How to prioritise your wellbeing in 2023
Hopefully the Christmas period was an opportunity for many of you to wind down, spend time with family and friends, and embrace the festivities.
January can be a daunting month for some; the cold and dark weather continues, there’s the longer-than-usual stretch to pay day, and the return to work can cause feelings of anxiety and stress.
Whilst these feelings are only natural, it’s important to remember the start of a new year can also be a wonderful opportunity to embrace new things, set goals, and put your health and wellbeing first.
Follow these self-care tips to help you step into the New Year as a better version of yourself.
Look after your body
From staying hydrated and sleeping well to eating nourishing meals and regularly moving, remember your body is your home – and a healthy mind needs a healthy body to keep it functioning.
The NHS recommends drinking 6-8 glasses of water, tea and coffee, low-fat milk or low-sugar drinks each day. Keeping hydrated regulates your body temperature, helps organs to function, and prevents infections amongst a range of other benefits. In winter, due to the cold, our bodies trick us into thinking our fluid levels are okay, making us less inclined to drink when actually you could be dehydrated! Dehydration in winter is harder to spot, so make sure you regularly reach for a drink – even if you don’t feel thirsty.
Furthermore, adults are advised to aim for at least 7 hours of sleep every night. A variety of habits can help you to snooze easier if you struggle: maintaining a daily routine, staying away from screens before bedtime, keeping your bedroom dark and quiet, reducing caffeine later in the day, and incorporating exercise into your day.
Speaking of exercise, a mixture of strength-based and cardio exercises most days each week can reduce your risk of major illnesses and is described as the ‘miracle cure’ to a healthier and happier life. Exercise is also a fundamental contributor to boosting your mood and self-esteem. Find out more about exercise guidelines for adults aged 19-64.
Spend time with others
Sharing our time with family and friends can boost our mood and decrease feelings of loneliness. It also allows us to try new things, gain new perspectives, and receive support from others when we need it most.
Struggling to find time to meet in person? Why not suggest speaking over the phone or arranging a video call? Even just a text to check in with someone can have a positive impact on them as well as you.
But don’t forget, it’s not always a bad thing to say no to social plans. When we’re feeling burnt out, sometimes the thought of being sociable can be overwhelming for both our mind and body, so make sure you take the time to assess your mental health and what works for you in the moment.
Live in the moment: Disconnect from the digital noise
Today’s world means the news and the lives of others (whether we know them or not!) are at our fingertips if we choose to see it. Social media, the internet and various apps can play a big distraction in our everyday lives, and it’s not necessarily the healthiest of distractions.
Reflect on how accessing certain social media channels and/or content elsewhere in the digital sphere makes you feel. If for any reason it makes you feel anxious, inferior, or that your life is not as good as others, consider taking a break from it for a week – or even set yourself a daily limit – and assess your mental health to see if you notice a difference. Research suggests that time away from your phone and other digital devices can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression whilst boosting self-confidence and your sleeping pattern.
Do what makes you happy
Some people struggle to put themselves first, and even if they want to find the time, they find reasons not to due to other events and scenarios that take place in their life, whether or not they directly or indirectly affect them.
Relaxation is a significant factor in improving wellbeing, and it can mean different things to different people. For some, it might be taking an indulgent bath or going on a dog walk, whilst for others, it could be watching a new film or reading a book. Whatever ‘relaxing’ means to you, make sure to implement something that’s just for you into your regular routine – even if it’s 15 minutes a day. And if you’re someone who struggles to sit still, look for an activity with a fun or creative outlet, one which has the ability to take your mind away from the daily stresses that life might bring.
Your mental health matters
If you’re feeling anxious, overwhelmed, stressed, or experiencing a mental health problem that is making work difficult for you, you can access external support with Maximus.
Maximus has supported more than 12,000 people through the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service to improve their health, cope better with work, and feel happier.
If you would like to book an appointment, you can fill out an online form or call 0300 456 8114. They also have virtual, confidential one-to-one appointments available for Loughborough University staff on Tuesday 28 February. Please note Maximus will not inform the University of your query/appointment unless you want them to.
Health and Wellbeing
Wellbeing means being in a positive physical, social and mental state. Wellbeing is important to us as happy, healthy people who achieve harmony in their work / life mix are more creative, productive and help to create a great place to work.