After such an interesting year spent indoors and a year feeling less healthier than we were, I’m almost certain that I am not the only one who gained a few pounds. If you were part of the lucky few who challenged themselves to a healthier lifestyle, good on you. Unfortunately, I cannot relate. My lockdown started off great, and then it wasn’t. I could give you every excuse about why it all went south, but that won’t help anyone. Instead, I would just like everyone who is in a similar situation to know that it’s okay. We had our slip up but now it’s time to get healthier.
WHAT DOES HEALTHIER EVEN MEAN?
When the word healthy comes to mind, I immediately picture fitness models, but are they really the healthier option for everyone?
Based on that definition alone, it’s safe to say that a lot of us are not in good health following the year we just had. How then can we reverse the effects of 2020 and move towards a healthier version of ourselves?
CLEAN OUT YOUR FRIDGE
Of course we need to keep our fridges clean so that we don’t fall sick, but have you been keeping it ‘clean’? And I don’t mean it in the normal sense, I’m talking about the junk that shouldn’t be there. One of the easiest things you can do is donate all of the unhealthy options in your fridge and pantry. This way you can start of with a clean slate – no pun intended.
When it comes to becoming healthier, it’s not sustainable to go from zero to a hundred with a click of your fingers. What works best is to slowly transform different aspects of your life for an easier transition. Start by swapping out a bar of chocolates for a fruit or a bag of chips for potato wedges. However slow you choose to go, just remember that slow progress is still progress.
REDUCE YOUR CAFFEINE INTAKE
I get it, we aren’t spring chickens anymore, and being awake just isn’t possible without caffeine. I’m nearly thirty and cannot function without it! You know what’s funny? You can get better results without caffeine if you just ramped up your exercise and worked on your sleep hygiene!
Pairing healthy eating with exercise and sufficient sleep is the not-so-secret recipe for energy. Notice how I said healthy eating? That means giving your body the right amount of nutrients it needs. Cleaning out your diet is great, but if you just start eating fruits and forget about everything else, you won’t have the right balance of nutrients. The key is balance.
WORK ON A HEALTHIER ROUTINE
If the only exercise you’ve gotten over the past few months was the frequent trip to and from the kitchen, we need to have a talk. Walking is great, don’t get me wrong, but it needs to be paired with the healthy eating we mentioned above. If I showed you just how much walking I got done in the last quarter of the year, you would expect me to have washboard abs. Unfortunately, I was walking around with chips and biscuits in my hands. So the total calories consumed far exceed the amount of energy I was burning.
When it comes to setting a healthy routine, counting calories and sticking to a strict workout plan doesn’t work for everyone. So what I encourage you to do instead of mimicking a fitness model’s routine is to challenge yourself with something new each month. Whatever you choose to do, let it be something that you can easily stick to or have fun doing.
Some smartwatches have monthly challenges set for your current fitness levels. I personally try to win the monthly awards by reaching the goals set out for me. Another fun way to introduce exercise into your routine is to set challenges with your group of friends. My husband and I always compete with our Apple watches, with the loser stuck with more chores.
If you don’t have a smartwatch, you can still set up different challenges for yourself and your friends. You will need to be creative on how to track each person’s progress, but it can still be done. Just make sure to cater to anyone’s special needs or eating disorders.
CHECK OUT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Going back to the original definition, being healthy is not limited to just your physical health. We also need to make sure that our mental health is in check. I have mentioned a few times before that lockdown was quite fun for me, but the shift in my schedule did mess with my brain. If you feel the same, know that it is absolutely normal! Just allow yourself time to readjust to the new norms, and keep a close watch on your mental health
If you have found the past few months to be particularly draining and emotional, consider speaking to someone about your feelings. Even if you don’t think you need it, try and schedule a few therapy sessions anyway. You never really know what will come out of it!
Pro-tip: therapy can be pretty expensive, and you can get the desired results from speaking to someone you trust.
What are some of your tips for getting healthier this year? Have you started a healthier regime?
And those are my tips on getting healthier this year. If you’d like to chat a little more about mental health and lifestyle, head on over to my blog so we can chat! Also, do make sure to check out Olivia’s post on my blog as she has also covered some of her own.