The new year is an easy time to create new goals, resolutions, positive changes in our behaviour and mindset. Adopting new habits can be a great way to start the new year.
The key to maintaining those goals are making them achievable. For example aiming to slowly increase your exercise, rather than taking up 5x 60minutes running sessions per week. Another way to help achieve your goals is avoiding your triggers. If you always eat poorly when stressed, instead go for a walk, meet up with a friend or do something that makes you happy.
Some healthy habits include:
Making healthy food choices
Diets are hard to maintain and can often lead to failure, instead start with small changes, that you are willing to continue long term. For example if you are someone who loves dessert, try having fruit after dinner instead. A patient gave me a piece of advice once, that she always brushes her teeth straight after dinner to help avoid having unhealthy desserts every night. Take healthy snacks with you during the day to avoid the 3pm sugar craving.
Add some exercise into your week
Exercise simply does not mean getting a gym membership. To maintain an exercise goal I always advise my patients to choose an exercise they enjoy. This may include sport, pilates, yoga, running, walking, gym classes and so on. Also change the type of exercise you do every so often to keep it interesting. You can incorporate your children into your exercise. Taking them to a park and throwing a ball around, going swimming, using them as a weight and doing some exercises at home. Make it fun so your more likely to continue. TV ad breaks are a great time to do a few squats, bridges, tricep dips, stretches.
Do not sit for extended periods
Something I can not emphasise enough! Sitting for extended periods I see in clinic is one of the main causes/influences for body aches and pains. Try once every 20 minutes standing up, rolling your shoulders, stretching your legs and sitting back down, resetting your posture. Then every hour going for a quick walk around the office. This helps refresh your mind and get the blood flowing around your body.
Be kind to yourself and others
Whilst this seems obvious, how often do you criticise yourself? 'If only I had done this', 'Why did I do that?', 'I wish I had tried harder'. Simply reflect on the situation and create positive ways of moving forward. Reward yourself for achieving your goals (not with sugar). Be thankful for the small things in life. It is often when something bad happens that we realise how lucky we are...to breathe, to walk, to be loved, to have a roof over our heads, have a stable job. Do not allow stress to get to you. Remove yourself from stressful situations, take a moment to focus on your breathing, clearing your mind and regroup your thoughts.
Drink more water
Most of us do not drink enough water. Our body needs water to survive. Sugary soft drinks, tea and coffee do not count. Infact some of these products can further dehydrate us. A simple way to consume more water is to always have a glass of water sitting on your desk or carrying a bottle of water.
Create good sleeps habits
Quality sleep is vital for our wellbeing. Most adults require 7-9 hours sleep per night. Sleep needs to be restful, ideally with no wake ups, unless attending to children. During the night our parasympathetic nervous system is in full swing, which is our 'rest and digest' nervous system. This means our body is recovering from our days activity.
Take time out for yourself
Take some time to yourself to do something that interests you. This could be reading, cooking classes, pilates class, gardening, trying a new sport. It is easy to fall into our normal, weekly routines and never taking time out for ourselves. This could be 10 minutes a day of breathing exercises. Just a moment in the day you set aside for yourself, with your cell phone turned off.
Make 2019 a positive year. Turn negative situations into learning experiences, thrive on the positive and be kind to yourself and others.