To get you on the path to wellness, here are some ultra-simple New Year health suggestions
1. Stretch when you wake
When you open your eyes each morning, stretch your muscles to reconnect with your body. Are there any tight areas? How does your neck feel? Are your shoulders and back OK? Focus on your body before you begin to think about everything else you’ve got to do that day.
2. Make porridge the night before
It’s tempting to skip breakfast, but this makes you more inclined to eat too much later on. If you prepare your oats before you go to bed, there are no excuses. Just cover some quick oats with water, add flax or hemp seeds for protein and berries or honey for sweetness.
3. Spend time outside every day
Heading outdoors doesn’t just help you feel at one with yourself and nature; it also helps you to get some very necessary vitamin D from sunlight, provides exercise and boosts mental health.
4. Only eat ingredients you understand
If you’re thinking New Year: New Diet, then it could be time to think differently. Instead of counting calories, ditch processed foods with artificial flavours and colours and other confusing additives, and eat only foods that contain natural ingredients.
5. Focus for two hours on one project
Set aside a couple of hours a week and work on a personal goal. Switch off your phone, ignore emails and social media, and be fully present, whether that’s prepping healthier food or learning a language. This ability to be single-minded will boost your performance and your productivity.
6. Connect with others
Experts are warning that loneliness could be the next epidemic. Social isolation has been found to disturb sleep, push up levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and even lead to death. Plan a monthly supper club with a few friends or schedule a regular phone call with a relative.
7. Take a long, hard look at your habits
Some of the things we do routinely can be downright harmful. Are those three glasses of wine a night really good for you? Is getting up at the crack of dawn to go for a run beneficial if it then makes you feel exhausted all day? Score how you feel out of ten and be honest. You might want to make some healthy changes.
8. Make time for self-reflection
Ask yourself a few non-judgemental questions with the aim of learning and feeling better about yourself. At the end of each day ask, “What am I grateful for today?”, “What annoyed me?”, “How was I feeling?”, “What would I do differently in the future?”
9. Set an alarm to get you to bed
Too many of us find things to do rather than turning in when we need to. Setting an alarm to remind yourself to start your bedtime routine could help your sleep hygiene. Give yourself 30 minutes to do something calming, like drinking a herbal tea, taking a bath or following a guided meditation app.