Need a health reboot? According to bestselling authors and health experts, these 6 smart habits will help you feel refreshed and re-energised.
These top tips will help you get big results from small changes to everyday health and lifestyle habits.
1. Ruby Tandoh: Take pleasure in your food
‘Clean eating’, ‘cheat days’ and ‘juice cleanses’ – the language around healthy eating can be negative and it’s hard not to feel that you’re eating ‘wrong’. Make this month the time to think more positively about food. “There is no single ‘right’ way to eat,” says Ruby Tandoh, author of Eat Up! and 2013 Great British Bake Off runner-up. “Food should nourish your body as much as it fuels your mind. The way you feel about food sits hand in hand with the way you feel about yourself.”
According to Ruby, it’s time to stop punishing ourselves and to start enjoying food – beginning with cooking it. Researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand found that people who regularly cook new recipes experience ‘an upward spiral’ in their sense of wellbeing. Whether it’s a lazy Sunday brunch or easy post-work dinner, try a new recipe and let yourself enjoy the process and the flavours to reap the benefits.
Photo: Nato Welton
2. Dr Rangan Chatterjee: Set an alarm – for sleeping
It’s no secret that the vast majority of us aren’t getting enough sleep. An easy way to prioritise your zeds is to set an alarm for bedtime. “You should make your alarm a signal that the wind-down for bed must begin and set it for 90 minutes before lights out,” suggests bestselling author of the 4 Pillar Plan, Dr Rangan Chatterjee. “As soon as it sounds, that’s when your No-Tech 90 begins. Power down all your e-devices, including computers.” It’s the ultimate way to start practising good sleep hygiene.
3. Vanessa Van Edwards: Socialise on your terms
Many of us have a habit of saying ‘yes’ without conviction, meaning we spend a lot of time at parties, gatherings or meetings that we don’t necessarily want to be at. “If you get an invitation that you aren’t crazy about but don’t want to say a hard ‘no’, make a counter-offer instead,” suggests Vanessa Van Edwards, a behavioural investigator at the Science of People research lab and author of Captivate. Try: ‘I can’t do dinner, but let’s grab coffee instead,’ or ‘A meeting won’t work but let’s hop on the phone.’ Shifting the situation so it’s more on your terms will allow you more time and energy to do the things you love.
4. Marie Kondo: Declutter for good
Feeling overwhelmed by the clutter in your home? Tidying up ‘thoroughly’ (not just a little each day) might change your home as well as your mind-set. “From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. It allows you to confront the issues that are really important,” says bestselling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo. Her method of de-cluttering is simple: “The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in your hand and ask: ‘Does this give me joy?’ If it does, keep it. If not, throw it out.”
5. Otegha Uwagba: Make it face to face
If you really want to get ahead, talk to your colleagues – or your professional network – instead of emailing them. Otegha Uwagba, author of the breakout guide Little Black Book: A Toolkit for Working Women, says, “A half-hour chat over coffee is 100 times more powerful than dozens of emails, so when you’re reaching out to someone, meeting them in person should be your go-to goal.” Why? “People are more likely to remember or help people they feel they know, and you can’t get to know an email address.”
6. Chelsea Fagan: Go back to a simple budget plan
Start the new academic year with a fresh take on your budgeting. Chelsea Fagan, finance blogger and author of the Financial Diet, swears by the 50/30/20 system: dedicate 50% of your income to fixed costs like bills and rent; 30% on variable costs like groceries and travel; leaving you a consistent 20% for savings. Set it up at the beginning of the month and automate your payments so you aren’t tempted to spend it instead.
Want to try more healthy habits? Read our guide on how to meditate in just two minutes