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Small Steps, Big Impact: Embracing Minor Changes for Major Wellbeing Gains During Stress Awareness Month

April marked Stress Awareness Month, an annual observance since 1992, dedicated to shedding light on the causes and remedies of the stress epidemic engulfing our modern lives. This year's theme, #LittleByLittle, emphasises the profound effect that small, consistent positive actions can have on our overall wellbeing.

This blog explores the substantial benefits these minor adjustments can bring to our health over time. Change often feels daunting. Despite our best intentions, the thought of altering our routines or behaviours can seem challenging. A study from University College London found that, on average, it takes about 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic. However, this duration can range from as little as 18 days to as much as 254 days, depending on the complexity of the behaviour, the individual's circumstances, and their consistency in practicing the new habit. This variability underscores the personal journey of habit formation, suggesting that patience and persistence are key.

This is where the magic of small changes comes into play. While embedding new habits can be challenging, it is certainly achievable with time and effort. The saying "it's the straw that breaks the camel's back" perfectly encapsulates the cumulative impact of small actions. Minor, almost negligible changes can, over time, lead to significant transformations.

Consider the simple act of beginning your day by basking in natural sunlight before reaching for your phone. Such a habit, seemingly insignificant, can profoundly align our circadian rhythms with the natural world. Remember, we are part of nature, and by syncing our lives with its rhythms, we can significantly enhance our wellbeing.

Other small lifestyle changes could include:

  1. Taking short, frequent breaks during work to stretch or do a quick mindfulness exercise.

  2. Incorporating plants into your living or workspace to improve air quality and provide a calming environment.

  3. Setting specific times to check emails and messages to reduce constant digital stimulation.

  4. Drinking a glass of lemon or lime water first thing in the morning to hydrate and kickstart your metabolism.

  5. Practicing gratitude by noting down one thing you're thankful for each day, which can shift your perspective towards positivity – you could even do this as a work team.

  6. Implementing a "technology curfew" an hour before bedtime to improve sleep quality.

By integrating these small changes into our daily routines, we can gradually build a foundation of resilience against stress, helping us understand ourselves better. These changes, while seemingly trivial, accumulate over time, helping our wellbeing to flourish.

It's a gentle reminder that in the pursuit of a less stressful life, every little action counts.


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