It’s New Years Day and I’m not sure about you but we are feeling a tad jaded, generally unhealthy and as though we have taken the food and drink to beyond excess over these past few weeks… Well this stops now!
I personally love New Year – it’s the perfect time to get things into a positive order, including mind, body and soul and I love putting together a game plan for the coming months.
I’m sure I’m not alone here, so I wanted to give my 15 holistic top tips on how to return to exercise and healthy habits over the coming weeks, in a sustainable and realistic way!
- Adopt a positive frame of mind
Positive thinking is key. But thinking positively sometimes isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Particularly if you’re generally feeling a little more sluggish than usual. However, getting into a regular exercise and healthy-eating regime will provide nutritious fuel for the brain and mind as well as to the body and this can really help to enforce positive feelings. There will always be reasons out there to feel negative about aspects of your life, but try to bring the focus onto you, your hopes and dreams for the year and your own well-being, rather than focusing on others around you who may bring you down – rid yourself of negative and toxic energy and direct your focus to your own self-care.
- Start slow
Don’t rush to get back to high intensity workouts [unless you feel ready to of course!], sometimes starting slow is the best way. Prepare your body and mind for exercise gradually, starting with a slow stretch or gentle Pilates or Yoga class before working up to higher intensity or cardio-training. You’ll feel amazing and your body will love the movement. Build back up gradually at your own pace and your body will thank you for it.
- Try something new
Bored of your previous exercise routine? Why not take this opportunity to try something new, or even something which is normally out of your comfort zone? Your body gets used to standard and ‘samey’ routines and a new challenge could be just what is needed to stimulate your mind and body.
- Find something you love
We all know how exercising can often become a chore – particularly if you get bored or if you don’t find it enjoyable. Find something that’s fun, challenging and you will keep going back for more as you’ll see results faster!
- Exercise as a way of self-care, not because you hate your body
I’m always hearing people complain about how their body looks and how they want to change their appearance. Of course, exercise is great for this, but try to think about exercise more of a method of self-care, rather than a chore that you must do in order to maintain a certain look. Changing this mind-set can help you to find something you really love and moreover – that your body really loves and this will ensure you will continue with it long-term!
- Diet is just as important as exercise
Don’t forget that although exercise is key to a healthy lifestyle, diet is just as important. Understanding the importance of what you put into your body can make a big difference. Eating ‘clean’ and reducing pro-inflammatory foods [eg gluten, caffeine, alcohol, sugar and processed foods] can make a huge difference to brain and gut health, as well as helping to reduce the unwanted ‘festive pounds’ gained over the holiday period.
- Get some good sleep in
Good sleep is essential for healing and body and mind regeneration. Your sleep patterns may have suffered over the festive period, particularly with the late nights and likely increased alcohol intake, but returning to a regular pattern of 8-10 hours of sleep will make you feel amazing, will increase your energy and will reduce your cortisol levels.
- Set realistic goals
We are all guilty of setting unrealistic goals for ourselves during the first few months of the year – but if you can recognize this early on and set some realistic exercise and dietary goals that are sustainable you will be more likely to continue with them as the year goes on.
- Stretch and mobilise
How much sitting around do we do over the festive period? Sitting at meal table, sitting putting together toys or doing arts and crafts with the kids, driving to relatives’ homes? It’s no wonder we may all feel slightly ‘chair-shaped’ after the holidays. This can change by stretching the spine, shoulder blades and leg muscles and a gentle Pilates or yoga class can be wonderful for reducing that build up of stiffness – you’d be surprised how quickly it goes away.
- Get some fresh air
Never underestimate the power of getting outside, even though the sun is no-where to be seen, you can still get a fix of vitamin D and a healthy dose of fresh air can literally blow out those cobwebs and help make you feel restored and revitalised! Even just a simple 10 minute walk a day outside can been deeply therapeutic.
Water, water water! Your body, gut and mind will thank you for replenishing with water, rather than caffeine and alcohol – which I’m sure like me, you may have consumed a little too much of these past few weeks! I don’t need to say anymore here!
- Listen to your body
Tune in to what your body is telling you. If you feel that you want to rest then rest. Catch up on much-needed sleep. If you feel restless or ‘twitchy’, then get outside, go for a walk and do some exercise!! Don’t overdo it, takes things gently and stop if you need to. Don’t stress the body anymore than needed, if you listen to it, it will tell you what and how much it needs.
- Exercise with a friend
Remember we are all in the same boat after the festive season, and using your mates as support and encouragement can be a great way of getting yourself to get up and do something! So buddy up, explore different classes, types of exercise and have fun together! Many exercise facilities will offer guest passes in the New Year – take the opportunity to try new things and find something you absolutely love, and you’re more likely to stick at it.
- Hug more
Did you know that a hug releases chemicals including endorphins in the brain that stimulate our parasympathetic nervous systems? This helps to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol which can have deeply therapeutic and healing effects. So hug more people, and for longer!
- Spread the love and it will come back to you
Finally – I’m a strong believer in “Whatever you put out will come back to you”. Whatever people or life throw at you, hit it right back with a massive smile and a heart full of love [even though this may be super hard sometimes]. Positive energy makes the world a much happier place – keep it flowing people and have a wonderful, healthy and happiest 2020!