We talk about spring cleans, and we all know that January is the time when we sign up to gym membership once again. But it’s actually as the clocks change and the days get longer that most of us are newly inspired to make healthy changes in our lives. Knowing that health isn’t about one big decision but generally lots of little decisions, how can we use this positive time of the year to effect healthy changes for our long term wellbeing?
It can be really hard to fit exercise into the working week. Many of us have long commutes to contend with. That means getting out the door and onto the train/car/bike/bus at some horrid hour of the day. However, now that it’s lighter, it can also be easier to get up a bit earlier in the morning or feel less inclined to slink off home to bed (or for a glass of wine) straight after work. Use those extra hours of rejuvenating light to inspire you to do something a little different two or three mornings or evenings a week.
Head space is a rare commodity in our buzzing modern world. Lots of people talk about meditation and the most difficult thing about it is making the time. Lots of very successful people swear by meditation, and there’s no better time of the day than early in the morning before the world and his wife are awake, to put it into action. Just 10 to 20 minutes to ease yourself into the day quietly and calmly, rather than starting the day by having to snap into action, can really set you up with a positive mindset. Why not try a guided meditation to help you get started? There are lots of apps – HeadSpace comes well recommended.
This one might not be the easiest to convince your boss of, but if you can, what a way to make a change! Rather than sitting at your desk to chat through bits and pieces, head out into the fresh air and take a stroll. Equally, a little walk at lunchtime does a lot of good. It will give you lots more energy for the rest of the day as well. Obviously the British weather cannot always be relied upon, but unless it’s really pouring with rain you can still wrap up and reap the benefits. Even better if the sun is shining and you can throw a spot of vitamin D into the equation.
Not being able to sleep, or poor sleep, is one of the most common problems, and the issue is that it’s cumulative. It eventually creates sleep deficit, which can lead to long term health problems. Now that there are other, more interesting things to do in the evening than scroll through social media, it’s the perfect time to think seriously about having a digital cut off point in the day. Turn off the phone. Maybe sit in the garden/park and chat to your partner at the end of the day, or read a good book as the sun goes down, herbal tea in hand.
You will notice that there’s a bit of an outdoor theme to our list of suggestions. The thing is that we all spend a lot of time indoors and inside our own heads. Getting back into our bodies is and out of our heads is something that spa treatments are really good for. But other activities can be really helpful too.
Heading out into the fresh air reaps all sorts of benefits, but it also helps to get us away from our digital worlds. Taking up gardening can also be a massive inspiration for healthy eating as well. There’s something deeply restorative about planting, nurturing and growing plants. Of course you can also grow your own fruit and veg, even if we’re just talking about a couple of well tended pots on a window ledge. Allotments are seeing a real resurgence in popularity – a good use of time, a good way to burn energy, meditative and a good source of seasonal healthy food as well!
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