31st January 2020

Your 2020 Health & Wellbeing Journey Begins HERE

As February approaches, many of us will look back at a January full of change.

Healthier eating habits, new physical activity regimes and new mindsets; there’s nothing like the start of a new year to remind ourselves that Health & Wellbeing should feature firmly on our personal agenda. 

But here’s the catch: Despite our best intentions, research suggests that around 80% of new year’s resolutions are doomed to fail by February. Sombre way to start an article, right? Wrong! 

Over the past month, we’ve been filling our social media channels with wellbeing tips, tricks and insight. At Compass Group Ireland, we’re passionate about helping our community maintain the essential habits that help keep them happy and healthy. 

So, what can you do to stay on top of your wellbeing goals? 

Let’s start by reflecting on some of the basics…

Mind

Mental Health Ireland defines the characteristics of positive mental health as: “…when you can realise your own abilities, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and make a contribution to your community.”

The New Economics Foundation has developed “Five Ways to Wellbeing”, a set of evidence-based actions that you can take to improve your own mental health, but also that of those around you…

1. Connect: With the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community.

2. Be active: Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good.

3. Take notice: Be aware of the world around you and what you’re feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.

4. Keep learning: Try something new. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.

5. Give: Do something kind for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look ‘out’, as well as ‘in’.

But what if you’re still struggling? Thankfully, there are several resources you can call on if you need help:

  • Your GP
  • Support Groups
  • Counselling and mental health services
  • Helplines

Alternatively, head to either https://www.mentalhealthireland.ie/ or https://www.mind.org.uk for more information.

Compass Group Ireland customers and colleagues can also take advantage of our in-house Nourished Life advice service. Simply fill out the contact form, and one of our team will be in touch https://nourishedlife.ie/contact-us 

Physical Activity

It’s not all about rippling abs and bulging biceps. Regular physical activity can:

  • Significantly reduce your risk of developing major illnesses
  • Leave you feeling happier and more relaxed
  • Help you achieve faster, better and deeper sleep
  • Boost your energy levels so you can get more done
  • Help promote a healthier appetite and attitude towards food

To stay healthy, it’s recommended that adults should try to be active every day. You should aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week through a variety of activities. Can’t get to a gym? No problem:

At Home

Think aerobics, dance, combat, interval, circuits and weight training; have a browse online for tips. Everyday tasks can help get your heart rate up too; hoovering, gardening and even walking up and down the stairs!

Outdoors

Find a patch of green and get working! Combine stationary exercise such as star/lunge jumps with core exercises like planks and press-ups; all of these will work you hard and challenge your body!

At Work

Turn your commute into a lung-bursting cycle ride or an invigorating run. Work at a desk? Perfect. Try 5 daily minutes of leg raises, core tensing and butt clenches (seriously, they work!). Whatever you do, get into the habit of leaving your desk to stretch your legs throughout the day. The increased blood flow will help your productivity and prevent those pesky afternoon dips in concentration!

Want to step it up a notch?

There’s no shortage of exercise advice available online, but we’d recommend starting your search at our Nourished Life website. There’s plenty of guidance to take your drive for exercise up a gear, and for everything else: YouTube. 

We’ve curated three channels to push even the fittest to their limits…

  1. CrossFit. Great all-round fitness channel. Home workouts, lifting tips and even a few recipes make this a must-follow. 
  2. The Body Coach. Internet sensation and HIIT ambassador: Joe Wicks is no couch potato. Give his ‘7-Days of Sweat’ challenge a go for some home-based, heart-pumping action. 
  3. Fightmaster Yoga. Their motto: “It’s not about the pose,” is a refreshing approach for experienced Yogi’s and beginners alike. A great introduction to the physical and mental benefits of Yoga.

Nutrition

How much do you really understand about nutrition? 

Navigating the world of nutrition to maintain your wellness can be a daunting task. After all, Nutritionists use ideas from molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetics to understand how nutrients affect the human body.

To begin understanding nutrition, it helps to know a little about nutrients…

What Are Nutrients?

Nutrients are a collection of substances necessary for growth, health, good condition and are essential for the maintenance of life. Nutrients are typically classified under two categories: 

Macronutrients

These are things like carbohydrates, proteins and fats that we need to eat in relatively large amounts. They provide our bodies with energy and aid growth and body maintenance. 

Micronutrients

Think vitamins and minerals, which are the essential nutrients your body needs in small amounts to work properly. 

So, how can you be sure that you’re eating ‘the right stuff’!?

Well, ‘The Food Pyramid’ is an easy to understand visual guide of how different foods and drinks contribute towards a healthy balanced diet.  Healthy Ireland has created food plans and guides based on The Food Pyramid to support your adoption of a well-balanced diet.

Head to https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/70a2e4-the-food-pyramid to download the guides.

Keeping up the habit

You know what you have to do. While prioritising your wellness can sometimes feel like an uphill struggle, what better incentive do you need than a longer, happier life? 

Here are a few tricks to help those healthy habits stick past February, throughout 2020 and beyond…

  1. Start Small. Nothing slows long-term progression like short-term thinking. 
  2. Get Hooked. Put reminders in your phone to move during your working day. Buy that fitness tracker you’ve been eyeing up. Read about wellness. It’s harder to break a habit that you’re mentally invested in.
  3. Create a plan to meet your health goals. Start with a food diary, workout schedule or a sleep routine. 
  4. Visit the Nourished Life website at least once a week. This will help keep Health & Wellbeing at the forefront of your mind. 
Be happy, be healthy and importantly… Stay focused!
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