eating a lifestyle, not just a means of losing weight. NBC News identified the following diet trends that might help you put together a diet plan that will last you a long time:

  • Digestive health: this means being good to your gut; consume foods that are rich in fibre, foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and consider taking probiotics.
  • Mushrooms: It has been found that mushrooms contain “adaptogens, natural substances that help your body respond to various stressors. Some studies suggest that adaptogens can help boost your energy, immunity and ability to concentrate.”  

The above are just two examples of what you can incorporate into your diet. Energy-rich foods are also very important because they give you the fuel that you need; so, apples, bananas, fatty fish, sweet potatoes and anything that has vitamin B. Water is also very important, do not forget to keep hydrated—set a reminder, if you must.

 

 

Exercise Regularly

We all know that exercise is good for us but how many of us try to make it a sustainable habit? Instead of taking the lift or escalators, take the stairs. Find every opportunity to walk instead of driving. You don’t have to pay lots of money to be fit. Waking up early for a morning jog is free and results are guaranteed. But if you have the means, consider joining a gym that offers HIIT (high-intensity interval training); this type of workout allows you to alternate between high and low-intensity training, it can be hectic but the results are worth every drop of sweat.

 

See a therapist

As we mentioned in a previous post, there are many benefits to seeing a therapist. It can help you clear your mind and work through stressful situations that are weighing you down, making it hard for you to focus on what you need to get done. Therapy is a safe space for you to make sense of what’s going on in your life.