Each year, we make resolutions to be healthier, happier and fitter, and then two weeks later, we give up on them. Our brains decide that the effort just isn’t worth making, and we go back to like we were before. Just like that, our chance of a happier and healthier year disappears. Or does it?
The good news is that just because you’ve quit your new year’s resolutions, that doesn’t mean you can’t overhaul your health. Let’s think realistically here. It’s not about making rules for yourself that are impossible to follow, such as no chocolate for a year. It’s about changing your lifestyle so that overall you live more healthily.
You don’t need resolutions; you need to make small lifestyle changes that you can stick at for life. It’s not about unrealistic goals; it’s about making simple changes to improve your health. Research has shown that the key to being healthier is what’s known as ‘lifestyle medicine’. This is making small changes to how healthily you lead your life. To help you use lifestyle medicine to improve yourself, I thought I would share ideas of how you can be healthier and happier in 2016, and beyond.
Eat your greens
Blend them into a smoothie, roast them in the oven, eat them raw with dips, just make sure to eat plenty of fruit and veg. Aim to always get your five a day. As by doing this not only will increase your body’s vitamin consumption but you’ll also reduce your risk of cancer. Make fruit and vegetables your go-to snack foods, and you’ll instantly boost your health.
Exercise each day
Exercise isn’t for everyone. If anyone understands that it’s me – I hate exercise. However, I also know that it’s super important to stay active if you want to lead and long and healthy life. Studies have shown that doing just 10 minutes of exercise each day can make a difference to your health. So get up and do something, even if it’s just walking to the shops.
The key to making exercise a part of your daily life is finding a sport that you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be anything of a high intensity, even going for a walk or practicing yoga counts as exercise. For a healthier mind and body, aim to exercise for at least 10 minutes a day.
Reduce your alcohol consumption
It’s no secret that we all like a drink now and then, but it’s important to be careful of how much alcohol you’re consuming. Not only does alcohol go straight to the hips, it can also have many scary effects on your mental health. So it’s essential that you monitor how much you’re drinking and don’t exceed your weekly limit. That’s 14 to 21 units for women and 21 to 28 units for men.
Of course, the question is, what do 14 units look like? Six pints of beer or six glasses of wine equate to 14 units of alcohol, so even having a couple of drinks a day is too much. It’s surprising how little alcohol you need to drink, to go over your recommended amount.
We all know the nasty side effects that come with smoking – skin and teeth staining, bad breath, COPD, and cancer. And yet, so many of us still choose to smoke. I have never been a smoker, but I’ve had family members who have, so I know just how hard it can be to quit. However, if you want to be healthier, quitting smoking is a real must. No matter how much fruit and vegetables you eat and how many runs you go on, if you smoke, you can never be healthy.
The good news is that thanks to the ingenious invention of e-cigarettes, quitting couldn’t be easier. Using steam and flavoured liquid, e-cigarettes allow you to replace smoking with vaping. The fluids used for vaping contain various grades of nicotine, so you can slowly reduce the levels that you consume. And best of all, there are plenty of flavours to choose from. Check out these Flavour Factory E Liquids to get an idea of what’s on offer.
Learn to manage stress
When we think of being healthy, one area that we often forget about is our mental health. The truth is that unless our minds are well looked after, our bodies will suffer as a result. One of the leading causes of mental health issues, both minor and major, is stress.
We all suffer stress on a regular basis, and our bodies are made to deal with it, but only with so much of it. There comes a point when too much stress can start causing problems. And so, it’s important that we know how to manage it. There are lots of simple ways that you can manage stress, but the easiest are deep breathing and practicing meditation. The best forms of meditation for stress management are yoga and tai chi.
Want to lead a healthier and happier life? The answer isn’t resolutions it’s making long-term lifestyle changes that are easy to stick to.