I love new year and the new opportunities and hope it brings. But January can be a difficult month to start instilling healthy habits. It’s cold and grey (well at least it is in the UK), motivation is low and expectations high. We often set ourselves unrealistic goals which fall by the wayside by, well mid-January usually.
So now we’re into February I thought I would share some simple healthy habits you might want to introduce into your life in this year. Not resolutions which can be broken but habits to incorporate.
I’m not suggesting you try and introduce all of them at once, or even at all, as some might not apply to you or be helpful for you at this time. Instead, I want you to see this list as some inspiration for simple things you could do to help yourself feel healthier in 2019 (and beyond hopefully!). And remember healthy living isn’t just about what you eat and drink, it’s about the life you breathe and
- Get more sleep. An obvious one to start with, but so important. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night. As children, we all have bedtime routines but we stop this when we become adults and there is not one to “put us to bed”. Set yourself a bedtime, set an alarm to start your bedtime routine, have some wind-down time and switch off tech at least 1 hour before lights out.
- Start your day with hot water and lemon. After all that time asleep your body needs rehydrating. Hot water and lemon is a great way to not only rehydrate your body but to kick-start your digestive system ready for breakfast too. Find out more reasons why hot water and lemon is a great way to start your day in this blog.
- Speak to yourself in a positive voice What have you told yourself today? Was it something positive or negative? The thoughts we tell ourselves have a direct impact on how we feel and how our body reacts. Try speaking to yourself in a positive voice – if this doesn’t come naturally, try thinking “what would I say to my best friend/sister/loved one in this situation?” I would bet it’s a lot kinder than what you would say to yourself.
- Be more mindful – I had written meditate more for this habit but I think meditation scares a lot of people. But mindfulness can be as beneficial as meditation, so if meditation and mindfulness is something new to you, start small, by simply being more mindful while doing an everyday activity. By that, I mean being present while you’re doing something that you might normally do on autopilot. Don’t think about anything other than what you’re doing so you actually experience it in full.
- Move your body this doesn’t need to be any kind of formal exercise if you don’t want it to be, it can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the lift at work or getting off the bus a stop early. Or if you want to add more structured exercise into your life – go for it. Find something that works for you and which excites you-you’ll be more likely to stick to it!
- Eat more real food – okay so this is quite a big one but it’s so important. Real food – by that I mean food which is as close to as it would be in nature as possible – nourishes your body giving it the vitamins and minerals it needs to function optimally. Avoid packaged foods, especially anything which has an ingredient you can’t pronounce it!
- Try something new. That could be a new food, a new recipe, a new exercise class, a new route to work – anything which mixes up your life and fill it with a new experience – don’t worry about whether it will be good or not, sometimes the joy in life comes from the journey, not the destination.
- Drink 1.5 – 2L of water a day Yes I’m talking about hydration again. Its common for dehydration to trigger a feeling of hunger making us eat when in fact what we need to do is drink (water). So if you’re hoping to lose a few pounds this year this could be a simple way to keep your hunger levels under control. Also being well hydrated helps keep bowels moving easily, aids concentration and energy levels and helps skin health. If you struggle to remember to drink water, keep a bottle with you at all times so you can sip it throughout the day, keep a large reusable bottle on your desk as a visual reminder of how much you have/haven’t drunk that day and if all else fails, set an alarm on your phone to remind you to drink. You should be aiming for 1.5 –2L of water a day. Herbal teas count towards your intake but sugary juices, carbonated drinks and caffeinated beverages definitely don’t!
- Buy a reusable water bottle to help you with habit 9 buy yourself a pretty water bottle – either handbag sized if you’re often out and about or a large one for your desk if that’s more appropriate. Choose stainless steel or glass,
becausea plastic bottles – even BPA free ones – contain potentially harmful chemicals which could leak from the bottle into your water.
- Plan your meals I’ll be talking a lot more about this over on my social media channels this year as I firmly believe that planning a healthy menu and having healthy snacks and food available at all times is the best way to keep healthy eating on track. Take the time to sit down once a week and look at what you have coming up, what days will you be home late and need something quick and easy, what days do you have more time to batch cook. Plan in your meals and write a shopping list or do an online order so you have all the ingredients you need to make the meals on your planner. No excuses for getting home late, having nothing in and reaching for those takeaway menus.
- Mix cauliflower into your rice and courgette into your spaghetti – this is such a simple way to get more veg into your diet and reduce your intake of starchy carbs. While I’m not against carbs, on the whole, it’s all about balance– carbs shouldn’t make up the majority of a meal and with something like rice or pasta it can often take over the plate! But going all out with
cauli-rice or courgettimay seem like too big a step to start with mixing in a little and slowly increase the proportion of veg. To make cauli-rice grate a head of cauliflower and either steam for 2-3 minutes over a pan of boiling water or mix into just cooked rice, cover and allow the steam to cook the cauliflower. For courgetti, use a spiraliser or vegetable peeler to make ribbons of courgette and steam with your spaghetti for 1-2 minutes.
- Detox your space This time of year is synonymous with detoxing our body and diet but what about your environment? I definitely feel like
outerorder creates inner calm. If my space is cluttered, messy or unorganised my mind feels chaotic and I struggle to focus. Take some time this year to detox your space by getting rid of anything you no longer love or need and organising what is left so everything has its place and it makes it easier to tidy up.
- Stop drinking sugar We all know sugar is bad for us, it unbalances our blood sugars leading to energy dips, mood swings and poor concentration as well as weight gain and more sugar cravings! A simple way to reduce your intake is to think about the sugar you might be drinking. This could be sugar you’re adding to your tea/coffee, added sugars in soft drinks or natural sugars in fruit juices and alcohol. Whatever the drink, you will always be able to drink more sugar than you could eat so be mindful of drinking too much sugar.
- List what you’re grateful for this one could take less than a minute a day if you choose. Before going to sleep, think about the good things which have happened to you that day, you may choose to share them with a loved one or write them in a journal or simply list them in your head. Research has shown that being grateful not only helps boost mental health but also physical health.
- Fill up on fibre which is essential to good health as it helps keep your bowels moving, eliminating waste and keeps your gut bacteria happy. Happy gut bacteria is essential for general health as it’s linked with a strong immune system and good mood! Fibre can come from whole fruits and vegetables(not juices!) whole grain, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds.
- Have a digital detox Do you check your phone more often than you’d like? Does it make you anxious to be without it? Then it’s probably time to try a tech-free day or even a weekend! Constantly being stimulated by technology means we are often not actually present in the moment. Try a weekend or day or even just an hour to start with and find out how liberating it can feel to be free of your tech devices. I advise letting key people know you’re doing this just so they don’t worry when you don’t instantly respond to that Whatsapp message like normal! Read my experience of a mobile free weekend here.
- Swap to natural cleaning products chemicals and toxins are everywhere in our daily life and the impact they’re having on us is, in my opinion, not fully understood. Our systems are overloaded on a daily basis and wherever possible I like to use natural products to minimise this impact. One place where it’s easy to make swaps is the cleaning products you use around your house. As not only do these affect you at the time of cleaning but also every day after as the scents and chemicals linger in the air and the surfaces you use daily. Try brands like KinnLiving or Method or better still make your own! There are loads of recipes online or try my Homemade natural antibacterial surface cleaner.
- Listen to inspirational Podcasts listening to podcasts is something I love doing while cleaning the house or getting ready in the morning, I favour listening to podcasts which inspire me and which focus on self-improvement, health and nutrition. I have different podcasts to suit my mood but here are a few of my current favourites which you should hopefully be able to find wherever you like to listen to Podcasts – I personally listen through i-tunes, the Apple Podcast app or on Spotify!
Happier with Gretchen Ruben
By the Book
Happy Place by Fern Cotton
Unravelling with Lauren Barber
- Find your happy place sounds obvious but where is you happy place? Where do you go when you need to recharge your batteries – and I’m not talking about the aspirational desert island setting you long to be on, I’m talking about somewhere closer to home – maybe even in your home, where you can go, switch off (most important) and take some time for you. If you have a busy household it might be the shower or bath as this is the only time you get to yourself! Or it might be a certain chair where you like to read or a room where you light a scented candle and enjoy some time journaling. Wherever it is, try to continue to keep this happy place as a sanctuary and take yourself there (if possible) to recharge at least once a day, even if for only 5-minutes.
I hope you enjoyed this
If you try one of these habits please let me know and tag me on social media.