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 31 simple ways to enjoy a daily health and wellbeing boost

Lifestyle change doesn't have to be huge and overwhelming. Sometimes the smallest changes add up to the biggest impact. So take it easy with some simple and achievable mini goals.

Join us for 31 days of bite-sized actions for a daily wellbeing boost ... and then claim your #SmallChange Champion certificate at the end - you'll find a link at the bottom of this page. 

small change campaign

Day 1: Go to bed an hour early 

 Most adults need at least seven hours sleep a night to support their health and wellbeing. Lack of sleep has been linked to a higher risk for certain diseases and medical conditions, including: obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, poor mental health, and early death. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/why-do-we-need-sleepStruggle to sleep? Try this: NHS bedtime meditation video: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/bedtime-meditation/ 

Day 2: Drink four large glasses of water today 

 Our bodies are made up of about 60% water so being dehydrated can affect us both physically and mentally. The NHS recommends that the average adult should aim to drink between 6-8 glasses a day. This may vary depending on your age and activity levels. You may need more water if you are exercising or when the weather is hot. Discover the top five benefits of drinking more water: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/what-are-health-benefits-drinking-water 

Day 3: Declutter a cupboard  

Decluttering can really help your mental wellbeing. It's a chance to clear the decks, make space - and do good - why not donate unwanted items to charity? Try not to tackle too much in one go. Start with a cupboard or even just a messy drawer. Such a satisfying feeling to get a little part of your life in order. The first step is to completely empty each space, assess each item and put everything you want to keep back where it belongs. Here’s how to declutter your home without feeling overwhelmed: https://www.family-action.org.uk/our-voices/2020/06/01/how-to-declutter-without-feeling-overwhelmed/ 

Day 4: Cook a meal with your family 

Turn family teatime into a real occasion by not only sitting down to eat together but also making the meal together, too!  Children will love helping with some of the smaller tasks and the chore of cooking becomes an adventure. Why not finish the evening with some board games while you have everyone round the table? Here are some delicious, simple and healthy recipes: https://www.nhs.uk/healthier-families/recipes/dinner/ 

Day 5: Do some stretches while the kettle boils 

 Getting active doesn’t need to be about finding big chunks of time to do exercise, it can just be about doing things that fit into your daily routine, as and when you can. Every one of us, no matter how busy, can find a few minutes to move more in our day. Let’s go! We love these mini workouts that fit into teeny-tiny scraps of time: https://weareundefeatable.co.uk/ways-to-move/five-in-five  

Day 6: Start the day with a healthy breakfast 

Breakfast is often called 'the most important meal of the day', When you wake up, the blood sugar your body needs to make your muscles and brain work is usually low from fasting overnight. If your body doesn’t get that fuel you may feel zapped of energy - and you'll be more likely to overeat later in the day. Skipping breakfast can throw off your body’s rhythm of fasting and eating. A good, healthy breakfast will set you up for the day. https://www.nhs.uk/healthier-families/recipes/breakfast/ 

 Day 7: Go for a 10 minute walk 

 Go for a short walk – start with 10 minutes, build it up. We should all be aiming for 10,000 steps a day to help us achieve the current recommended activity target, which is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week. Start small and build up your steps over time. Today is the first day of a more active you. Why not use your phone to track your daily steps – download the Active 10 app:   https://www.livewelldorset.co.uk/articles/active-10-app/ 

 

Day 8: Notice three things in nature 

Take a couple of minutes to step outside and experience what is going on in the nature. Notice three things around you – something you see, smell or hear. How do they make you feel? Studies have shown that an activity as simple as watching birds in the garden can improve people's feelings of wellbeing and relaxation.   Get more ideas on how to connect with nature https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/publications/thriving-nature 

Day 9: Have an alcohol-free day 

If going without alcohol entirely is a step too far, why not just introduce some drink free days?  It's recommended that we drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week. That's around 6 medium (175ml) glasses of wine, or 6 pints of 4% beer. There's no completely safe level of drinking, but sticking within these guidelines and having a few drink-free days every week  lowers your risk of harming your health.  Try the drink free days app to keep you on track: https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/drink-less/ 

Day 10: Eat five pieces of fruit or veg  

 Try and eat a rainbow of five portions of fruit and veg every day. Don’t like veg? Try making soup or a pasta sauce with the veggies hidden in the blend. Not keen on fruit? Try a smoothie. Find out what counts as a one of your five-a-day. This handy NHS guide will help: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/5-a-day/5-a-day-what-counts/ 

Day 11: March on the spot during an advert break 

Make the most of every opportunity to move more. On the sofa watching telly? Try marching your way through the TV breaks instead of sitting. A typical break lasts for four minutes. Really lift your knees and swing your arms to get a good workout. If you can’t stand, try a seated march, lifting your legs one at a time. Find more ideas for workouts that take just minutes here: https://weareundefeatable.co.uk/ways-to-move/five-in-five 

Day 12: Walk part of your journey 

 Get off the bus two stops earlier, park further away from the shops, or why not walk or cycle with your kids to school! Active travel will benefit you as well as protect our environment. It’s recommended that adults take part in 2.5 hours of moderate activity per week. Thirty minutes of exercise Monday to Friday is the perfect length of time for short, local journeys on foot or by bike. Here are five great tips for going car-free and reaping the health rewards. https://www.sustrans.org.uk/our-blog/get-active/2020/in-your-community/five-tips-for-going-car-free/ 

Day 13: Name three things you feel lucky to have 

Number13 - some people say it is an unlucky number, but forget the superstition. Focus on the very best bits of your life.  Write down three things which you feel lucky to have. No matter what our situation, no matter how difficult life can feel at times, there are always things to be thankful for and to cherish.  We love this Action for Happiness Guide which reminds us to look for what’s good: https://actionforhappiness.org/10-keys/emotions 

Day14: Measure the portions on your plate 

 Eating a healthy balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight isn’t just about what you eat – it’s also about how much you eat. You should choose a variety of food from different food groups to get all the nutrients you need. And eat a number of portions from each food group every day. Find out what your dinner plate should look like:https://www.livewelldorset.co.uk/articles/nhs-eatwell-plate/ Do you know what a single portion of cheese looks like, or a single portion of chicken? Find out: https://www.livewelldorset.co.uk/articles/measuring-portion-sizes/ 

 

Day 15: Take a break from your phone for an hour 

We can't live without them. Our phones go everywhere with us and we check, check, check them every few minutes.  It is all too easy to get sucked into social media, aimless scrolling, texting, browsing. But overusing our phones is associated with stress, anxiety, and poor sleep.  Find out how switching off your phone for even just an hour a day can reap mental and physical health benefits:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-good-life-ritual/202203/the-power-powering-your-phone-just-hour 

Day 16: Check in with someone who may be struggling 

Today is #BlueMonday, so why not check-in with a friend or neighbour and see how they are doing.  It will be good for you and good for them.  Lift someone out of loneliness or give them a chance to talk about how they are feeling. Perhaps a short walk for some fresh air and a friendly chat. Exercise and understanding company, two great boosts for mental wellbeing. Here’s a practical guide to supporting someone from Mind, the mental health charity: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/seeking-help-for-a-mental-health-problem/helping-someone-else-seek-help/ 

Day 17: Do 10 squats or sit to stands   

Squats are a great workout for lots of muscles in the lower body, increasing core strength, improve stability, burn calories and help strengthen the joints, muscles and ligaments in our legs, lowering the chance of injuring your knees or ankles. Watch this video to find out how to perform a squat correctly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFmAmgCg8W8 and how to perform a sit to stand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4PxKv3Z2NcWhy squats are good for you: https://uk.womensbest.com/blogs/fitness/11-benefits-of-squats 

Day 18: Sit still for five minutes and be mindful

Life is so busy. How often do you sit still away from distractions and just 'be' for a few moments? Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better. It helps us begin to experience afresh things that we have been taking for granted and helps us stand back from unhelpful thoughts. Try one of these simple mindfulness exercises. https://www.livewelldorset.co.uk/articles/introduction-to-mindfulness-five-free-practices/ 

Day 19: Turn leftover veg into soup 

 Reduce waste and eat well by using leftover veg to make a nutritious homemade soup. With food prices skyrocketing it makes sense to get the most from the food we buy. A simple bowl of hot soup is easy, delicious and comforting. Here are so recipes that use up everything from leftover roast dinner to curry: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/5-easy-ways-make-soup-leftovers-0 

Day 20: Dance to your favourite song   

It’s time to tune into the kitchen disco! Turn on your favourite feel-good song and have a dance. Jiggle, jog, shimmy, shake...get moving and encourage others to join in. Some Abba, perhaps or a spot of Saturday Night Fever? Get into the groove! Find inspiration here: https://www.smoothradio.com/features/top-songs/best-disco-songs-ever-ranked/ And discover the benefits of a boogie: https://www.axahealth.co.uk/health-information/exercise-and-fitness/the-health-benefits-of-dancing/ 

Day 21: Try a new activity with a friend 

 Have an adventure! Call up a friend and plan an activity you have never done before. Have fun, try something new. If you can make it something active that involved the outdoors, so much the better. Pack a picnic, wrap up warm and enjoy a complete break from the everyday. We love the national Trust’s guide to 50 Things To Do Before You Are 11. Aimed at children they work for any age – unleash your inner child! https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/50-things-to-do-before-youre-11--activity-list 

Day 22: Do an online exercise class 

There has been an explosion in online exercise videos since lockdown. Make the most of this chance to get more active. By working out at home you'll save time, save money and have some privacy if you are feeling a bit body conscious. Plus it gives you the ultimate flexibility to find a time that works for you. Choose from all sorts of classes from yoga to a HIIT workout from the NHS  Fitness Studio: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-fitness-studio/

Day 23: Have a meat-free day!  

#MeatFreeMonday...go meat-free for a day. There are multiple benefits of going meat-free, even for one day a week, particularly red meat with its high levels of saturated fat. These include reducing the risk of heart failure, heart disease, stroke; reduces your cholesterol levels and your risk of cancer. Plus, you'll make some savings in your weekly shop. We love these recipe ideas: https://realfood.tesco.com/curatedlist/meat-free-monday.html 

Day 24: Pay yourself a compliment 

 It’s National Compliment Day. Whether you write it down, send a message or compliment someone in person, today’s the day to say something nice to someone. Or how about complimenting yourself? We are often so hard on ourselves and give all our time, care – and compliments – to others. Think of three things you like about yourself and say them out loud. Yesss! Be kinder to yourself with these top 10 tips: https://seasanctuary.org.uk/ten-ways-be-kind-to-yourself/ 

Day 25: Do 10 star jumps or arm raises 

Feel like you’re always sitting for too long? Stand up and do some star jumps, shake your body, get your blood pumping and your push up your heartrate. You will feel so much better afterwards. Star jumps activate muscle groups across your upper and lower body. Begin by standing in a quarter squat position with your feet hip-width apart and a slight bend in your knees. Push into the floor and jump with an explosive movement. Do the perfect star jump: https://www.menshealth.com/uk/fitness/a753534/star-jump/

Day 26:  Be curious and learn something new  

Let's grow our knowledge and learn something new. Research has shown that learning new skills can improve your mental wellbeing by boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem. This in turn can help you build a new sense of purpose. https://www.livewelldorset.co.uk/articles/five-ways-to-wellbeing-learn/ 

Day 27: Write down three things you are proud of 

Being proud of yourself isn't about having a high-flying career or being successful, it's about being proud of who you are and what you stand for: the relationships and friendships you have made, learning to stand up for yourself, overcoming an obstacle, learning a new skill. It's not the big things but all the small things that make you feel good about who you are. Here are some tips: https://www.wikihow.com/Be-Proud-of-Who-You-Are 

Day 28: Explore somewhere new  

We live in a beautiful county – but how well do you know it? For #ActiveSaturday get out and explore somewhere new. This could be a trip out to the coast, a countryside walk, or even just exploring a different part of your own neighbourhood. Take a different route, get a different outlook. You never know what’s around the corner. Here are some ideas for lovely Dorset walks: Our Dorset countryside has accessible walks for all · LiveWell Dorset 

Day 29: Focus on your breathing 

Tiday,  just take a moment to go outside and take a few deep breaths of fresh air. Focusing on your breathing is a really fantastic way to reduce stress, stay calm or just give yourself some much-needed headspace. Here's a breathing exercise you could try. It takes just a few minutes and can be done anywhere.  Breathing Exercise  

 

Day 30: Make a healthy food swap  

There is so much hidden sugar in our food. Did you know that simply swapping to plain cereals can cut a family's sugar intake by a quarter of a 1kg bag of sugar over four weeks! Swap sugary snacks such as sweets, biscuits, chocolate, cakes, pastries for fruit, unsalted nuts, rice cakes or toast. https://www.nhs.uk/healthier-families/food-facts/healthier-food-swaps/ 

Day 31: Ready for a Big Change?

 You’ve reached the end of 31 days of small changes. Did you complete them all? Will you turn any of these into a regular habit? Well done for taking these small steps to better health and wellbeing. Now you are ready to think about making a bigger change. Today we’ve inviting you to set a health goal. Write it down and pin it up somewhere you will see it.  

 

 

How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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