A healthy lifestyle consists of sufficient exercise, a healthy and varied diet, a healthy weight, moderate alcohol consumption, not smoking, sufficient relaxation and a regular day-night routine with sufficient sleep. All these factors contribute to a healthy body and mind. If you feel good physically, you can cope with stress and setbacks in a better way. Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to adopt healthy habits. We are happy to help you with this!
Small changes in your lifestyle can lead to big changes in your life. We are happy to help you with the action plan below. The action plan contains information and various exercises that you can perform throughout your daily life with the help of the NiceDay app over the next 4 weeks, so that you can adopt a better lifestyle step by step. You will do this independently, with the support of the NiceDay app. Download the app here if you don’t have it on your phone yet and get started right away!
Do you feel that you are unable to adopt a different lifestyle because of underlying physical or mental discomfort? Do you experience problems and stress due to your current lifestyle? In that case, it might be a good idea to schedule an appointment with your GP for a referral to a psychologist. Click here for more information about treatment via NiceDay, or ask a NiceDay psychologist a question for free.
- Set a goal: Make an overview of your current lifestyle, what you would like to see differently (your goal) and why (your motivation). Read the information on setting goals and write down your goals in a Diary note in the NiceDay app.
- Understanding: What is a healthy lifestyle and why is it important to maintain healthy living habits? Read more about it in this article and watch this video about a healthy lifestyle.
- Insight: Gain insight into your current lifestyle. What would you like to improve on? Add a Tracker that corresponds with this goal, for example ‘exercise’, ‘alcohol consumption’, or ‘smoking’. Keep track of your goal on a daily basis and include a note with any relevant details. In addition, it is useful to keep track of your mood twice a day, so that you can compare how you feel later in the process with how you felt at the beginning of your process.
- Awareness: A lot of your behaviour is automatic; you do things because you are used to doing them or because you don’t know any other way. As an example, think of the habit of eating crisps while watching Netflix. To change this habit, you must become aware of your current behaviour first. Read this article on how you can consciously let go of your unhealthy habits.
- Insight: Continue to track your lifestyle and mood with the Trackers. Next week, you will examine them if you can discover patterns or even detect changes.
- Exercise: Exercising is beneficial for your physical and mental health. You can increase your physical fitness, your mood and self-confidence and decrease anxiety and stress. You can get active in many different ways, the smallest changes (such as taking the stairs instead of the escalator) have a major impact. A nice and easy way to get active is to go for a walk. Read about the benefits of walking and schedule a daily walk. You can activate the pedometer in the NiceDay app to track your progress.
- Nutrition: Nutrition is a crucial part of our lifestyle. A healthy diet consists of not eating too much or too little and mainly eating vegetables and few animal products. Read more about nutrition in this article. Use the NiceDay app to plan your breakfast, lunch and dinner so that you don’t forget and/or skip a meal.
- Interfering thoughts: Do you notice that certain thoughts hinder you from living a healthy lifestyle (for example, ‘Healthy eating won’t help me lose weight’ or ‘When I run, people stare at me’)? If so, you can challenge these thoughts with the help of a thought record. With a thought record, you can map out all your thoughts, feelings and behaviour, helping you discover patterns. If you understand why you feel what you feel, why you think in a certain way and what the consequences of certain thoughts and behaviour are, you can make more effective changes. Read the explanation on thought records here.
- Insight: You have been taking steps towards a healthy lifestyle for a few weeks now. Reflect on your notes in the app and consider what you notice about yourself. What effect have the changes had on your mood? Are you able to detect the moments during which change was easier and when you found it more difficult? What happens to your mood at such a moment? Write about it in your Diary.
- Talking: You’ve been making lifestyle changes for a while now. Your friends and family have probably noticed by now! When making changes in our life, it is important to discuss this with those around you. This way, they are aware of the change(s) you are going through and can encourage you. This will make it easier for you to persevere and achieve your goal(s).
- Sleep: In addition to exercising and a maintaining a healthy diet, sleep is an indispensable element of a healthy lifestyle. On average, a person needs about seven to eight hours of sleep. Sleeping too little or too much can pose health risks. Make sleep your priority and avoid unpleasant long- and short-term consequences. Read more about sleep in this article and get started with tips on how to sleep well. Set a goal for this week to improve your sleep schedule.
- Unhealthy habits: Habits have a powerful effect because they are often automatic and make us feel good in the short term. Examples of unhealthy habits are regularly drinking alcohol, eating sugar, smoking and drinking a lot of caffeine (coffee, tea, energy drinks). Fortunately, you can turn unhealthy habits into healthy habits! You will learn to notice and recognize your unhealthy behaviour and replace it with healthier behaviour. You can replace your cigarette after dinner with a walk. Or you can replace your second beer with a non-alcoholic beer. Write down in your Diary which unhealthy habit you want to change and set reminders for this. Tip: Keep track of how many caffeinated/alcoholic drinks you have consumed within the NiceDay app with a Tracker so that you become aware of your intake and can make a change.
- Insight: Take enough time to reflect on the past few weeks. What have you learned about yourself? And what is there still to learn? What challenges have you overcome and what new ones have you uncovered? Write it down in your Diary!
- Relaxation: Relaxation is very important for a healthy lifestyle. Read more about the importance of relaxing here. You can relax in various ways, but a well-known way is by performing relaxation exercises. Try one of these exercises: breathing exercise (3 min), meditation (5 min), Body scan (8 min), breathing exercise (10 min) or Progressive muscle relaxation (13 min). After completing an exercise, write down your experience in your Diary. Tip: Use the Relaxation Tracker to keep track of how often you are able to take a moment for yourself.
- Self-compassion: You have now been following the action plan for several weeks. This takes perseverance. The fact that you are able to tackle this independently says a lot about you as a person. We often forget to pay attention to our own accomplishments, while we often think about the accomplishments of others. One way to get better at this and, also, be kind to yourself is with the help of self-compassion. Read the information and set reminders with the NiceDay app to remind yourself to talk to yourself with compassion, as if you were talking to your best friend.
- Reflection: Reflection provides you with insight into your development process and your progress. Look back on what you’ve done over the past few weeks. What went well? What could be improved? Where do you see connections? Record your insights in a diary entry in the NiceDay app.
- Consciously continue: You have become aware that you can let go of unhealthy behaviour and replace it with healthier behaviour. It may take a while before you have fully mastered your new lifestyle. During the upcoming period, consciously continue to maintain these healthy lifestyle changes.
Tips for successfully completing your action plan
- Reward yourself: You are busy working on your self-development. This should be rewarded! Rewards will also motivate you to continue. Learn more about rewards here and get inspired to reward yourself. Tip: Schedule your rewards in NiceDay.
- Progress: Regularly check your progress by examining the graphs of the
- Connections: Look for connections and patterns between your notes and registrations. When do you feel good? When do things work? Which moments are easy or difficult? What do you do when you are feeling low?
- Read more: Are you looking for information on specific lifestyle topics, such as quitting smoking, sleeping better or exercising more? Search for relevant articles on the NiceDay blog by using the search bar.
Need extra support?
Haven’t the steps above helped you sufficiently and are you looking for professional help or guidance from a psychologist? Learn more about receiving online help through the NiceDay app here.
Do you have questions about using the app while going through your action plan or are you unable to figure something out? Please read the Frequently Asked Questions or contact our NiceDay Support Team on working days via the app (tab ‘Support’) or by telephone on 010 – 3030 600. We are happy to help you!