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We are bombarded with advice on how to feel and look better. We are constantly fed guidance on diet, exercise and the rest. So much so that it is easy to tune out and ignore it.

It is nevertheless good advice, but often difficult to know where to start.

Because of our tendency to cut out ‘non-essentials’ when we feel under pressure the first things to go are often the things that provide balance enable us to function well in the first place.

Keep Active

Take a walk, cycle, do sport or gardening. Make an activity that you enjoy part of your life.This is often the first thing to go when people start to feel worried, stressed or under pressure. Make sure you prioritise activity, it’ll help keep you sane and balanced, and it’s a simple and effective antidote to stress.

Connect

When we invest time in developing relationships with those around us we grow. Connecting with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours, is therapeutic. Connect too with yourself, understand and be true to your values. Know what it important to you.

Keep Learning

Developing an interest or learning new skills brings a sense of achievement and a new confidence. Completing something also provides tangible proof that we exist (in a world where the results of our efforts at work are so often invisible). Sign up for a cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or do some DIY.

Be Generous

In thought and deed. Even the smallest act can count, whether it’s a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Being generous and exercising compassion are more about a state of mind that the size of the physical act. It is impossible to be altruistic and the opposite – for example angry or hostile – at the same time.

Be Aware

Being aware means understanding yourself, and also being able to be present by learning to observe your thoughts and feelings. Practice by observing the world around you. A simple and proven route is to learn mindfulness techniques. This counters preoccupations with the past or anxiety about the future.

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