It’s a new year, and you feel ready for a change, but you don’t know where to start. Does that sound familiar? If so, you may find it beneficial to look within for small changes that make a big impact.
Invigorating your mind, body and soul can give you a fresh, clean slate before you turn your attention to work, relationships or other outside goals.
If that is the direction you are heading, here are some tips that might help you get ready to take on anything in 2021!
Mind your intake
Many people find themselves eating more than they normally would in the cold winter months, making it a challenge to monitor food intake.
The easiest way to keep your intake at a level that feels right for you is to prepare your own meals rather than order from restaurants. Perhaps now is the time to cut out processed sugar, eat more fresh vegetables, or try a long-term diet program you’ve always been curious about, such as intermittent fasting.
If you’re trying to diet, remember not to lose key nutrients. You’ll want to be sure that the food that you eat has plenty of vitamins, antioxidants and other healthy nutrients that are essential to your body.
Remember, it’s all about what’s right for you.
Exercise (yes, exercise)
After a long day of work, hardly anyone wants to exercise, but few regret it once they do.
Getting outside is a challenge in the winter, so exercises you can do at home may be the wisest choice. Yoga, stretching or home aerobics require minimal equipment.
Even low-intensity workouts can help you de-stress and reduce your risk for common conditions like anxiety, inflammation and chronic pain.
For useful indoor exercise tips, visit our guide to looking after your body if you’re working from home.
When it’s finally safe to go outside, a winter’s walk around the block is also an easy way to start exercising. If you need to increase the intensity, try cycling in a nearby park.
Have a good sleep
Do you feel like you are losing out on sleep? Do you have tension in your neck, or pain in the back of your head? That’s not uncommon.
Try setting clear boundaries between when you’re busy and you relax so your 8 hours of sleep isn’t compromised. Getting a long and comfortable sleep can also help minimise the risk of arthritis, neck pain, and chronic pain.
The right amount of sleep isn’t just important for your mood or energy. A quality night’s sleep is essential to your well-being.
If you’re having trouble winding down, we suggest turning off screens and putting away gadgets. Don’t worry, they will still be there, waiting for you to check them in the morning!
It can be overwhelming to think about issues that are beyond your control. Being mindful of your surroundings and shutting off unhelpful distractions can give you a clear and realistic idea of what’s ahead in 2021.
Let’s start with the number one distraction – social media. Social media can keep you posted with the latest information, but it can also worsen your stress and anxiety.
If you find yourself constantly wanting to refresh your news feed, you can limit your scrolling time by timing out after a certain period and then shifting your attention to simple tasks or a new hobby. Reading books, cooking or learning a new skill can give you the same mental stimulation that you seek from social media, but without the addictive side effects.
You may still feel a bit of seasonal depression as the cold winter wears on. That’s not unusual.
Don’t be ashamed to reach out to people if you are feeling isolated, and remember that self-isolating doesn’t mean you can’t be social. Call the people you love, even if you don’t have anything new to share with them. Sometimes, it’s helpful just to chat.
These little changes are still effective even if it takes you some time to fully incorporate them into your routine. In fact, settling into lifestyle changes gradually can lead to a more lasting impact, rather than forcing too much on yourself all at once.
Instead of worrying about lifestyle changes in the weeks or months ahead, think about the present. You may feel more accomplished and in control, if you focus on achieving one small milestone each day.
Have a look through the rest of our blog for tips on improving your mental and physical health. Though of course, if you’re worried about a specific issue you are experiencing, consult with medical professionals rather than diagnosing yourself. If you feel more productive in your daily routine after trying our tips, feel free to share your stories on our Facebook page or tell a friend.
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Here’s to being on the move, having more ‘get up and go’ and a feeling of freedom. Here’s To Better Days.