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7 small habits that will give your emotional wellbeing a serious boost

There are certain small habits that can have a big impact on our mental health. Nicola Elliott launched NEOM Organics, a brand specialising in aromatherapy products with a holistic approach to emotional wellbeing, after experiencing burnout while working at a women’s magazine. “It’s important to realise that seemingly small things like doing breathwork in the shower or taking a walk in the daylight can turn your day around – you need to make sure you prioritise those moments, because if you don’t, nothing else works,” Elliott explains. Below, she breaks down the seven habits worth adopting for better calm, focus and overall happiness.

1. Take a walk outdoors first thing

We know we should spend a lot more time outdoors than we do – specifically about two hours a day – to regulate our circadian rhythm. “Mornings set the tone for our whole day and night. It’s important to walk in the sunlight for at least half an hour before 10am. I do my morning meetings on the phone walking down the street instead of in the office. That way I get half an hour in the sunlight first thing in the morning, and that helps me sleep better,” Elliott notes.

2. Lean into bad days rather than trying to turn them around

Sometimes, trying to “fix” a bad day is pointless and a real drain on your energy. Elliott advises just accepting that you’re feeling less than ideal instead. “Be kinder to yourself, and don’t have unrealistic expectations. It’s okay to cancel plans sometimes – to say no to any big demands being made on you.” Pretending that mood swings don’t exist isn’t helpful, because they impact just about everyone. “Life will always consist of good times and bad, excitement and boredom.”

3. Do breathing exercises in the shower

For Elliott, starting the day off right means an energising shower ending with a minute of standing under cold water, being aware of the scent of the products she’s using and doing breathing exercises. “Simply breathe in through your nose for seven seconds and exhale for 11,” she suggests.

4. Eat dinner at least three hours before going to bed

Most of us are aware that eating dinner earlier is good for both digestion and sleep. Elliott specifically recommends “eating at least three hours before bedtime to make sure insulin levels are properly maintained”.

5. Create nighttime routines

Nighttime routines are a cornerstone of Elliott’s wellbeing philosophy. Whether she’s lighting a candle and consciously breathing in its scent or spending 15 minutes reading a book, it all adds up, she says.

6. Keep your phone away from your bed

Everyone should consider using a traditional alarm clock, but at the very least, try to keep your phone out of your bed. “Keep it at the opposite end of the room,” advises Elliott. “It’s also important not to hit the snooze button in the morning, because if you do, especially several times, you release cortisol, the stress hormone.”

7. Accept that perfection doesn’t exist

It sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. “Thinking we can be perfect ends up being a weakness. Who is perfect? Nobody is.”

This article was originally published on Vogue UK.

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