Health & Wellbeing

Taking care of your health and wellbeing should always be a priority. Well-being comes in many different shapes and sizes and takes many different forms - including physical and mental. In terms of your physical health, this is a hugely multifaceted subject, and it is always highly valuable to look at your physical health from a holistic point of view, meaning to look at the whole picture. What are you eating? How often are you moving and exercising? Are you getting enough sleep at night? Are you staying hydrated? Do you have any health concerns that you have avoided addressing? These are all factors that contribute greatly to your overall physical wellbeing and lacking in one area can impact the whole picture.

 

Food

It is important to maintain a balanced diet for your overall health and wellbeing. Though this can be hard to maintain, and it is not uncommon for people to be inconsistent in this. The NHS Eat Well campaign advises to:

  • Consume at least five fruits and vegetables per day.
  • Try to base your meals on high fibre, startchy foods such as potatoes, rice, brea or pasta.
  • Eat protein daily (and this does not necessarily mean meat!). Beans, pulses, lentils, chickpeas, fish and meat all come under the protein category.
  • Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat them in moderation.
  • Try to drink around 2 litres of water daily.

Please note, this is the recommended diet for the general population. If you have certain dietary requirements due to a condition, please consult your doctor about this. Diet and what you eat has a massive impact on your learning and your mental health. There have been many studies looking at the effects of skipping meals and restricting nutrients. These studies show that when you eat poorly your working memory (the bit that stores and manipulates information) doesn’t work as effectively. So remember this, eat sensibly throughout the day!

 

Eating Well on a Budget

The idea of eating a balanced diet is always something that can come across as daunting, particularly when you are working on a strict budget. Some money-saving techniques include:

  • Bulk buy and bulk make meals, freeze them and eat them throughout the week or month.
  • Be mindful of pricing, try to get the cheaper version of the product you are looking for.
  • Shop in the cheaper supermarkets such as Lidl or Adli
  • Put your money together and cook with friends to save on food costs.
  • Plan your meals at the beginning of the week, you can put together a Monday-Sunday plan to guide you through.
  • Be inventive with what is in your cupboard to avoid food going out of date.

 

Eating cheap and healthy as a Vegan/Vegetarian

  • Use the vegan sections of budget recipe websites like Bootstrap Cook or Budget Bytes.
  • Plan ahead - shop for a few days at a time so you don't end up spending unnecessary money buying food out each day.
  • You don't need to do a 'weekly shop' - if you're cooking for one, sometimes shopping for a whole week means you end up buying fruit and veg that will go off by the end of the week.
  • Buy frozen fruit and veg, it's cheaper than fresh.
  • Check the discounted stuff in the supermarket that's about to go off, if there's stuff worth having in there then you can adjust your meal plan by a day or so and save more money.
  • Wash out old jars of pasta sauce or peanut butter and take them to bulk buying shops like Kent Unboxed in Canterbury to buy grains, flour, nuts, seeds, etc in a cheaper way.
  • Buy 'accidentally vegan' snacks like supermarket own brand crisps, fruit and nut mixes, Oreos, Party Rings...vegan food doesn't have to be fancy or expensive!
  • Make vegan alternatives a 'sometimes' food - buying vegan versions of meat and cheese can be a lot more expensive than using vegetables, beans and legumes - you could make a vegan shepherds pie or lasagna using lentils and vegetables rather than vegan mince and it'll cost you less.
  • Cook bigger batches when you can - on the weekend, make a veggie chilli or curry with a few extra portions to eat at a later time.
  • Don't plan to be someone you're not - if you know that you don't really like a certain vegetable or dish, or you've made a meal plan that's extremely healthy and not particularly appetising to you, you probably won't eat it and you will have wasted the food. Plan meals that you are excited to eat so that you stick to your meal plan.

 

Sleep

Getting enough sleep at night is so much more important than you may think. Recent studies have shown that sleep is an essential function. It allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up. Healthy sleep also helps the body remain healthy and fight off illness. Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly. It is easy to fall into a bad sleep cycle and the effects can be detrimental to your health – it can cause many physical ailments such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Most of us need 8 hours of sleep per night. This isn’t always easy to attain, so here are some tips to help you sleep at night:

  • Wake up at a good time to make sure you have enough time in the day to burn plenty of energy.
  • Don’t take naps after 3pm and don’t nap for longer than 20 minutes.
  • Avoid caffeine late in the day.
  • Try to structure your workload so you aren’t kept up by anxiety and things you need to do.
  • Have a routine, go to bed at a similar time each evening and create an evening ritual. Whether this is skincare, reading, or watching your favourite tv show, a structured routine in the evenings allows your body to recognise when it is nearing time to sleep, and it can help you switch off.
  • Try to avoid screens for at least an hour before going to sleep.

 

Excercise

Depending on your own personal preferences, you may want to consider getting some light exercise in, not just for your physical health but for your mental health. We understand that not everyone has the physical, financial or mental abilities to stick to a strict exercise plan, so perhaps find something that works for you, don’t push yourself too hard and be kind to yourself. Even just getting outside now and then will do heaps of good for your overall well being.