It’s not an exaggeration to say that we are living in stressful times. With testing deadlines, work demands, fellow students and teachers competing for grades, family problems and changes in social norms, the list of stressors is endless.
There’s no reason why you can’t take some steps towards bettering your health right now. If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety , try reducing your stress levels by making healthy lifestyle choices. Here’s a list of things you can do to improve your wellbeing.
Eat healthy food
It is important for your brain and body to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet. Avoid eating unhealthy foods that are rich in sugars and saturated fats. When you eat healthy food, it nourishes the brain and gives you improved concentration. It also helps you sleep better at night which is essential for good memory and focus.
It’s good if you eat whole foods instead of processed foods. Aim to create a balance in your diet where you get the right amount of carbohydrates, fats and proteins every day.
Have an activity that involves physical movement like Yoga, Tai Chi, running, stretching. This makes it easier for you manage stress because of the feeling of accomplishment when you complete your daily goals.
Physical activity is proven to combat depression and anxiety by increasing the release of endorphins in the brain that makes you feel good. This lets you feel positive and happy throughout the day. It also helps improve your sleeping patterns which will help you focus better on the next day’s work load.
If you have the time and can afford to go to a gym, there are many exercise classes available such as body workouts, boxing, mixed martial arts etc.
If going to gym isn’t for you, many types of workouts/exercises can be done at home on a simple fitness mat. (I personally throw my fitness mat in the living room or the garage and just sweat out for about 45 minutes to keep my body in shape).
Meditation is an excellent way to reduce stress and relax. It’s also proven to increase focus, decision-making and concentration. Start by spending three minutes a day doing meditation exercises while feeling the warmth in your body, especially in the feet.
As you progress, you can increase this time to 20 minutes a day or even 30 minutes if it suits your schedule. The experience of deep breathing helps calm your mind and make you feel more mindful of your thoughts which improves performance in work and learning.
Get enough sleep
One of the most important ways to improve your wellbeing is by getting enough sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, you may experience decreased energy levels, increased irritability, and more feelings of anxiety and depression. It also takes a toll on your physical appearance.
When you’re forced to stay up for long hours, it causes the body to produce many stress hormones which can lead to permanent damage in the brain and body. Set an alarm that encourages you to go to bed at a specific time every night. You should make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep every night so that the next day, you’ll feel fresh and energized.
Socialize and have fun
Make sure that you have fun in your life. Go out with your friends, visit a place you like, or watch a movie. The presence of friends and family is essential for the social part of our brain. It releases endorphins when we spend time with people we care about. This helps improve our mood and motivation level which makes us feel more optimistic about ourselves and the world around us.
Stay away from smoking and alcohol
Smoking and drinking can cause serious health problems, including heart disease, dementia and various forms of cancers. The chemicals in tobacco and alcohol can affect the brain and other essential organs of our bodies, making it less able to process sensory information and making us feel depressed.
Getting rid of these bad habits will undoubtedly improve your health and wellbeing.
Learn to live in the present
Accepting what is in front of you in the present moment as it is, will help you improve your stress, depression, anxiety and anger issues. When you’re fully focused on the current situation or task instead of stressing about the past or future, you’re not as likely to make irrational choices.
If a person is able to live in the present moment without having mood swings or judging anything (be it himself or others), he will enjoy happiness and peace of mind. The present moment is all that we can be certain of, and everything that we have. No amount of worrying/planning will change the past or guarantee certain things in the future.
Expose your body to sunlight (moderated)
The Sun plays an important role in our health and wellbeing. It helps our body produce Vitamin D which is essential for our body to function properly.
Sunlight triggers the release of the serotonin hormone in your brain – a natural mood booster that increases your happiness level, helping you feel calmer and more focused at the same time.
Being in the sun even for a short period of time (around 15 minutes) every day can improve mood, boost energy levels and enhance the immune system. Your sleep will also be improved by moderate exposure to Sun.
Look at the big picture when things aren’t going quite well
Keep in mind that bad days are inevitable. When things aren’t going as you wanted in a specific day or week, count each of your little success as steps towards achieving your bigger goals. If you focus on the bigger process rather than the small details and instant results, you will be able to handle stress and anxiety better.
You will also be able to make better decisions when you’re feeling balanced and calm. Remember, it’s okay to take days off when you need to. Next week, you’ll come back more energized and more focused.
Doing the above things will greatly improve your wellbeing. If you struggle with a difficult time in your life, the key is to remember that no bad situation last forever, and, the current situation, if bad, is not defining who you are. You can always get up, get better and stronger and reach the things you wish for in your life. Remember that.
Regardless of how small the steps are towards improving your wellbeing, they will all add up in the future as long as you continue on this self-improvement path and make it a habit.