Wellness is a state beyond the absence of illness but rather aims to optimize well-being by exploring your inner self and changing your habits to attain better physical and mental health outcomes. Wellness and its 8 mutually interdependent dimensions lead to a state of holistic health. There are strategies for improving your emotional health, building resilience, reducing stress, etc.
According to a survey, the top health and wellness aspirations are:
-To be happy (67%)
-Staying healthy as aging (62%)
-To be able to have a good quality of life (51%)
-Feeling good today and in the future (50%)
7 Days in Wellness
Tired of feeling bad about getting older. Here are the rituals that will make you feel happy.
Start the week thinking about something you can do better than the previous week. For example, can you be more patient or kinder? Then you do a quick five-minute meditation.
Exercise should be a big part of your weekly routine. Try to work out and move your body most days. Start Pilates which can be a game-changer. Learn how to stand correctly and lift correctly — it’s the best.
Try to limit your social media use to two hours a day. If you have time do some yoga, and if not then just doing a short meditation can make a difference. Also, go for long walks too. Getting outside in nature always helps.
Aim to start the day with a big glass of water also try to drink water during the day if you can manage. To eat lite try your favorite protein snack, for example, an egg salad with avocado.
This is when you check in with your energy levels. Fun things will give you energy and doing more of this should be a goal for you. Seeing friends also helps and gets your creative juices flowing. If you feeling a bit flat, call a friend to help you get motivated. You’ll always find that when you start moving again, especially in the fresh air, it helps.
Try to eat healthy fats, drink lots of water, and hang around with peaceful, positive, healthy people. The company you keep really matters.”
Self-care is being consistent with small daily rituals. Plan a week ahead and listen to music, which may make you happy. Happiness is elusive and fleeting but if you start your mornings right during the week, and try to exercise most days, then you stay on track.”
Way to Boost Your Mood
If you’re looking for a way to boost your mood, don’t underestimate the power of music. New research has found that over 80% of people aged 14-25 say that music and live events have a positive impact on their mood and well-being. A fifth of young people stated that the boost to their mental health is what they enjoy most about attending live events. The research also found that certain artists lift well-being more than others.
Deep Sleep improves brain health
5-10 minutes, that’s how many extra minutes of deep sleep per night you need to aim for to improve your brain health in later life. A new study found that a loss of 1% of deep sleep per year may increase dementia risk by 27 percent among those aged 60 years or older. Deep sleep occurs mostly during the first half of the night, so having a solid bedtime and sleep hygiene routine each night can help you get a more restful slumber.
Time in Nature Improves Health
You aren’t just imagining those feelings of calm and peacefulness when you spend time in nature. A meta-analysis of 28 studies has found that ‘nature prescriptions’ – where doctors advise patients to spend time in green spaces or near water, were associated with better blood pressure control and improvements in anxiety and depression symptoms. The most commonly recommended activities were walking in nature and gardening.
The Art of Rest – 7 Different Ways
Do you find it hard to relax or simply do nothing? here, experts reveal seven different ways to switch off physically and mentally.
When was the last time you felt truly rested? If you can’t remember, welcome to the club. Global burnout is currently at an all-time high, with 42% of the world’s workforce citing depleted energy, increased negativism, mental distance from their job, and reduced efficacy at work as symptoms, according to a Future Forum report.
But it’s not all gloomy — the Great Rest Revolution is on the way. according to trend forecasting company TrendBibIe. who predict that people globally are beginning to focus more on their downtime, and how we want to be spending it.
It’s a change that’s been a long time coming, according to experts, who agree that prioritizing rest is essential. Rest is a state of physical. emotional and mental relaxation. Our bodies and brains need it to recharge and adequately recover from whatever we have been engaging in, according to a psychologist and mental health expert.
Culturally, the focus on rest as a necessary tool has not been widely promoted, but recent research tells us that whether we engage in active or passive rest, it does wonders for increasing our physical and mental well-being.
The Upsides of Rest
Rest doesn’t just mean laying on the couch and scrolling on your phone for 10 minutes — although it could be. It looks different for everyone and the trick is to find out what feels restful to you. It can include everything from reading a good book, spending time alone, gardening, traveling or simply doing nothing in particular.
When practiced regularly, restful activities — including mindfulness, drawing, meditation, and downtime with friends — have been linked to better health. A 2019 study found that the strength of a person’s social circle was a better predictor of happiness and well-being than data on ‘ physical activity and sleep.
While stress activates the sympathetic nervous system in your body, or the ‘fight or flight’ response, the opposite of this, often called the ‘relaxation’ response, is when your parasympathetic nervous system is active, and this is a state of profound rest, according to Harvard University research.
The more we accept and embrace rest, the better, according to a psychologist and sleep expert. We wouldn’t expect our cars to function well if we didn’t provide them with fuel, so why do we expect to operate well without adequate rest?
7 Different Types of Rest
According to experts, there are seven different types of rest. Here’s how to tap into them:
1. PHYSICAL REST
Physical rest includes passive components such as good quality sleep, as well as active components such as stretching, yoga, or massage. When you have a deficit of this kind of rest you might feel tired, foggy, achy, or stiff
TIP: Sleep well by blocking out blue light [from digital devices] for two hours before bed, Take a warm evening shower, read, and wear an eye mask overnight to improve your chances of a better night’s sleep. Active physical rest should involve activities that don’t require too much concentration. A massage, swimming, or a walk are all great options.
2. MENTAL REST
If your mind is racing when you go to bed, or you find it hard to recall information or concentrate for relatively short periods, you might need some mental rest.
TIP: Schedule a few ‘mindful minutes’ at regular intervals throughout the day, Turn your phone off, do five minutes of meditation, or simply sit quietly. While it may not seem significant at the time, this activity can be enough to give your mind a break. so you can concentrate more effectively, and also sleep better at night.
3. SOCIAL REST
Children, colleagues. partners and elderly relatives can all need a lot from us. Social rest is about finding people who don’t need anything from you, but whom you simply enjoy spending time with, close social relationships positively impact your health, in the decades-long Harvard Study of Adult Development, researchers found that positive relationships help us live longer.
TIP: Schedule pleasurable and restful activities with friends and loved ones often. Try to engage with your social network face-to-face. as this has been shown to yield the highest benefits.
4. SENSORY REST
Bright computer lights, noise from the TV, barking dogs and the constant ping of phone or watch notifications can all cause sensory overload, making you feel agitated, irritable, or angry.
“Calming classical music or any kind of white noise can slow your brainwaves and reduce the overload of other sounds. According to a psychologist and sleep expert”.
TIP: Small tweaks to your environment can reap big rewards, Playing soothing background music like calming classical music or any kind of white noise (which includes ambient sounds like rainfall, wind, or waves) can reduce the overload of other sounds. Turn off as many notifications on devices as you can. If you need to, just attend to the most vital ones when your phone is on ‘do not disturb, so you don’t have to constantly check your devices.
5. EMOTIONAL REST
Constantly putting on a brave face to your kids about a situation, or being upbeat to colleagues about a tricky work issue, can cause an emotional rest deficit.
Always suppressing what we feel can lead to long—term distress and issues.
TIP: Sharing your emotions can be challenging if you’re not used to it. Start slowly by opening up to those you know you can be yourself with. Describe your feelings, and don’t downplay them. Feelings are a normal part of the human experience, and it’s okay to express them.
6. CREATIVE REST
If you’re having a hard time brainstorming, being innovative, or solving problems, you might need creative rest. This type of rest usually happens when your mind is allowed to be inspired in its own time.
TIP: “For some people, creative rest happens by turning off the phone or TV, and simply being present in the moment. This allows your mind to wander, and do what it needs to do in the background. For others, it’s about walking the dog, having a surf, or spending time outdoors in nature. It shouldn’t be about looking for experiences, but intentionally giving your brain space and time to relax.
7. SPIRITUAL REST
This type of rest relies on finding your belief system and aligning your life with it. Most of us need to feel that we’re contributing to the greater good in some way, and if you don’t find this meaning in any area of your life, you may be lacking in spiritual rest.
TIP: Spiritual rest can be found in a whole range of activities or practices. Meditating, praying, spending time in nature, practicing yoga, volunteering for a cause you care about — all of these can support spiritual recovery and help us stay grounded and fulfilled.
Make your well-being a priority. learn about the foods that may lift your Mood and the seven ways to help you switch off physically and mentally.
Good food – good mood
There are strong links between what we eat and our mental wellbeing, according to a growing body of research. we find out more about the benefits of a wholesome diet.
We’ve known for many years that a healthy diet can lower our risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. As the old saying goes, ‘You are what you eat’. We know instinctively that food can have an impact on our mood, too, but until recently, scientists weren’t sure why.
The first study of its kind to show that changing your diet can significantly improve mental health was The SMILES trial (with 166 participants) which was conducted by Deakin University’s Food & Mood Centre. Another study of more than 10,775 people found that eating ultra-processed foods (UPFs) increases the risk of cognitive decline
Research has really exploded in this area in the last 10 years. We used to think that the body and the brain were two separate things. We now know that they’re linked via the vagus nerve, which acts as a highway carrying messages between your gut and your brain.”
So, what should (and shouldn’t) we be putting in our shopping trolley to get a mood boost?
The key to unlocking better mental well-being could lie in your gut (intestinal tract), the home of your microbiome. The microbiome is an ecosystem of trillions of live organisms — including beneficial bacteria — that help you digest food and synthesize nutrients.
The microbiome also interacts with metabolism, weight maintenance, the immune system, and, crucially, brain function and our mood. The quality of your diet affects the health of your microbiome, which can, in turn, impact your mental wellbeing.
The ‘good’ bacteria in the microbiome thrive on fiber-rich whole foods — often referred to as ‘prebiotics’. But they’re picky eaters. Different species of bacteria consume different nutrients. lf the good bacteria aren’t satiated. the balance of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ organisms in the microbiome can get out of whack. Supplying your microbiome with a diversity of veggies, fruits, and leafy greens is, therefore, very important.
High-fiber whole grains — including barley, quinoa, wild rice, and oats — also keep the microbiome in check. Once a week, make a breakfast muesli; a big pot of rolled oats, mixed nuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Every day add a different fruit. So, you getting 10 different plant foods without really trying.
Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, and kombucha, are also beneficial for your microbiome. These contain live cultures called probiotics. In a study by Irish researchers, participants who followed a probiotic- and prebiotic-rich diet for four weeks reported feeling less stressed.
THE ‘FEEL GOOD’ FOOD GUIDE
Here’s a guide of what to aim for daily (taken from the SMILES trial diet study).
5-8 serves per day (1 serving = 1 slice wholegrain bread, 1/4 cup muesli, 1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta, quinoa)‘
6 serves per day (1 serving = 75g veggies, eg. 1/2 cup cooked green or orange veggies or 1 cup raw salad veggies)
3 serves per day (1 serving = 750g, e.g. 1 medium apple or 2 small apricots)
3-4 serves per week (1 serving = 1 cup cooked or canned lentils, chickpeas)
LOW-FAT, UNSWEETENED DAIRY FOODS
2-3 serves per day (1 serving = 1 cup cow’s milk, 2 slices hard cheese, 3/4 cup yogurt)
RAW, UNSALTED NUTS
1 serving per day (1 serving = 30g nuts, seeds, or nut butter)
at least 2 serves per week (1 serving. = 100g cooked fish fillet or 1 small can)
LEAN RED MEAT
3-4 serves per week (1 serving = 65g cooked beeﬁ lamb, veal, pork)
2-3 serves per week (1 serving = 80g cooked chicken or turkey)
up to 6 per week (1 serving = 2 large eggs)
3 tablespoons per day
TAME THE TREATS
A diet that’s high in ultra-processed or ‘junk’ food may also have some influence on our mood.
There is growing evidence demonstrating an association between high consumption of ultra-processed foods (which include sweet snacks, ready-to-eat meals, and sauces, ultra-processed dairy products, processed meats, and artificially sweetened beverages) and reduced mental and physical health, according to Dr. Wolfgang Marx, a senior researcher at Deakin University’s Food & Mood Centre and President of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research.
“It is important to note, however, that [the research] looks at diets that habitually consume high levels of these types of foods, so occasional sweets or a weekend takeaway are not too much of a concern.”
FOCUS ON HEALTH
While a healthy diet can be a real game-changer, it’s important to remember that it’s not a magic fix. it’s one pillar of a healthy lifestyle, which also includes getting regular physical activity and focusing on good quality sleep. Whatever your health concerns may be, you should always consult your health practitioner before making any changes to your diet.
10 Foods that could help lift your mood:
Cow s Milk
This contains the amino acid tryptophan which helps produce ‘feel-good‘ compounds serotonin and melatonin in the brain.
Experts recommend consuming small amounts of red meat with the fat removed before cooking. Iron is very important for our mental health. Plant-based sources of iron include dark leafy greens and red kidney beans.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Drizzle on your salads and roasted vegetables for a dose of antioxidants and polyphenols. Use olive oil for salad dressings.
A Japanese study found that downing probiotic-rich yogurt may lead to better mental well-being.
When eaten as part of a healthy diet, legumes such as lentils and chickpeas are linked to better mental health, according to Dietitians.
Rich in probiotics, it’s easy to incorporate this fermented, yogurt-like food into smoothies or breakfast cereal.
Sprinkle gut—friendly LSA (a combo of ground linseeds, sunflower seeds, and almonds) onto yogurt or add it to banana bread when baking.
Snacking on blueberries could boost memory and cognition, as well as lower blood pressure, UK researchers found.
Eating oily fish such as salmon and sardines, which are both good sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, may help to promote brain health.
Enjoying 30 grams of 80% cocoa dark chocolate daily may improve mood, according to a study by Korean researchers.
Beat the Heat – Summer Skincare Guide
Between cracked heels, mozzie bites, and chafing, the hot weather can be a lot for your skin to handle.
There’s a lot to love about the summer — there are lazy days at the pool, backyard catch-ups with friends, and ice creams. But the reality is that humidity, sweat, insects, and sunscreen can cause all kinds of skin irritations and flare-ups.
Here’s how to deal with some of these seasonal skin bothering issues:
SUMMER SKIN PROBLEM: ACNE FLARE-UPS
Breakouts can happen all year round but Indian researchers found that 40% of people with acne reported aggravation in the summer. It can also appear on your butt, back, and shoulders, usually around the time you want to wear a singlet. The combination of sweat and multiple layers of sunscreen (hello clogged pores!) can all play a role in an acne outbreak.
How to treat it: First up, don’t skip the sunscreen. Instead, look for a lightweight formula and ease up on the amount of other products you use. Starting a 12-step skincare routine in high summer won’t help with the pore-clogging issue. Thoroughly wash your face each night to remove all traces of sweat, make-up, and sunscreen, and try using products that contain tea tree oil. A 2017 study found that the oil can “significantly improve” mild to moderate acne”.
SUMMER SKIN PROBLEM: CHAFING
Going for a walk in the heat is challenging enough but then you jump in the shower and realise your skin has been rubbed raw. Chafing happens when skin rubs against skin continuously, causing friction — it could be when sweaty thighs rub against each other or rub against an irritating fabric, causing a rash. At its worst, the skin can tear and bleed.
How to treat it: After cleaning the area, gently pat the skin dry – rubbing it will make the chafing worse. Then apply a soothing balm or lotion with no fragrance. Protect the area and prevent more chafing by applying petroleum jelly or pawpaw ointment.
SUMMER SKIN PROBLEM: CRACKED HEELS
Are your heels drier than an empty creek? Cracks and splits on different areas of your feet are often caused by a combination of dehydration from the heat and pressure from your body weight when you’re walking. Wearing open-heeled shoes can make the problem worse.
How to treat them: Show your feet some TLC in summer. After showering and drying your feet, moisturize them daily with a foot cream and use a heel balm twice a day, consistently. Heel balms contain ingredients to soften and exfoliate the skin. Wear shoes with a closed back and if your cracked heels have become painful or are bleeding, see your HP.
SUMMER SKIN PROBLEM: BLISTERS
New sandals, wearing shoes without socks, extra sweaty skin — summer is prime blister time for your poor feet. Excessive moisture from the heat is one cause of those fluid-filled bubbles which can occur as a result of friction.
How to treat them: Preventing blisters is your first line of defense. Make sure your shoes fit well and aren’t too small or too big, and if you’re prone to sweaty feet, wear an insole or moisture-wicking socks to prevent rubbing. Once you have a blister, try not to pop it; wearing plasters and thicker socks can help reduce the friction while it heals.
SUMMER SKIN PROBLEM: HEAT RASH
Also known as prickly heat, this skin rash is caused by sweat glands becoming blocked and inflamed. It’s usually harmless and will go away on its own but it can be intensely itchy and small spots or blisters may develop. lt’s common in babies because their sweat glands aren’t fully developed.
How to treat it: Seek out shade and cool the skin down with a cold compress or cooling shower. Wear loose, lightweight cotton clothing that allows skin to breathe. To soothe heat rash, use calamine lotion or a topical cream recommended by your pharmacist
SUMMER SKIN PROBLEM: MOSQUITO BITES
That familiar buzz of mosquitoes is something we all know about (especially at 11 pm when you’re trying to sleep). Spending more time outdoors at barbecues or when camping means greater exposure to some of the more annoying aspects of summer, including mosquitoes. While some people experience only a mild reaction to a mosquito bite, others can spend all summer dealing with the itch.
How to treat them: Keep insect repellent handy and use it before going outside, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. If you do get bitten, ice packs can reduce the swelling.
SUMMER SKIN PROBLEM: DRY SKIN
Days spent in the sun, surf, pools, and aircon can leave your skin feeling tighter and drier than usual. Air travel can also make skin feel more parched, as the low humidity levels in the cabin can accelerate dehydration levels, according to a 2020 study.
How to treat it: The first line of defense is always using sun protection. Always look for suncare products that have good UV protection and apply them regularly to your face and body. Cover up with clothing or a hat, seek shade, and avoid the sun when it’s very strong (usually between 10 am and 4 pm). Drinking lots of water is also important for your skin health and hydration.
TIP: As we all know, using sunscreen is very important. Be extra cautious. Always read the label and follow the directions for use. Avoid prolonged sun exposure and wear protective clothing, eyewear, and a hat.
Lift Weights for Better Skin
Strength training is great for improved bone density and muscle tone, but new research has found it can also make your skin look more youthful at a cellular level. The study, which was done on middle-aged Japanese women, found that both aerobic exercise and resistance workouts (lifting weights or using your body weight as resistance) improved the underlying health of facial skin cells and tissue, but the most pronounced effects occurred when people lifted weights. Time to add weight training to your skincare routine?
How to Exercise (Safely) in the Heat
Hot and humid days can make it harder to stick to a regular workout routine. But there are ways to keep up your weekly exercise, even when the temperature rises. Follow these rules from Sports Medicine to hit your step count, it’s recommended that people aged 16-84 get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week.
Adjust your timing
If you’re used to exercising at a moderate to high intensity, switch your workouts to early morning or the evening to avoid the risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. If you start to feel unwell, stop exercising, seek shade, and drink water.
When you exercise and sweat on hot days, your body loses water. To minimize dehydration, drink two cups of water in the two hours before exercising. During your workout, sip cool water to help control your body temperature.
Wear a hat
Caps don’t provide adequate sun protection, so wear a broad-brimmed hat and apply waterproof sunscreen.
Modify your warm-up
On hot days, shorten the duration and intensity of your warm-up session to keep your body temperature lower before you work out.
When the temperature is above 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius), limit the intensity of your workout and stick to less than 60 minutes of exercise. Take more breaks than usual or consider a water workout instead, such as swimming.