New year, same you … it doesn’t all have to change!

January 1, 2020

Why a new year doesn’t have to mean a total reinvention.

We all tend to get a bit carried away with New Year fever at this time of year, gym memberships increase dramatically and are then abandoned by mid February. Sales of ‘slimming’ foods go up, then the weather gets even colder and we ditch it all in favour of warming and satisfying comfort food. The pressure to reinvent ourselves as some sort of super human being can be immense.

It’s easy to get carried away with New Year Fever and sign up to a gym that you will have abandoned by February.

It is never a bad thing to take a look where you are with regards to your health and wellbeing, but not so good to put such pressure on yourself so that it adds increased pressure to your life. Maybe look at January as a time to give yourself a bit of an MOT for both your physical and mental wellbeing.

One way to decide what you might want to change and improve is to create a list of what health issues you may have. Is it aches and pains, are you feeling you could do with losing a bit of weight, do you wish to feel more supple and flexible, or would does your head feel full of stress and too much to do? Write all your symptoms or concerns in a list and give them a score out of ten. Then put the list away.

Start planning what supplements or dietary changes you need to make to achieve wellness. For example, if you feel your nervous system could do with some support, consider taking a B complex or Magnesium, nutrients that are needed for proper functioning of the immune system. Do you seem to pick up every bug going? If so, you can support your immune system by including supplements such as vitamin C and zinc.

Take time to look at where you are with your health and wellness and look for the areas you would like to change.

Changing your diet to include more fresh fruit and vegetables, an easy way is to add a salad to your lunch or alongside your main meal. Include seeds and nuts as snacks or add to your cereal, make simple swaps such as sugary breakfast cereals for porridge or yoghurt.

You might think that you are eating more healthily than you actually are, it is easy to ignore snacks and portion sizes throughout the day. Keeping a food diary is a simple way of recording exactly what you eat and drink in a day. It can highlight areas where you may be missing out food groups or perhaps that you are not drinking much water. It will also show where you are consuming more than you might think you are, especially the ‘forgotten’ things like biscuits with a cup of tea or a chocolate bar on the journey home.

Simple changes that are achievable can make a big difference to your wellbeing.

Write down everything you eat and drink, as you consume it. Log the time and what it was, if you are interested to see whether your emotions play a part in what you eat, you can also make a note of how you were feeling before an after you ate. Doing this for just a couple of weeks will give you a real insight into what you eat and drink and perhaps why you pick certain foods.

It is easy to be dehydrated because we don’t drink enough water, by keeping a record of every drink throughout the day, you can easily see what makes up your intake. By making the decision to drink one glass of water more than your usual intake, every day. Make this a ‘must do task’ maybe picking the same time every day or keeping a glass or water bottle close by. You can help reinforce your good new habit by recording it in a notebook, your diary or even on your phone. Find a way that suits you. Being hydrated is vital for good health and supports many body processes.

Think of your daily record as an aid to creating good health, don’t become obsessed with it and don’t panic if you miss recording something. It is meant to be a positive aid, not an added stress. If you are feeling worried about your eating habits or have fears over food consumption leading to an eating disorder, talk to someone that can help such as Beat Eating Disorders, a charity that can help you source information and support.

Many of us decide the new year is a great time to get fit and join a gym, by February or March, around two thirds of members have given up or go sporadically. What can you do to ensure your new gym membership gets used beyond the next 12 weeks? Most importantly, decide whether going to the gym is the sort of sport you actually want to do. Would you prefer cycling, walking or swimming? Pick something you want to do, and you are far more likely to continue.

Make sure you are giving your body the fuel it needs, when you take up an exercise routine. You may benefit from extra protein to provide amino acids, magnesium to help support the muscles or also remember to keep hydrated and allow time for recovery. Do what feels comfortable, so many injuries are created by over enthusiastic beginnings in the gym. You want to get fit, not injured.

If you are looking at rejuvenating your wellbeing, also take time to look at your mental health too. Take time to take time out! Whether you call it mindfulness, meditation or simply relaxing for ten minutes with a decent cup of tea, a little bit of time spent doing nothing can be beneficial.

Finding time to be quiet and still every day can have a great impact on both your physical and mental wellbeing.

You can focus on your breathing for a few minutes taking slow deep breaths in and out while being aware of how your body feels, can be great stress reliever and relaxer. Find out which method works best for you, if you are comfortable with the method, your results will be better.  Maybe ten minutes walk in the fresh air, a few minutes to write down what is buzzing around your head onto a piece of paper as a brain dump activity. Get all your thoughts out and then use that to prioritise how you go forward, a great exercise for a busy mind. You can even find apps that will talk you through mini meditations or breathing exercises.

Put it all together, your diet, supplements, lifestyle and mental wellness and you are on the way to a rejuvenated you that can actually make a difference. So much better than rushing off to buy a gym membership and all the gear that you know won’t be used in a few months time.

Finally, remember that list you wrote with all your health considerations on? At the end of the month have a look at it again. See how you score the same topics now. You may be pleasantly surprised and find some improvements with just a few weeks of healthier living. Score again and date it, then put it away for another few weeks to see the next set of improvements. Here’s to a healthy and happy 2020.

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