During the last 20 years of delivering wellness solutions to businesses, two things have become very clear.
The improvements that people would like to make to their wellbeing are usually very simple; the most popular including the desire to get fitter, increase energy levels, lose weight, sleep better and experience an improved sense of balance in life.
There’s an endless array of barriers, issues and reasons why people struggle to achieve these seemingly simple wellness objectives.
So to help individuals navigate their way around daily challenges to peak wellbeing and reach a healthy, happy lifestyle quickly and effectively, this three-part series will highlight fast and easy success strategies relating to personal fitness, excellent energy levels, healthy eating and great sleep.
By the end of the sequence of articles, you’ll be able to fast-track any wellbeing changes you’re considering personally and you’ll also be in a position to share the information with colleagues, family and friends.
So, here's the first instalment of targeted tips for quality sleep, fantastic fitness and creating a food routine that works for you, all directed towards optimum personal performance and a calming sense of balance and control in life.
Good sleep enhances the quality and enjoyment of everything you do
It’s tempting to steal time from sleep in order to pack more into the day, but one should always be mindful of the quality of what you do as well as the quantity of things on your list. At some point, skipping sleep can create a situation where although we do more, we might end up achieving less.
The ideal situation is to establish a sleep routine that leaves you rested, recharged and refreshed ready for a day of being effective and productive. You’re far more likely to enjoy a busy routine of work, family, friends and hobbies if you’re well rested. Plus, if you enjoy life more, you’ll sleep better and so the virtuous circle continues.
Routine is key: choose a bedtime and a wake time
You probably have a rough idea of how much sleep leaves you feeling refreshed so set yourself a time by which you’d like to be asleep in the evening, and a time to wake up in the morning based on leaving yourself the right number of sleep hours between the two times. Experiment over a few nights until you establish the optimum times for you.
Establish what’s going on with your food routine
In the midst of a busy life, making progressive improvements to your current approach to healthy eating is likely to be easier than attempting to change everything about your food routine all in one go.
For best results, target your efforts carefully. Begin by keeping a food diary for at least three days. Simple notes will be fine – the content, timing and quantity of what you eat and drink – and this will help you identify and make the most effective changes right away.
Decide what to stop, start or continue
Clearly identify what meals, snacks or food products you will be removing from your current routine, what you’ll be adding to your routine that’s not currently there, and what you’ll continue with.
For the latter group, be specific about which of these things you’ll be having more of, what you’ll have less of, and what will continue at their current level of consumption.
For example, you may identify that you’d like to drink more water, drink less coffee, eat more fruit or vegetables and decrease your portion sizes.
Some elements of your food routine will be fine for content and quantity so you can continue with these, although you may wish to experiment with the timing of various meals or snacks and see what routine provides you with the most consistent energy and focus.
Be very clear on how much time you need for exercise
Time is precious so decide how much of it you'd like to spend on exercise each week. You might be pleasantly surprised by how little time staying fit will require.
Most people need just two to four hours a week but many are put off exercise completely by the idea that they need much more. Don’t stress about carving out loads of time for exercise that you might not actually need.
Think quality, not quantity, and refine your approach based on results
Remember the most important thing is to maintain regularity with activity and make the best use of the exercise time you do have available.
The easiest way to establish how much time you’ll need is by being clear on your objectives and identifying how long you’d like to take to realise them. Based on this information, devise a plan of what exercise you’ll do each week and schedule specific days and times for your activities.
Roll out your plan and then review the time you require based on your weekly progress. If you’re looking for faster results, modify your plan slightly, changing either the number of workouts per week, the duration of your workouts or the intensity of your activity.
You can ready part 2 of the series here.
You can read part 3 of the series here.
We wrote this series originally for HR Zone website.