It’s the New Year so there’s no better time to reflect on your health and resolve to make positive changes in the year ahead. However, it’s a sad fact that come the end of January, most New Year’s resolutions will have fallen by the wayside. So what’s the key to making lasting changes that have a real impact on your health?
The answer is to keep it simple. Too many over-ambitious goals can feel overwhelming and completely unattainable, especially when your willpower is tested. So be realistic and aim for small, manageable changes that will add up to make a big difference to the way you feel.
To start, why not try incorporating a few of the following into your daily routine:
- Up your exercise: Even if it’s just jumping off the bus a few stops early each morning so you can walk the rest of the way to work, or heading out for a brisk, 20-minute walk every lunch break – it’s possible to add extra steps into even the most hectic of schedules.
- Get social: If a lack of motivation to get going is your biggest downfall, buddy up with a gym partner who can give you a much-needed pep talk when those niggling doubts start to creep in.
- Fill up on the good stuff: Eat a balanced diet, rich in fruit and vegetables, and take healthy snacks to work to help curb those mid-afternoon sugar cravings.
- Try a probiotic: There is new evidence emerging all the time indicating just how important our gut microbiome is and what an impact it can have on our overall health – from boosting immune systems to improving mental health. With so many available now, it’s easy to pop a probiotic yoghurt in your basket next time you’re in the supermarket.
- Cut out the alcohol: Or at least cut down and you’ll soon start to notice the positive effects of being tee-total, from better sleep and better looking skin, to increased energy levels.
- Get a good night’s sleep: Aim for 6-9 hours every night, and remember – no screentime for at least an hour before you head to bed. If you have issues nodding off, try and keep the room as dark as possible by investing in back-out blinds. Calming essential oils can also help, as can a hot, milky drink. It’s also a good idea to use the bedroom for sleeping only, so keep the work emails and boxset binging strictly banished to the living room to allow your mind to separate work, play and rest time.
- Stay positive: It’s just as important to remember your mental health when making physical lifestyle changes. So be sure to recognise and reward yourself for any progress made. A positive attitude can make all the difference when it comes to making long-term changes.
- Take a time out: Meditation, or simply concentrating on your breathing for 10 minutes can have a significant effect on lowering stress levels.
- Do something you love: Find a hobby you truly enjoy, or that you find rewarding; something that helps you ‘zone out’, relax and unwind. Get stuck into gardening, a craft project or lose yourself in a good book and forget your everyday stresses.
- Always read the labels: There’s no point making an effort to eat and live healthier if your daily beauty routine involves slathering on a cocktail of harsh chemicals. So make an effort to read the label and opt for natural or organic where possible, as opposed to fragranced products that may contain things such as formaldehyde, parabens and phthalates.
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