4 Tips to Improve your Health #SelfCareWeek

Self Care Week this year takes place from 13 - 19 November and this year’s theme is Embracing Self Care with the aim of keeping people healthy for their whole life. When we lead such busy lives it can be tricky to make time to take care of ourselves but with a few small changes you can make some big changes to your overall health and increase your life expectancy by up to 14 years. 

To get you started, here are 4 tips to improve your health:

1. Stop smoking

Quitting smoking is notoriously difficult as there are physical and psychological aspects to the habit which make stopping very challenging. A recent study found that cold turkey is the best way to quit smoking rather than gradually stopping.

The Cancer Research charity funded investigations into why people smoke and ways to quit. The following are key points that came from the research carried out:

  • Avoid having a cigarette within the first few weeks and months of quitting.
  • Medication and nicotine replacement therapy (like nicotine gum, lozenges and inhalers)can help if used properly.
  • There are available top Smoking Services which combine practical advice, behavioural support and nicotine replacement therapy.
  • When you crave a cigarette, go for a walk instead of smoking as well as trying effective breathing exercises such as abdominal breathing used in Yoga, both of which have been proven to help.
  • Keep trying, don’t give up!

2. Keep physically active

Just like brushing your teeth in the morning and having a shower, exercise needs to become a routine activity you do. Tricks that work on habit forming:

  • Start small: don’t put yourself off by setting a daunting goal.
  • Concentrate on immediate goals like how good it feels when you finish your run. This is more likely to motivate you rather than choosing a weight loss goal.
  • Keep going: don’t give up if you fall off the wagon; the more you try the easier it will get.
  • Tell your friends and family for encouragement and keep track of your progress in a diary or on an app.
  • Find an exercise buddy, as working out in pairs or as a group keeps you motivated.

Here are some more ideas to help you fit exercise around a hectic teaching schedule.

3. Moderate alcohol intake

The NHS has some good tips on cutting down.

  • Set a budget on alcohol.
  • Tell your friends and family to get their support.
  • Cut back one day at a time.
  • Reduce the size of your drink and lower the alcohol strength.
  • Drink water beforehand and alternate rounds with soft drinks.
  • Have drink-free days during the week.

For more information check out our blog on reducing the number of calories consumed through drinking alcohol

4. Eating at least 5 portions of fruit and veg

  • Try a snack swap by replacing your chocolate bar for a banana or a different fruit you like. 
  • Use less meat in your Bolognese, Chilli and Stews and add more vegetables instead.
  • Start eating beans and pulses; you can do this by adding lentils to your soup and stews.
  • Prepare healthy meals in advance to give you healthy food on the go.
  • Drink smoothies for breakfast with your favourite fruit or veg to start your day well. Here are some super smoothie recipes for you to try.

Check these useful tips to help you achieve a good work life balance and embrace self-care for life. 

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