With January imminently ending, you might be tempted to take a step back and assess how your New Year resolutions are progressing, if at all and if you even made any. Some people think resolutions are meaningless and are nothing more than empty promises to make ourselves feel better after the gluttony of the festive period. While there’s probably some truth in that, it doesn’t mean that our innate desire to change isn’t present. It is. We just sometimes don’t have the impetus or motivation to make a positive change, especially if we are happy, comfortable and content in our lives. Nevertheless, the dawn of a new year is a great excuse to look at all aspects of our lives, from our finances to our health. Whenever you turn on the gogglebox, there’s always some sort of documentary with D list celebrities trying the latest fad diets for a month or so. They’ll have lost two pounds in weight and profess how much healthier, alert and energetic they feel, when really it’s simply a natural fluctuation of weight and the results are psychosomatic. That doesn’t mean these programmes don’t serve a purpose. They can give us the kick start we need to take a look at our own health and help us decide what we need to do to improve our well being. Consider these aspects of your health when you are giving yourself a bit of an MOT.
The big thing that everyone has some sort of hang-up about is weight. It doesn’t matter whether you are a few pounds overweight, you are morbidly obese or you simply don’t like the muffin top that’s encroaching on your waistline, everyone wants to improve something about their body. You need to begin with food. Do you have a sweet tooth? Are you a carb queen? Or do you find any sugary treat simply irresistible? You are not alone. While faddy diets and eating plans may claim to help you alter the shape of your body, trim the fat or tone up, there is often very little scientific proof to back up these promises.
If you want to make a long-term lifestyle change, there’s nothing for it. You have to alter the way you eat forever. This sounds dramatic, but it doesn’t mean that you have to eat cabbage soup, fruit and neverending portions of lentils and beans for the rest of your days. You have to make a concerted effort to eat a range of foods, a balanced diet and eat treats in moderation. There’s no point banishing chocolate swiss rolls forever if you adore them. Where’s the fun in that? You have to change the way you think about your vices and use them as incentives or treats. If you’ve spent a fortnight cutting the carbs at dinner, eating nothing but complex whole grains to accompany your lean meats and you’ve been having your five a day, have a slim slice of cake at the weekend.
As well as your diet, you need to take a look at your physical activity. You could have the most nutritious diet on the planet, but if you are pretty much sedentary all day every day, then you won’t realise the maximum benefit. Start walking a little more, get off the bus a couple of stops early, and venture to the gym if you enjoy a jog on the treadmill or a spin class. Physical activity doesn’t have to be a high-intensity workout. Find a friend who also wants to get fit and spur one another on. As you see the pounds shift, your body change and your skin begin to glow, you’ll be motivated to continue.
When we get stressed, it’s not uncommon to succumb more easily to temptation. You might be partial to a glass of red wine after a long hard day at the office, or you might have a sneaky cigarette when the kids have gone to bed. If this sounds like you, then you might want to consider healthier alternatives to nicotine and alcohol. You could head over to the Vape Shop to explore the range of liquids to vape instead. Vaping has been around for a good few years now, and it’s not unusual to see previous chain-smokers taking a drag from an e-cigarette rather than a tar filled white stick. While it’s obviously better to quit altogether, if you find yourself forever returning to a crafty cigarette, vaping could be a safer option for the time being.
When it comes to drinking, a glass of wine with an evening meal isn’t necessarily a bad thing and can be deemed healthy for your heart. However, when this turns into binge drinking at the weekend and constantly drinking enough to get a hangover, you know that you’re pushing it too far. You might get irritable, feel crummy more often than not and you might spy a bit of an alcohol gut developing. Cut back on the booze and sip mineral water or lime and soda instead. You’ll feel the health benefits immediately, being more alert, looking brighter and feeling more energised.
Mental Well Being
The concept of health no longer extends to just the physical aspects of our well being. With more media coverage and public exposure, mental health is becoming more prominent and rightly so. The stigma of depression and anxiety is being broken down with more celebrities and people in the public eye opening up about their own experiences. Studies suggest that men in the UK aged between 20 and 49 years of age are more likely to die from suicide than anything else. This is a staggering statistic and has made people across society try to make it more acceptable for young people to talk about their problems before they mount up to seemingly hopeless situations.
To improve your own mental well being and to cope with the inevitable stresses of modern life, you need to make some time for you. Even if it’s just fifteen minutes a day, taking a walk, getting outside or hitting a few balls down at the driving range, this can allow you to clear your mind and de-stress. There’s nothing worse than getting in from a particularly manic day at work with your boss’s words still buzzing around in your head or worrying about tomorrow’s important meeting. This can stop you getting some much-needed sleep and can leave you with raised blood pressure. Before too long, this stress could begin to manifest into physical symptoms.
Take time out and think about heading to a yoga class or two. This combination of physical stretching, breathing drills, and mental exercises can help clarify your thoughts. If you head to your GP to talk through your problems, they won’t simply send you away with some pills. You can explore talking therapies, mindfulness classes, and cognitive behaviour workshops. These give you the tools to manage your own stress levels and are beneficial to everyone in society.
Even though we are now hot-footing it into February at breakneck speed, it doesn’t mean it’s too late to start acting upon those resolutions that you meaningfully made. Don’t think of them as some flash in the pan lip service to the new year. Make real and positive changes. Hopefully this time next year, your lifestyle will have shifted so dramatically that you won’t have any need to change and you can simply continue along your healthier and happier life path.