Health and wellbeing are two terms often used interchangeably. Arguably, the subtle difference between the two is that wellbeing can be achieved through making the right decisions when faced with small choices daily around diet, exercise and sleep. Wellbeing encompasses more than just physical health. It’s about your emotional state, your relationships, quality of life and the realisation of your potential and goals.

When it comes to physical health, many people have a predisposition to certain illnesses such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, and subsequently have less control over their health. However, the more you focus on achieving wellbeing, the more likely you can improve your overall physical health as well.

Here are 10 ways to optimise wellbeing in your daily life:

  1. Eat whole foods. Eating healthy not only decreases our risk of developing certain diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, but it’s also known to improve our overall sense of mood and wellbeing. Look for foods full of omega 3’s, complex carbohydrates, antioxidants and probiotics such unprocessed foods; wholegrains and lots of fresh fruit and veggies.
  2. Exercise regularly. A good daily exercise routine is integral to sound physical, emotional and cognitive wellbeing. Physical activity that gets your heart rate up is also beneficial to overall happiness in a multitude of ways. Exercise is a great mood booster because it increases the production of endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in the brain that reduce the perception of pain and triggers a positive feeling in the body, so it can help reduce anxiety, depression and tension. Exercise elevates energy levels and helps increase self-confidence by building feelings of accomplishment.
  3. Flex your brain. Working through a puzzle, playing Sudoku, completing the daily crossword, or reading before bed are all ways to improve memory, focus and daily cognitive function.
  4. Get quality sleep. Sleep is known to keep our immunity healthy and allows our bodies to repair and gives our brains some downtime. Adequate sleep also promotes a balanced mood – think of how cranky and erratic you are when you’re short on sleep. It increases our productivity, which ultimately leads to overall greater satisfaction and general happiness. The average adult should be sleeping 7- 9 hours a night, but we all know our own bodies and what we need. A good indicator is being able to wake up in the mornings without the aid of an alarm clock.
  5. Live in the moment. Learning to live in the moment by being more mindful helps us deal with stress and anxiety – that way we’re not dwelling on the past or future, nor things outside of our control. Meditation can help us achieve this state. It promotes physical and mental health, and because it is a mindful exercise, it increases intuition, compassion and a sense of gratitude. Most importantly it improves our ability to handle stressful situations by gaining perspective, and find ways to make the most of any situation we find ourselves in.
  6. Take time out for yourself. This could be through enjoying a hobby like knitting or gardening. Much like meditation, it focuses your attention in the here and now, and therefore reduces stress and anxiety. It also improves focus, creativity and a sense of achievement.
  7. Get social. A sense of community and belonging plays a major role in optimising wellbeing. We are social creatures by nature. A healthy social life has been proven to increase happiness, longevity and life satisfaction.
  8. Be kind to yourself. Delegate, you don’t have to be a superhero in every aspect of your life. A lot of us burden ourselves with unnecessary responsibilities. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to fail. Not everything has to be done today. Relax. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
  9. Go for annual health check-ups. Annual health check-ups are essential so that if you are predisposed to any health issues, they can be picked up as early as possible and treated.
  10. Stay on track with your financial goals. Financial security gives you peace of mind. You may have no control over falling ill or being in an accident, and having to take sick leave to recover. But you do have control over what measures you’ve put in place should this happen.

For more interesting articles on this subject, click on the links below:

5 Types of food to increase your psychological wellbeing

13 brain exercises to keep you mentally sharp

Boost your wellbeing by bringing conscious awareness of your breath

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