Now is the time to be mindful of the everyday habits that contribute to our good health and well-being. On top of this, it is the season when we are more likely to go out for end-of-year functions, drink more alcohol than usual and interrupt our sleep patterns. With the sun shining in Melbourne again, it’s a great opportunity to introduce daily healthy habits that may have dropped off the radar over the winter months. Overall, health and well-being are central to how we manage everyday relationships, personal and work commitments, and incidental stress.
A healthy intake of fresh foods and fluids can make a real difference to the general gut and overall health. We don’t always have complete control over what we eat, especially when someone else is cooking, but the main message is to keep food as unprocessed and as fresh as possible. Simply changing from winter fruits to summer ones can be a real highlight. For example, adding watermelon, mango, and other stone fruits might be the spring in your diet that your body is looking for, especially leading up to Christmas, when traditionally, we may have many offers to socialise and dine out. Nibbling on unhealthy snacks can be a trap as they are high in salt and oil, usually of poor nutritional value, and boost your calorie intake unnecessarily. Try eating some raw vegetables or a piece of fruit before going out so that you are less tempted by the nibbles! Also, prepare a healthy breakfast and/or lunch for the next day so you aren’t tempted to buy food when you’re tired or rushed. Reference article in The Age Tuesday, Oct 10th 2023, by Susie Burrell: The Key to eating well? Avoid Ultra-processed foods.
Maintaining a good sleep routine assists in setting up our day. It’s important to have a regular bedtime and wake-up time as this helps our bodies regulate and relax when it is time to sleep. If you have an evening engagement, this can alter your normal patterns, so be aware that late to bed combined with alcohol, coffee or different food intake can play havoc with your body. Try to limit the number of times this occurs and perhaps pre-book a lift home so that you set your own time limits to minimise disruption. You can still enjoy a social occasion, but you do not need to be the last to leave!
Regular exercise may fall by the wayside at this time of the year, especially if you are busier than usual and tired. Remember, 20-30 minutes is the recommended minimum time for daily activity, and if you’re having trouble scheduling this, parking the car and walking a bit further to work or taking the stairs instead of the lift are great ideas for extra movement opportunities. Everyday habits such as walking are great options for the mind and body.