Healthy lifestyle and wellbeing

Making small changes to your lifestyle can have an impact on the way you think, feel and look.


Five ways to wellbeing

To improve your mental wellbeing practice these actions regularly:

Connect – with people around you, family, friends, colleagues and neighbours.  At home, work, school or in your local community.  Think of these as cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them.  Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.

Be active – go for a walk or run. Step outside.  Get off the bus one stop earlier than usual. Cycle.  Play a game. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good.  Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy; one that suits your level of mobility and fitness.  Take a walk, go cycling or have a kick about in a local park.  Find an activity that you enjoy and make it part of your life.

Take notice – put a plant on your desk.  Notice the changing seasons.  Take time to ‘clear the clutter’ from home or work.  Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling.  Try visiting a new place. Take a different route to or from your work.

Keep learning – try something new.  Rediscover an old interest.  Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving.  Learning new things can be fun and make you more confident.

Give – do something nice for a friend or a stranger.  Volunteer your time for a cause you are passionate about. Spend time with someone who you know has been having a difficult time. Join a community group. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and will create connections with the people around you.

Also visit other information on five ways to wellbeing

Getting a good night’s sleep

  • Go to bed and wake up at a regular time.  Don’t lie in for more than an hour on weekends
  • Exercise regularly but not too close to bedtime
  • Your surroundings should be cool, dark, quiet and comfortable.  Switch off electrical appliances including those with a bright screen (laptop, smart phone)
  • Take a warm bath and have a milky drink or a cup of herbal tea (caffeine free)
  • Use relaxation exercises – see relaxation pages
  • If you can’t get to sleep after 30 minutes, get up and do something relaxing
  • Reduce your intake of caffeine in food and drink such as chocolate, coffee and tea especially within six hours of bedtime
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol close to bedtime.  Although alcohol may help you fall asleep, it will affect the quality of sleep
  • Don’t worry about not getting enough sleep

What about sleep?

Sleep is important for your health and wellbeing.  Everyone has problems sleeping at one time or another.  You may have difficulty sleeping, sleep too much or wake up tired.  When you are worried about something, this can affect your sleeping pattern.  People also worry about not getting enough sleep, which in turn leads to sleeplessness.  In general, people tend to sleep for an average of eight hours although this does vary for everyone and can be between 5-10 hours.

Why is sleep important?

The main function of sleep is to rest and repair your body and mind and renew your energy.  A lack of sleep affects your brain’s ability to function properly resulting in the effects of poor sleep, such as feeling tired, irritable and having difficulty in concentrating.

What affects sleep?

  • Medicines: check if any tablets you are taking affect sleep
  • Physical health problems: if you feel unwell or are in pain this can keep you awake
  • Surroundings: if your bed and bedroom are uncomfortable i.e. your mattress, or the temperature in your room
  • Ageing: as you get older you tend to sleep less and less deeply
  • Feeling stressed:  if you are anxious or worrying about problems

Remember to:

Eating healthily

  • Make an effort to eat regular balanced meals and try not to skip breakfast
  • Add more wholegrain foods, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, fruit, vegetables and oily fish to your meals
  • Be aware of foods that can affect your mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, sugary foods and processed foods

Drink in moderation

  • Drinking too much alcohol to deal with problems can make you feel worse as well as having a bad effect on your health
  • Drink in moderation and find other ways of dealing with your problems

Keep active

  • Try to be active daily and do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week, and strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all your major muscles
  • Any activity that makes you breathe heavier than normal and makes you feel slightly warmer, will be of benefit
  • Find something you really enjoy, as you are more likely to keep doing it

Avoid smoking

  • Smoking is often used as a way of coping with stress, however in the long-term smoking increases stress and anxiety
  • Find other ways of dealing with your problems which tackle underlying causes
  • Stopping smoking is the one thing you can do to dramatically increase your chances of living a longer life