I posted about the first of these recently.  This is so simple yet true.  Let’s go through each of them

1.WATER ??

We are fortunate enough to have a continuous supply of good drinking water on tap, we should definitely make the most of it. Drinking water rehydrates us which helps us concentrate, prevents headaches, flushes out toxins and helps boost our immune system.

#smallchange1 try to have a glass of water with each of your cups of tea/coffee this week

2. AIR ??

This was never as important to me as after I had each of my three boys. I loved being outside in the fresh air. It was beneficial for me as their crying didn’t seem as loud when I was out in the open, and it was good for them too because, as the old wives tale goes, I felt that they slept better.

It was in the news recently here in Scotland that GP’s would be able to prescribe fresh air and walks for patients. GP’s in Shetland are to start prescribing birdwatching, rambling and beach walks in the Atlantic winds to help treat chronic and debilitating illnesses for the first time. These are to be called nature prescriptions. In truth many of us recommend fresh air to patients but this grabbed the headlines.

Everyone loves the feeling of stepping into a crisp winter day. Nature stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system which is the ‘rest and digest’ system in our bodies letting it dominate over the ‘fight or flight’ sympathetic nervous system allowing us to calm down. There was a study done at the University of Essex in 2010 which said even 5 minutes of fresh air and being with nature improved mood and self esteem.

#smallchange2 try a 10 minute walk at lunchtime a couple of days this week and see how your afternoon goes!

3. EXERCISE ???‍♀️??‍♀️??‍♂️??‍♂️

What’s your exercise thing? I’ve tried everything, no joke. Currently I am loving spin class and yoga classes. Weird mixture you might say! The main reason I’ve stuck with a certain activity has always has been the company. I love the atmosphere of spin class and the speed at which it goes past. And with yoga classes I love the effect it has on me for my afternoon surgery that day ( we do yoga for 45 mins at lunchtime in the waiting room of our surgery).
The guidelines in Scotland recommend 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week or 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise in a week. You can click on the link below for a summary. For someone who is just starting out this might seem like a mountain to get over to get any benefit – but I would say 2 things.  Firstly, anything is better than nothing if you are not exercising at the moment. Secondly even 10 minutes of a fast walk daily will add up. Also do you know the benefits of standing? Some studies have shown that standing is not only better for reducing neck and back pain but it also prevents our metabolism slowing down the way it does when we sit. Have a look at our Instagram page for further information.

#smallchange3 try to stand for a couple of minutes an hour if you are a desk worker

4. DIET ????????

This is a huge topic. There is so much information out there about diet. The low fat, high fat, low carb, ketogenic, intermittent fasting, plant based, vegan. We will go into this in more detail in future posts and take you through the pros and cons of many of these ways of eating. For me I believe the best diet for you is one you can stick with. If I had to simplify down the best diet for health it would be a whole food plant based diet with chicken and fish as needed or wanted. Cut out as much processed food as you can and replace them with more vegetables.

smallchange4 try to go Monday and Tuesday with your main course being plant based and see how it feels. Please also remember #balance! Where would we all be without a little bit of what we fancy!

5. RELAX ??‍♂️???

We all know that our lives are non stop. We are often on the go all the time. From the moment we are woken by an alarm on our phones, we check our notifications, rush to get ourselves and families up and out with the best breakfast we can, straight into car where we sit in traffic rushing to work and then head down for a long day at work and so the day continues. Weekends are often no better as we try and squeeze in our own exercise between all the kids clubs that we’ve signed up for to give our kids what we feel are the best opportunities. Oh, and that’s not forgetting the 4year olds hectic social life that frankly I’m a bit jealous of!
In the past I thought relaxation was probably being unproductive and lazy. I didn’t appreciate that it is a vital part of ensuring the health of our mind and body. Self love is a very common phrase right now. Actually this is good as it normalises the idea for people who in the past might have thought they shouldn’t need it or wouldn’t let themselves take time for themselves. So how do we do this? Well everyone is different. For some relaxation could be switching their phone off, taking a few minutes to breath and meditate, catching up with friends when really you have too much on, doing a yoga class or reading a book.

#smallchange5 for instant relaxation try this breathing exercise. Breathe in for 3 and out for 4. Repeat this 5 times just to reset yourself.

6. SUNSHINE ☀️ ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️ Being a fair haired Scottish girl I’m paying the price for trying to ‘boost’ my tan in my 20’s. It is/was impossible for me physically to get a tan. Even despite this I appreciate the benefits of the sun. Is there anyone who wouldn’t say sunshine brightens your mood? Transport yourself back to April when the spring brings us more sunny days, it puts a smile on our faces. Sunshine helps us sleep. The brighter your sun exposure in the morning the more melatonin, our sleep hormone, you produce and this along with other contributors helped regular our natural sleep/ wake rhythm called the circadian rhythm.

Finally and most importantly in Scotland is that sunshine gives us our vitamin D. We need vitamin D to help our immune system and also to help strengthen our bones by helping the body absorb the minerals calcium and phosphorus. These are essential for our bones teeth and muscles. You can get some Vitamin D from oily fish, red meat and eggs. However the main source is from direct sunlight on our skin. From April till September we ‘should’ be able to get all the vitamin D we need from sunlight. Interesting fact! You can make Vitamin D when you are taller than your shadow ?.

I have attached the guidelines from Scotland that suggest supplementing your diet with Vitamin D from October until March.

#smallchange6 look at getting a Vitamin D supplement for the winter months for you and your family.

There is a lot here and we may not be able to achieve it all at once. Small changes like we suggest all add up, they are an investment in ourselves because we are all worth it.

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