Another new year has come around and with January almost over what better time to consider your health and the lifestyle changes you could make to improve your wellbeing.
Set yourself a health goal
Find a goal that is truly meaningful to you. Write this goal down alongside why it is valuable and important, then make an action plan on how you will achieve it. Having an action plan is equally as important as setting a goal, as it will help you determine the specific actions you will take to help make your vision a reality.
Choose whole foods
When shopping in the supermarket buy more seasonal fruit and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, and lean meat and dairy.
Take the time to eat
Too often we eat food on the run, while watching TV, reading a book or while multitasking. Take the time to eat without distraction and pay attention to every mouthful. This will make your food even more enjoyable and may even allow you to notice when you are full!
Ditch the sugary drinks
Sugary drinks are not limited to soft drink and cordial, but sports drinks, fruit juice or even smoothies can be high in sugar too. To stay hydrated choose water or sparkling water with a wedge of lemon or lime for a twist.
Know your alcohol
Do you know what a standard alcoholic drink is? And do you know how many standard drinks you should limit yourself to? For both men and women, aim for no more than two standard alcoholic drinks in any one day. One standard drink is equal to 100ml wine OR 285ml full strength beer or 30ml spirits. Measure out exactly how much you are consuming, so you know exactly what you are drinking. Also try not to drink any alcohol a few days a week.
Move your body
Physical activity does not need to be a chore. Find an activity that you love and if you can, recruit a friend or family member to join you. Being active has an endless list of benefits for your physical and mental health. Reflect on the benefits you achieve from being active to help motivate you to keep up your regimen.
Find time to do something that you enjoy
Life gets busy and can be quite stressful. A small amount of stress can increase energy and motivation however it can become problematic when we are unable to cope with daily tasks. Keep stress levels at bay by prioritizing time for your favourite hobby or activity.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is essential for good health as a lack of sleep can impact concentration, memory, mood, judgement and physical coordination. Create habits that help you have a good night sleep. These habits may include going to bed and getting up at a similar time every day, making your bedroom a restful and comfortable space, and relaxing your mind before going to bed. For other tips about healthy sleep habits, ask your health professional about sleep hygiene.
The gift of giving
Helping others not only benefits the person you give to, but it can boost your own wellbeing. Research has shown that it can reduce blood pressure, enhance sleep and can simply make you feel good. Giving doesn’t need to be handing over money, it could be volunteering time, donating blood, or practising acts of kindness.
Track your progress
As the year passes take some time to reflect on the lifestyle changes you have made. Have you been successful, or have you found it challenging to maintain your lifestyle changes? Spending time to reflect on the changes you have made or challenges you have encountered, allows you to build on or change your action plan so that you stay on track to achieve your goal.