January can so often be a time where people intend to make radical changes and become a new person. Unfortunately time and again the enthusiastic plans we have for the new year so often fall by the wayside. After all, who wants to go running on a dark evening? Or eat a salad when there is snow on the ground?! In nature the vast majority of plants and animals use winter as a time to rest and restore ready to bloom again in the spring.
So why not take January and February to really think about what you want to achieve this year and make a plan? Then go for it come the spring when the nights get lighter and nature comes alive. That's not to say you can't make a start now but make them small and realistic. Here are our top 5 things to do more of in 2018!
1. Go for walks in the woods.
Getting out for a walk in nature is a wonderful way to exercise in a calming and rejuvenating way. Spending time in nature has been shown to improve mood, boost the immune system, reduce stress and improve sleep. But I bet you didn't need a study to tell you that?!
2. Stay hydrated.
An oldie but a goodie... how many of us actually drink enough each day to achieve optimal hydration? Try and drink more water or herb tea throughout the day. Remember caffeinated drinks don't count towards your hydration goals as they are dehydrating. An easy change to make this month would be to swap just one of your cuppa's for a herb tea to help keep you hydrated.
I didn't think that meditation would be for me. But then I tried it and loved it. It can be so hard to find time for ourselves to just chill when life is so busy with work, children, dogs to walk, houses to clean, bills to pay... I'll stop before our blood pressure goes up! It's really worth just carving out 5-10 minutes a couple of times a week (or every day if you can) to just take a breath and chill. It doesn't need any equipment, it doesn't have to cost anything and you can do it anywhere. I really like the headspace app but I'd recommend trying a few (lots of videos on youtube) and finding one that suits you.
4. Eat more Greens.
Green vegetables like kale, cabbage, sprouts and broccoli are so good for us. Packed with fibre to feed our good gut bacteria and B Vitamins like folate which can improve brain function, energy levels and support fertility. Always ensure something green on the plate or in your morning smoothies. Also try and introduce more herbs such as parsley and coriander into meals such as salads and smoothies as they are literally packed with nutrients and so easy to add to many meals. We all get into a bit of a rut with our veggies and really need to bring in more variety. Try and increase your number and variety of greens each day and cooking methods and flavours.
5. Make your bed.
This will probably seem like such a random addition but hear me out. By making my bed each morning before I leave the house I know if nothing else goes right I have at least achieved one thing. It also encourages me to try and make my room a little more organised and less of the dumping ground it could so easily become. It's also lovely at the end of the day to walk into my room and see a nicely made bed ready for me to curl up in with a good book and a sleepy tea. Maybe you do this already? If not try it and let us know how you get on.
6. Get better quality sleep
Quality and quantity of sleep is an increasing problem due to over stimulation from iPhones, computers and TV's. The blue light affect suppresses our melatonin interfering not only with sleep quality but also the health of our hormones. It's actually a significant health risk. Apart from obvious links with energy levels and cognitive function, poor sleep can affect our blood sugar, appetite, increasing risk of obesity and also mental health challenges. Whatever you do, addressing any challenges with this aspect of your life can make a huge difference to your overall health.
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