Sometimes we forget that making the simplest and smallest of changes can have the greatest of positive affects in our lives. Entering into the new year, we don’t need to make sweeping changes, but maybe encourage ourselves to have just a bit little extra.
A Good Night’s Rest
Research suggests that between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night is optimal for feeling refreshed and revitalised throughout the day, which is, of course, key to concentration. A great commitment would be to aim to have a full night’s rest, but understandably it’s not always possible. Instead, why not encourage yourself to go to bed each night just 15 – 20 minutes earlier than your usual time? Over the course of a week that would be roughly an extra 2 hours of sleep, or rest.
For advice on how to wind down for the day, and have the best sleep, see our Top Tips for a Restful Night’s Sleep.
A Brisk Walk
It takes the average person 17 to 20 minutes to walk a mile, a small window of time, for example, that might be available to you during your lunch break? A brisk walk encourages you to spend some time out of doors, and acts as a natural energiser, stimulating circulation and increasing the oxygen supply to your cells, which in turn can help you to feel more alert heading into the afternoon.
For many the simplest form of exercise, walking also offers a whole host of other health benefits, including strengthening your heart, and boosting your vitamin D intake.
A Balanced Diet
Eating healthily does not have to mean cutting out on all of your favourite foods and drink. For example, Natalie Stephens, a clinical dietician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center says, “Dark chocolate boosts serotonin and endorphin levels, which are associated with concentration.”
And, consuming a moderate amount of caffeine can be a great motivational boost. A study in 2005 undertaken by Florian Koppelstätter showed that caffeine stimulated the area of your brain connected with attention, concentration and planning.
Blueberries and bananas are also great snacks to have on hand when you need to focus. Research has found that both help to improve memory, and blueberries are especially tasty and juicy!
All of the above are things we know we should be doing, but can sometimes find ourselves dismissing with the pressures of our daily working lives and the pace of modern living. The irony, however, is that sleep, exercise and a balanced diet actually help alleviate the symptoms and reasons behind why we don’t spend more time looking after ourselves. The more alert and fresh you feel during the day, the easier it will be to focus and accomplish tasks, leading to greater productivity through concentration.