Good health: some golden rules to follow
It’s the start of a new year, and what better time to set yourself realistic, achievable health and wellness targets? Many of us make New Year resolutions, but often, we give up after a few weeks. If you’re looking for motivation to boost your health, well-being and fitness in the months ahead, these health and self-care strategies could change your life without requiring you to make sacrifices or overhaul your lifestyle dramatically.
You might think that you need to make drastic changes to your routine if you want to reap the rewards of health-focused resolutions, but you’d be wrong. One of the main reasons people give up on their goals prematurely is trying to do too much, too soon. Simple changes can make all the difference. Adapting your diet, reviewing your sleep routine and moving your body more are among the simplest and most effective ways to improve your health and wellness.
A healthy diet
Dieting is part and parcel of New Year for many people. The trouble with going on a diet is that it can often produce short-term results that aren’t sustainable. There are also concerns about the nutritional value of some plans, particularly fad diets. The best way to enhance your diet and try and counteract the indulgence of the festive period is to get into the habit of following a healthy, balanced meal plan. Try not to cut out entire food groups or lower your calorie intake to a dangerously low level, and focus on moderating what you eat and providing your body with key nutrients.
Eat more fruit and vegetables, opt for whole grains whenever possible and try and stick to healthy cooking methods, for example, baking, steaming and grilling. It’s a good idea to look at portion sizes and calorie intake if you’re keen to lose a bit of weight, but it can actually be more beneficial to judge weight loss by how your clothes fit, rather than how much you weigh. This is particularly relevant if you’re exercising, as you might gain muscle mass. If you’re not a maestro in the kitchen, you can find a host of easy, nutritious recipes online, which can help you take control of your diet and save money; we love some of Jamie Oliver’s easy healthy meals.
Getting enough sleep
How often do you feel tired? Many of us don’t get enough good quality sleep, and often, this is down to an irregular sleep routine. If you tend to doze off in front of the TV, but you don’t go up to bed until hours later, now is the time to get into the habit of going to bed and getting up at a similar time each day. It’s also hugely beneficial to give yourself time to unwind, de-stress and relax before hitting the hay. Resist the temptation to scroll through social media or check emails in bed. Instead, read a book, call a friend for a catch-up, run a hot bath or take a few moments to meditate.
Moving your body more
At this time of year, we’re bombarded by adverts for gym promo’s, exercise class deals and active-wear, and all the hype surrounding exercise can be a little daunting. If you’re not used to working out on a regular basis, or you’re completely new to fitness, it’s best to take it steady and gradually build your confidence and your fitness.
Work out at home, go for a jog or a brisk walk a few times a week or look into exercise classes or team sports for beginners. You can also make very simple changes to your daily routine, for example, walking or cycling to work, going for a walk at lunchtime and using the stairs instead of the lift or escalator. It’s also a great idea to use your spare time to enjoy active pursuits. If you’ve got a Saturday morning free, why not go for a countryside walk, take a stroll along the river or organise a bike ride with your friends or family? You could also investigate fun activities like dance classes or trampolining, or try stress-busting classes like yoga or Pilates.
Self-care: how to help yourself
Self-care is a hot topic at the moment, and it’s something we can all benefit from. It’s all about taking steps to protect and boost your health and wellness. This relates to your physical and mental wellbeing. We are all unique, and we have different preferences and ideas in terms of what makes us happy. This means that self-care can be interpreted in different ways and adapted and modified to suit the individual. Here are some self-care tips that might interest you if you’re looking forward to your healthiest and happiest year yet:
Treat yourself to some time out
Most of us complain about not having enough hours in the day, and sometimes, we feel like we’re swimming against the tide. If this scenario sounds familiar, start scheduling time out. Spend that time doing something you enjoy. Don’t take time off or agree to finish work on-time and then start tackling other jobs. Use your spare time to recharge your batteries, disconnect from technology, lift your mood, rediscover hobbies and interests and connect with others. Hang out with friends, go to a spin class, read a book, listen to music or pamper yourself with some beauty or spa treatments. A chat with an old friend, a walk in the open air, a hot bath with a chilled playlist or a massage, can all work wonders for your wellness- body and mind.
Exercise is not just a means of losing excess weight, improving endurance and building strength. It’s also a fantastic way to boost confidence, enhance well- being and reduce stress. Working out releases endorphins and triggers an increase in serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, you’ll always feel better after physical activity. If you’re gym shy or pushed for time, try an online personal training program Burns Fitness, they’re growing fast in popularity due to the flexible approach, with equally great results.
If you really want to treat yourself this year you could embark on a retreat. They are hosted in some of the most incredible locations, with a holistic, personalised and considered wellness experience. We love the Jameson retreats hosted by PT and wellness guru Harry Jameson.
Learn to manage stress
Stress affects us all, and it can develop into a real problem if it’s not managed properly. If you feel stressed, or you’re run-down, use self-help techniques to reduce the severity of symptoms and prevent the situation from getting worse. Massage therapy, meditation, exercise, rest, visit friends, creative activities, or even record some of your own music, it can all help your over all wellness.
Don’t be afraid to say no
Many of us feel pressure to say yes all the time. Our bosses ask us to do more work, our friends want us to make plans and our families want to call in favours. Sometimes, you might want to make plans or work longer hours to boost your earnings, but it can be refreshing to say no. If you’re already pushed for time, or you’re craving a night on the sofa, or an indulgent at home spa treatment at the end of a busy day, there’s nothing wrong with turning down offers or requests from time to time to focus on your own wellness.
When you are overwhelmed, tired or stressed, the solution is almost always… less.
2020 is in full swing, and there’s no better way to start the year than with goals to boost your health, wellness and happiness. Hopefully, these simple steps will help you adapt your lifestyle and make resolutions that will benefit you for years to come.
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