10 Tips to Boost Daily Wellness
Schneck Medical Center - September 20, 2020

Holistic Wellness

It seems like everyone is busy these days, doesn't it? Sometimes the pace of modern life can distract us from taking proper care of ourselves, and things don't seem to be slowing down either. Sure, many of us could benefit from taking a vacation or retreat from our daily routines now and then. But such opportunities are sparse at best.

The clue to true personal wellness is in developing healthy daily habits that promote holistic and sustained flourishing over a lifetime.
 
Humans are pretty complex, so a balanced approach to wellness must address both our physical and nonphysical (mental) needs. Below are 10 tips for boosting your own wellness, every day.
 
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Mental Wellness

  • Listen to music. Almost everyone enjoys listening to some kind of music. Have you ever wondered why that is? One study found that listening to music can help regulate moods and increase self-awareness.

    The internet makes it easier than ever to access and listen to music during our daily routines. Now and then, consider sitting back and listening more intentionally, with no distractions, to relax and refresh your mind.
     
  • Learn. Learning something new—especially by your own choosing—can be a great way to keep your mind stimulated and sharp. Think of a topic that interests you and dive a little deeper. Read a book or listen to a podcast; find a relevant "how-to" video on YouTube; if you're more of a hands-on person, experiment with a new hobby.
     
  • Connect with others. Humans are social creatures. To different degrees, we all need social interactions to stay mentally healthy. (Yes, this is even true for introverted individuals!) One study found strong ties between social connectedness and emotional wellness. We feel better when we connect in meaningful ways with others. That's what friendship is all about.

    Practically, this could mean calling a friend or family member on the phone once a day or week. Find a pen pal and exchange letters. Get involved in local community or religious groups. Ask a colleague for coffee. And don't feel bad for asking—we all need connection!
     
  • Limit screen time. Even if you haven't read the research, you might still have a hunch that too much screen time hurts mental health. Well… it does. A 2014 Nielsen report found that American adults spend an average of 11 hours looking at screens every day (including computers, phones, TV, and other screens). Excessive screen time can impair vision, sleep, and even weight management. Additional research suggests an adverse relationship between mental health and excessive social media usage.

    Here are a few easy ways to help limit screen time and protect your mental health:
    • Complete your morning routine without screens.
    • Don't eat in front of screens.
    • Avoid screens two hours before bed.
    • Set time limits on your smartphone apps.
       
  • Meditate. Meditation and "mindfulness" have gained recent popularity; however, humans have been employing such practices to stay mentally fit for millenia. Recent studies at Harvard found, in particular, that individuals suffering from depression, chronic pain, and anxiety benefited from mindfulness meditation programs.

    Such programs help reconnect individuals with their bodies and the present moment, reducing stress and elevating mood. In a busy, technology-driven world, that's important! Consider giving a few minutes each day—maybe in the morning or at lunch—to meditation, mindfulness, or, if you are religious, to prayer.
 

Physical Wellness

  • Stay hydrated. The human body is about 60% water. Staying hydrated is essential to staying physically and mentally robust. Among other things, hydration boosts energy levels and brain function. Some have even found water to help with weight loss. How much water should you drink a day? The answer: about 15.5 cups for men and about 11.5 cups for women.
 
  • Breathe. Yes, you're breathing right now, but intentional, diaphragmatic, deep breathing is a helpful habit that takes practice. According to InsideTracker, occasional focus on deep breathing "activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which can help slow heart rate, lower or stabilize blood pressure, and result in a more relaxed state."

    Set up a daily reminder to practice deep breathing at least once a day. Your mind and your body will thank you.
     
  • Exercise & sweat. Regular exercise is essential to physical wellness, especially a balance of cardio and resistance training. Depending on your age and fitness, the intensity and regularity with which you exercise will vary, but exercising at least three times a week is a healthy baseline for most. Activities that increase heart rate and precipitate sweating come with these benefits:
    • Boosts energy
    • Helps you maintain healthy weight
    • Improves mood
    • Promotes good sleep
    • Helps eliminate toxins from the body

Find an activity you enjoy that causes sweating and increases your heart rate. Maybe it's going for a bike ride or a brisk walk. Maybe it's lifting weights or practicing yoga. Whatever your preference, make sweating a regular part of your week.
 
  • Go for a walk. Walking may not cause everyone to break a sweat, but it comes with an array of additional health benefits you should know about. Regular walking can help you:
    • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Prevent or manage various conditions (e.g. heart disease and high blood pressure)
    • Strengthen bones and muscles
    • Improve mood
    • Increase focus or productivity
           
Like breathing, we all walk by necessity (if we are able). Harnessing the power of intentional walking, however, is a simple way to boost physical and mental wellness. Consider breaking up your work day with an afternoon walk that gets blood flowing and focuses your mind.
 
  • Take a nap. Sleep is important. If you're already getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night, naps should not be a regular part of your wellness plan. In fact, napping too often during the day can throw off your nightly sleep cycle. However, an occasional needed nap can recharge the mind and the body, so don't feel guilty about it! Research has identified the following nap benefits for healthy adults:
    • Relaxation
    • Reduced fatigue
    • Increased alertness
    • Improved mood
    • Improved performance, including quicker reaction time and better memory
 
Schneck Medical Center is here to support your holistic wellness. You can contact us with any questions about mental or physical health. Or explore our medical services here.
 
           
 
 
 
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