The time for New Year’s resolutions is fast approaching, and most people include a desire to get fitter, lose weight, or improve their health in general. Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions are notoriously difficult to stick to, with most people running out of steam by March; however, it doesn’t have to be this way. It is all about making sustainable lifestyle changes to ensure longevity, so read for all the tips you need.
At the very least, you should be bookending your day with stretches. Stretching helps to boost your blood circulation, reduce pain, and improve your range of motion. You can follow simple yoga flows or look up stretches online. They quickly begin to form an integral part of your day, forming the basis of your routine. Stretching can also help to maximise the efficacy of your exercise efforts.
Develop Better Eating Habits
Processed foods are bad for you; they are full of fat, sugar and salt – which is, in part, what makes them taste so good. However, they can also make you feel more lethargic, cause breakouts and lead to poor health. Although, cutting them out completely is not always realistic, you should focus on limiting your intake by having one treat day every couple of weeks. Instead, try to swap out the processed foods for healthier alternatives as much as possible. This ensures that you will be getting your vitamin and nutrient intake, making you feel and look better.
Drink Enough Water
Humans can go for weeks without eating but only days without water. It is used for almost every process within the body; you simply cannot function without it. When you drink enough water, your brain function can improve, you often feel better within yourself, and you look better too. You should aim to drink around two litres of water a day. Other liquids like fizzy drinks do not count towards this goal.
You cannot expect to improve your fitness without doing more exercise. Think about your capabilities and your lifestyle. You don’t have to become a regular at the gym if you don’t have the time, money or physical ability to do so. Think about other ways that you could incorporate fitness into your lifestyle. You could walk more and use your vehicle or public transport less. You could look up fitness classes or sports teams in your area where you could get some exercise whilst having fun. There are a number of little ways in which you can incorporate more exercise into your day.
Replace Unhealthy Habits
A lot of people rely on unhealthy habits; they are used as coping mechanisms. Unhealthy habits come in all forms. They develop slowly, unnoticed until you are in too deep. These unhealthy habits could be rooted in food, alcohol, spending money or smoking. Cessation is pretty much regarded as impossible, which is why replacing an unhealthy obsession with a healthier one is a better option. Switch from alcoholic to non-alcoholic versions of your tipple of choice. Choose healthier foods or snacks over your favourite unhealthy versions. Try vaping instead of smoking; it is not only widely regarded as better for you it is also much more affordable too. You can get different flavours of e-liquid to mix it up and find something that suits you.
Manage Your Stress
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. One of the main things that can have an adverse effect on your mental health is stress. Experiencing too much stress in your daily life can manifest itself in a number of ways, including physical symptoms, which is why it is important to get a handle on it. There are a number of stress management techniques that you could try, like meditation or mindfulness; some people prefer to take up a hobby like painting, sewing, or knitting to relieve stress. Try a few and find what works for you.
In the last few years, isolation has become commonplace. People were forced to spend more and more time alone. This lack of socialising can profoundly affect a person’s mental health. Too much time by yourself can lead to negative thought patterns. Try to find more time to socialise in the new year. This could be in person, socially distanced if necessary or online via video calling programmes. Socialising fulfils an important role for your mental health, don’t neglect it.
While it might be alien to some, you need to prioritise yourself. You cannot be effective in looking after anyone else if you aren’t looking after yourself. Self-care means different things to different people; it isn’t one size fits all. Common self-care practices include hobbies, skincare routines, meditation, pamper sessions or simply emotional check-ins. But, again, it comes down to personal preference; you need to find something that works for you. You’ve got to look after yourself as the priority.
Get Enough Sleep
You cannot expect to function properly without it. Most people should be aiming to get around eight hours of sleep a night. While you sleep, your body is able to repair itself where needed and reset your cognitive functions. Realistically, all of your other efforts will be impacted by your sleep schedule or lack thereof. Limit your screen time before bed, the blue light emitted from electronic devices can make it harder for you to sleep. You should also try to wind down by having a bath, reading a book, or doing yoga before bed. Stick to a bedtime and wake-up time as much as possible, your body will soon get used to it, and you will naturally begin to feel tired around your bedtime.
Changing your life is no mean feat. It isn’t easy by any means; it takes work to implement and sustain these changes. However, you can use the above tips to build a new routine for yourself. After a while, this routine will become second nature to you. Above all, you need to remember why you are making these changes. Come up with a goal and allow this to be your motivator. Let it drive you forward.
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