Let’s face it - very few of us managed to see our ‘New Year, New Me’ health goals through the first month of the year. It can be hard to muster up the motivation to cook a nutritious meal after a long day of work or get on the exercise bike by the time the clock strikes 6pm, especially when the latest episode of our current favourite Netflix series is calling out to us.
This is even more of a struggle in the warmer months when the lifestyle of beer gardens and daily trips to the ice cream van are the perfect way to unwind after a busy week. While this is a glorious way to spend time with your friends and family, many of us often feel the need to start anew come Monday morning. Keeping yourself happy and healthy should not be centred around crazy restrictive diets and intense workouts to burn off the weekend’s fun, as this can have a significant impact on your mental health. Instead, making minor changes to your daily life can make an enormous difference to your health and wellbeing, both physical and mental.
Cultivating a healthy morning routine
If our morning is full of healthy, mindful choices, we can give our bodies exactly what they need to power through the day ahead. There are some obvious dos and don’ts that will set you off on the right foot. According to a survey from Reviews.org, 71% of us check our phones first thing in the morning. This might be in regard to people’s work life or personal circumstances, but regularly relying on fuelling your morning with social media and emails can negatively impact the levels of dopamine your brain produces, affecting your overall mood for the day.
Fuel your morning with things you know make you happy and will get your brain active. It goes without saying that ‘up north’ the morning cannot start without a steaming cup of Yorkshire Tea, so perhaps having one while planning the day ahead could be your ideal way to begin the day. Equally, getting out in the fresh morning air is known to have so many benefits for your physical as well as your mental health. Even a 20-minute stroll gives you the chance to take in the wonders of nature and start your day off on the right foot.
Find an exercise you love
Advice from the NHS outlines that at least 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of low-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week is recommended in order to keep a fit and healthy lifestyle. If completing high-intensity workouts is how you choose to exercise and keep fit, then perhaps opting for activities that involve team members or a partner could allow you to build relationships and socialise with others, not only keeping your body stimulated, but also your brain. Equally, taking part in low-impact movement, such as long walks or yoga classes can give your mind the chance to slow down and unwind. Getting regular fresh air is just as important for your health as movement.
The human body is comprised of 60% water and needs around 2.7 (female) to 3.7 (male) litres daily to function at a healthy and balanced level. While it can be hard to consistently remember to drink enough water every day, there are numerous proven health benefits, both internal and external, that come with a hearty dose of H2O. It is common knowledge that hydration is good for our energy levels and increases both mood and concentration when performing daily chores. As well as this, water helps to increase elasticity in the skin as it stays moisturised for longer. This aids the reduction of wrinkles and fine lines as it tightens the skin around the upper arms, thighs, waist and jawline. Further to this, water helps to flush the body of harmful toxins and dirt, which helps to prevent acne and clogged pores. There are ways to make drinking water fun, such as investing in a motivation bottle, giving you words of encouragement the further down the bottle you get. Equally, adding something fruity and tangy to your bottle, such as lemons or raspberries can give you that extra kick to get it down the hatch!