Updated 05 July 2013

10 good things to do today

Keep these ten things in mind. Not doing them could spoil more than your day. And you wouldn't want to do that. Not unless you were a masochist.

Life is busy, and your programme is as full as it can get, between work, family and other commitments. But keep these ten things in mind. Not doing them could spoil more than your day.

Wear a seatbelt. This costs you nothing (you could get a stiff fine for not wearing one, though) and takes about two seconds of your time. It also cuts your chances of severe injury in the case of an accident. Also make sure that all children and other passengers are buckled up. Even if you're just going to the shop around the corner. Statistics have shown that you are most likely to have an accident within a one-kilometer range of your home.

Eat breakfast. If you're on the run, or you have overslept, breakfast is often the first casualty of the morning. But, even if you grab a banana or an apple on the run, it is infinitely preferable to not having anything. By eleven o'clock when the trolley comes round, you will be starving and two doughnuts might become your mid-morning snack. And it could so quickly become a nasty habit.

Avoid office politics. This is difficult, because you spend all day most days with these people. If there is a real problem, address it, but poisonous gossiping is not going to make the situation any better. On the contrary, it is only going to up the levels of negativity, and it's difficult to work under these circumstances.

Get some exercise. Even if it's a ten-minute walk, it's a lot better than nothing. Studies have shown that a brisk ten-minute walk a day can cut your risk of heart problems by half. So even if you have to do it at lunchtime, because there is no other time during the day, make a commitment in this regard.

Slow down on the caffeine. Too much coffee and/or tea can increase your blood pressure and dehydrate you. The temptation is to have endless cups while you are at work. Keep track of exactly how much you're having, and try and avoid caffeine intake at night, especially if you suffer from insomnia.

Hug your children and your pets. Studies have shown that animals can reduce your blood pressure – yes, seriously. Hug them regularly. A regular hug for your children will let you know you love them, and could lead to a decrease of future problems. Especially if the teens are still lying ahead.

Clean your teeth properly. Properly. Not just a vague brush with a toothbrush that looks like a couple of buses parked on it last night. Do the floss-thing, and make sure that you get to even those hard-to-reach places. This will reduce the chances of cavities, gum infections and even mouth infections. You'll be grateful next time you're sitting in the dentist's chair.

Make that appointment. Need to see the doctor? Gynaecologist? Psychologist? Physiotherapist? Making that appointment is sometimes the most difficult part of it. Point is, most problems will not go away by themselves. In fact, dealing with things sooner rather than later is always preferable, and easier, in the long run.

Choose to be nice. It is always easier to be polite and pleasant than to be curt, rude and nasty. If you're in a bad mood, the temptation is always to fly off the handle, but just don't do it. You always get so much more out of people when they are willing participants to what you have in mind, rather than when they feel resentful about your obnoxious behaviour.

Find a way to destress. Find something that works for you. Whether it is exercise, a massage, a good book – anything. Except of course having a cigarette, or a heap of junk food. They create their own stresses over time. A time for destressing should be built into every day. Make it a regular date with yourself.

(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated July 2009)


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