January 16th, 2024
5 completely free ways to improve your wellbeing in 2024
“Wellbeing” is a concept that, over recent years, has been increasingly monetised.
According to the Global Wellness Institute, the global wellness economy was valued at $5.6 trillion in 2022. This encompasses personal care and beauty, healthy eating and weight loss, and wellness vacations, among other sectors.
As we enter a new year, the subject of wellbeing may come up more frequently in conversations, on your social media pages, and even at work. And while there may be some ways to pay your way into wellness, such as a gym membership, there are plenty of free actions that may improve your wellbeing too.
Here are five completely free ways to improve your wellbeing in 2024.
1. Interact with strangers more often
A study of 60,000 people conducted in Istanbul, published by the Guardian, found that those who often said “good morning” to strangers reported greater life satisfaction.
While this used to be the norm in the UK, it may no longer be commonplace to greet people you don’t know or strike up a conversation with them. However, a huge part of our wellbeing is social interaction – and this includes talking to people you don’t know personally.
So, if you’d like to boost your confidence and improve community ties in 2024, starting with a simple “good morning” could be just what you need.
2. Take a short walk every day
It has become extremely common to track our daily step count with the aim of walking 10,000 steps a day or more.
While this may be positive for those attempting to become healthier, the 10,000 step target could be an unrealistic expectation for some. This could lead to many individuals feeling disheartened – if you can’t walk 10,000 steps, it might feel pointless to even go for a walk at all.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The 10,000 step count was introduced by a Japanese fitness company before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, in order to sell a popular pedometer ahead of the event.
In actual fact, any amount of walking could be positive for your health. One study measured people’s daily step count alongside others of their age, and according to the BBC, even incremental increases in step count made a difference to their life expectancy.
With this in mind, make sure to take a short walk each day. If you can’t jump on the treadmill and meet your 10,000-step goal, it does not matter – just get outside and walk for as long as you can, even if it’s 10 minutes.
3. Tell people you love them more often
A study by the University of Pennsylvania, published by Harvard Health, found that its 411 participants reported much higher happiness scores after writing a letter of gratitude to someone that meant a lot to them.
This is just one small example of how expressing love and gratitude – a totally cost-free act – could seriously improve your wellbeing this year.
Sadly, it is easy to take our loved ones for granted. While you may thank a stranger for helping you when you’ve dropped your shopping on the pavement, for example, you might not show the same amount of gratitude to someone you see every day.
Luckily, it’s quite simple to rectify this: start telling people you love them more often. This could be spoken out loud, or could come in the form of actions, like making someone a cup of tea in the morning or saying “thank you” when they do something kind for you.
4. Apply the “little and often” approach to daily tasks
Pressuring yourself to take on huge tasks once a week, or once a month, might increase your stress levels. One way to easily combat this stress could be to tackle tasks in bite-sized chunks throughout the week.
For instance, rather than setting aside a whole afternoon to clean your house from top to bottom at the weekend, you could try tidying or cleaning for just half an hour each day. This might make the entire task much more manageable and prevent you from feeling too stressed about spending hours on it.
A similar theory could also be applied to exercise. Instead of pushing yourself to do very strenuous exercise on one specific day, you could spread this out throughout the week and feel less pressured to complete the task all at once.
5. Try to be more present
It’s very difficult to remain present in the era of mass digitisation – but practising presence could improve your wellbeing in several ways.
Firstly, working on being more present could deepen your connection with your partner, children, friends, and colleagues. By focusing on the present moment instead of thinking constantly about your to-do list, you might find that you are able to enjoy your time with others a lot more.
In addition, increased presence might help you to slow down and take one task at a time rather than attempting to optimise everything.
Some helpful ways to become more present include:
- Start small by committing just five minutes to one task alone without interruptions, then increase the time as you improve
- Leave your smartphone in another room for designated portions of the day
- Reduce background noise during family time, like having the TV on while you are eating dinner.
Each of these tips could seem small at first, but may improve your attention span and as a result, help you to feel more present day-to-day.