2020 is here and as it’s the start of the year, it’s a brilliant time to focus on yourself and try new ways to help you feel happier and healthier.

There are lots of things you can do to stay healthy, both physically and mentally, but here we’ve focussed on 20 simple ways to help you achieve this.

1. Try to write down at least once a day something you are grateful for – feeling gratitude is proven to help our mental health, as studies show it can increase happiness levels by an average of 25%1

2. Wake up at the same time every day, and try to avoid the snooze button – if you have a consistent waking time, you’ll soon feel more alert and have more energy daily2

3. Make a list of 20 small things that you enjoy doing, and make sure you do at least one of these things daily. It could be anything from calling a friend for a chat, reading a chapter of a new book or allowing yourself a small treat

4. Focus on your breathing – try taking one minute and focus on deep breathing, thoughts will come and go but with practice you will relax your brain

5. If you feel anxious or stressed, write down what caused that feeling and find somebody to talk to about it. In time, you’ll learn to understand your triggers and hopefully avoid these situations in future

6. Stretch every day – stretching keeps the muscles strong, healthy and flexible which in turn helps to maintain a good range of motion in the joints3

7. If you’re facing a problem, break it down into small chunks and deal with each part separately. This will help you to deal with the problem at hand as it will seem less overwhelming

8. Always take the stairs – how many times do we take the easy option and jump on escalators and into lifts? Think of the extra calories you could burn by taking the stairs! Try for a whole month, it should get easier and easier

9. Start your day with a protein packed breakfast – research shows that a breakfast with 30g of protein can boost your metabolism, whilst keeping you fuller for longer2

10. Cut down on caffeine – the consumption of too much caffeine can increase feelings of stress and anxiety, disrupt your sleep and play havoc with your digestion4

11. Write down the three people who make you happy and who you laugh with – make a plan to spend more time with them

12. Help those in need – you could support a charity, volunteer, or just spend some time with someone who might be feeling lonely – positive acts towards others can release a healthy dose of feel-good hormones5

13. Disconnect with your phone and tablets – on average, we spend around three hours and 15 minutes on our phones daily and we pick it up around 58 times.6 Think about how you could utilise that time better for something more productive!

14. Set yourself objectives to take up a new activity or meet new friends – social people tend to be happier7

15. Put your loose change in a jar – a penny here and there doesn’t seem like it’s going to make a difference, but if you set yourself a challenge to put aside all loose change less than a 50p piece, it might surprise you how quickly you can fill your jar!

16. Learn to accept that some things are beyond your control – often, many of our worries can be a direct result of situations that we just cannot control. Take a step back, relax and you’ll soon come to terms with this fact

17. Limit the amount of time you spend browsing social media – social media adds stress to your life in numerous ways; it’s addictive, it can affect daily activities, it can inhibit the quality of your sleep and it can be isolating.8 Set yourself a daily time limit – you can even set limits within some of the apps themselves to completely remove the temptation

18. Fill your home with health boosting plants – plants can increase our wellbeing by reducing toxins in the air, providing a constant flow of oxygen and they can even improve mood and increase productivity. Find out more about the best plants to keep in your home to boost your wellbeing

19. Drink plenty of water – it might sound obvious, but this is really important for your overall health and wellbeing and you should be aiming for 2 litres a day.9 If you find you forget, set up a reminder on your phone to ensure you’re drinking on a regular basis throughout the day

20. And finally…learn to love yourself – you deserve happiness so ensure to take time just for you each day

For more inspiration on health and wellbeing, visit the Sovereign HealthHub.

To find out more about how our Good All Round cash plan can help with your everyday health, visit sovereignhealthcare.co.uk/good-all-round

1The Best Brain Possible, 2Life Hack, 3Harvard, 4Women’s Health, 5Psychology Today,  6The Guardian, 7Action for Happiness, 8The Jakarta Post, 9Healthline

Photo credit: dizain

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