Practical ideas to help you look after yourself

A balanced diet
  • Try to start the day with a healthy breakfast so you have lots of nutrients ‘tucked away’ even if you don’t manage manage such healthy food later in the day
  • Fitting enough fruit and veg into your day can be hard. Think about drinking some of your five a day instead, by making smoothies or juices. Blenders are getting more and more affordable and it’s quite quick to throw in the ingredients to make a fresh juice
  • If you find healthier options taste bland when you cook them think about spicing them up with pepper, chilli or soy sauce to give the meal more of a kick
  • Have some healthy snacks (like nuts, seeds or fruit) to hand so that if you get hungry you can eat these, rather than being tempted into buying an unhealthy snack
  • It can be hard to drink enough water. Think about drinking a large glass first thing in the morning – before reaching for a cup of tea or coffee. We dehydrate over night, so this will help you start the day re-hydrated
  • Do you try hard to be ‘good’ and then give up with your intentions if you succumb to a treat? Try not to be hard on yourself – enjoy the treat and then set your intention again for the next day
  • Avoid sugary drinks – these really are empty calories that quickly increase your blood sugar levels but then cause a blood sugar ‘crash’ making you crave more sugar

Regular Exercise
  • If you are short on time, try to fit exercise into a typical day – walk up escalators, use the stairs rather than the lift, walk around to see people in the office rather than sending an email. Every step makes a difference.
  • Consider getting a fitness tracker so you can see the extra steps you add do mount up, to motivate you to keep moving
  • Think about arranging ‘walking meetings’ rather than sitting in stuffy meeting rooms
  • If you need a fixed time in the week to fit your exercise in, sign up for a class or commit to a friend that you will exercise together, to help you keep your resolution
  • Research shows that people who sign up to an event, like a 10k run for example, are more likely to stick at exercise. So if this sounds like you – sign up!
  • Good exercise does not need to be exhausting! Research shows that walking boosts creative inspiration and it enhances the body’s production of Nitric Oxide – a molecule in the body that keeps platelets calm and smooth, and the blood vessels relaxed to control blood pressure.

Rest and relaxation
  • Sleep really is the ‘wonder ingredient’ that many of us just aren’t getting enough of. Sleep researcher, Dr Neil Stanley, says ‘the reason we are eating more sugary foods is because we are sleeping less’. His research shows that insufficient sleep increases cravings for food and sugar by 33%, and appetite is increased by 24%. His firm suggestion is that we get more sleep!
  • To help you sleep better try avoiding caffeine later in the day, and turning off mobile phones and other screens and devices two hours before sleep, to help you wind down
  • Avoid doing work in the bedroom and leave the mobile phone well away to avoid the temptation of being connected
  • Find a local yoga, pilates or mediation class to help calm the mind
  • Try to find a few minutes every day to be away from all stimulating and noisy distractions – maybe in a quiet room or local park. Use this time to breathe deeply and slowly. Try to think only about your breath – not your ‘to do’ list!
  • There are now lots of good apps that can guide you through brief but helpful exercises to relax you