Simple Strategies To Supercharge Your Health And Wellbeing In The New Year
It’s that time of year again when we start reflecting on the last 12 months and looking forward to a new year. Resolutions may be a cliché, but there’s a lot to be said for starting the year with goals and targets. With health dominating the headlines and the pandemic still a concern, it’s natural to want to boost your health. In this guide, we’ll explore some simple strategies to supercharge your health and wellbeing in the coming new year.
Supercharge Your Health & Wellbeing in 5 Simple Steps
Supercharge Your Health #1 – Increase Your Activity Level
If there’s one thing you pledge to do in the new year, make it your mission to increase your activity levels. Exercise is a powerful natural remedy, which is proven to protect and nourish both physical and mental health. As the year draws to a close and January looms, you’ll probably be bombarded with adverts and emails encouraging you to sign up for a gym membership or exercise classes. Some people love going to the gym, but it’s not for everyone. If you don’t feel excited about the prospect of lifting weights or sweating it out on a treadmill surrounded by others, don’t panic. There are myriad ways to get fit and reap the rewards of a more active lifestyle.
If you’re new to exercise and you lead a sedentary lifestyle, it’s best to start with small changes to your daily routine. Start taking the stairs instead of a lift or an escalator and try to make time for a walk or a gentle jog each day. Leave the car at home if you’re popping to the shops, or take your bike out if you’re visiting friends or commuting a short distance.
You can also try home workouts if you have a busy schedule or you’re conscious about being around others. When you work out at home, you can exercise around work or childcare commitments and you can choose from a range of activities, including virtual classes and personal training sessions, following workouts online or via the TV and using home gym equipment.
Setting daily or weekly targets is a fantastic way to motivate yourself. Activity trackers have become incredibly popular in recent years. If you have a tracker, set yourself a daily steps target or a weekly goal for active minutes. Experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
Figure out your average activity levels and then try to build up your fitness gradually. If you usually do 3,000 steps per day, for example, try to get to 5,000 and then keep moving the goalposts to increase your stamina. You can choose from different activities to hit your weekly target. Moderate exercise covers everything from yoga, Pilates, spin and dance classes to swimming, playing tennis or golf, trampolining, jogging and playing team games.
If you have underlying health issues, a history of injuries, or you’re not sure how to get started with training, it’s a great idea to work with a personal trainer and consult your doctor for advice. Trainers can design tailored programmes, which are relevant to your objectives and your health status.
Further Reading: How to Feel Good About Your Health in 6 Manageable Steps
Supercharge Your Health #2 – Enhance Your Sleep Quality
Statistics suggest that around half of the global adult population doesn’t get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can increase the risk of physical and mental health issues. While you might be able to run on coffee after one sleepless night, not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can reduce immunity, impact your mood and energy levels, increase susceptibility to stress and affect your performance at work or college.
There are several reasons why people find it difficult to sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, it’s beneficial to try self-help techniques before seeking expert advice. One of the best ways to enhance sleep quality and ensure you get enough rest is to adapt your routine.
If you go to bed at 10 o’clock one night and 1 AM the next, your body clock will be out of sync. Set yourself a bedtime and get up at the same time each morning. This will enable your body clock to adjust. After a few days or weeks, you should find that you start to feel tired when your bedtime approaches and that you feel more alert in the morning when your alarm goes off.
Another important step to take if you find it hard to sleep is to take the opportunity to wind down and relax before you get into bed. Avoid caffeine during the evenings, don’t check work emails and try to stay off social media. Read, watch TV, listen to music, catch up with friends or run a hot bubble bath to help you relax. Leave phones out of the bedroom.
Try to ensure that your bedroom is a tranquil, calming space. Tidy up and declutter, opt for soft lighting and choose a colourway that promotes serenity. Neutral shades and colours, such as blue, purple and green are proven to have a soothing effect. Use heavy curtains or blackout blinds to block light out.
Further Reading: 5 Top Tips for Creating the Perfect Bedroom Space
Supercharge Your Health #3 – Have Fun
It may sound simplistic, but so many of us lose sight of the importance of having fun. We work long hours and we devote a lot of time to caring for or looking after others. If you have a busy schedule, you may find that you don’t have enough time to indulge your hobbies, socialise with family or friends or spend quality time with your kids. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that life is too short. Having fun is an important element of self-care. Try to make time for activities that make you happy and find a healthy work-life balance.
If you have children, make the most of your downtime. Leave work at the office, manage your schedule and block out periods to spend time with your children and have fun together as a family.
Go for long walks in the fresh air, explore, plan a bike ride with friends or get involved in fun backyard games for the entire family. Organise movie nights, themed dinners or lazy brunches on gloomy, wet weekends and investigate places you can visit or events you can attend next time you have a Saturday free or the kids are off school. From zoos and wildlife parks, beaches and museums to theme parks, sports and leisure venues and national parks, there are endless options to keep everyone entertained.
If you struggle to make time to unwind and relax on your own, start scheduling breaks for hobbies and interests. Go to an art or yoga class, take time out to write, meditate, read or listen to music, or sign up for cooking classes or a photography workshop. It’s so important to have time to wind down and clear your mind and it can also be hugely beneficial for your mental health to develop new skills, express yourself and build confidence.
Further Reading: 4 Fun Ways to Relax This Weekend
Supercharge Your Health #4 – Keep Up-to-Date with Health Checks
It’s not always possible to prevent every illness, but keeping up to date with routine checks is an effective way to lower risks. If you have no idea whether your blood pressure is normal, you don’t know what your BMI is, you haven’t been to the dentist for years, or you’re overdue for a cancer screening test, for example, now is the time to make some calls. Simple, quick tests can sometimes make the difference between life and death. You can access some services through local pharmacies , Psymplicity or see your GP.
You can use an online tool to calculate your BMI (body mass index). All you need to do is weigh and measure yourself and enter the figures. If you are in the overweight or obese categories, losing weight will help to reduce the risk of health issues, such as heart disease and some types of cancer.
Further Reading: Cardiovascular Health – 4 Lifestyle Tips for a Healthy Heart
Supercharge Your Health #5 – Manage Stress
It’s no secret that anxiety and stress levels are rising. The pace of modern-day life is challenging at the best of times and most people are feeling the effects of the pandemic. If you are struggling with stress, or you’re eager to try and manage stress more effectively in the year ahead, there are multiple self-help methods to try.
Exercise is a natural stress-buster, which can help you to express emotions and clear your mind and provide a welcome distraction from work and other triggers. It’s also beneficial to take time out if you’re tired or burnt out and to make time for hobbies and socialising with people who lift you up and support you.
Try to talk about how you feel and be open with close friends and family. Often, letting things out and getting stresses and strains off your chest can help. If you don’t want to talk to people you know, you could see a counsellor or a therapist or join forums or groups online. Some people also find breathing exercises and meditation beneficial for stress. Spending time outdoors is also proven to boost energy levels and reduce stress.
A new year is upon us and what better time to think about your health and wellbeing, and the ways you can ‘supercharge your health and wellbeing’. Even if you think that resolutions are a waste of time, it’s hugely beneficial to consider setting targets or goals to help you protect and boost your physical and mental health. Simple strategies like increasing your activity levels, enhancing your sleep quality, having fun and managing stress can make an incredible difference.
Supercharge Your Health Photos by Karolina Grabowska – CCO Licence
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