A new year, a new you! We have all said it, rushing into the new year with promises to look after ourselves more. And then all too soon we find we are back to our old habits.
When a New Year comes along, there is a lot of pressure to set goals – personal, business, or health. To be honest, it can get overwhelming.
Like everything I do, I always like to keep my goals simple and realistic. That way they are a lot more achievable. I like this quote from Bill gates:
“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”
So rather than set so many goals you will most probably give up on, look at your health as a long-term goal.
Keeping it simple and making slight changes to your everyday life all year round means long-term health rather than a short-term result.
In this blog post I will give you eight things you can easily do every day to keep you healthy throughout the year.
If you’ve heard me say it once, you’ve heard me say it a million times – drink more water! And by that I also mean, get a good water filter or drink glass bottled water.
Adult humans are 60% water and our blood is 90% water. We need water for a variety of functions, including waste removal, nutrient transmission, and to move oxygen around the body.
Our food intake contributes about 20% of our fluid intake, which means we need to drink about 8-10 glasses per day to make up for the rest of what we need.
Get a water bottle and keep it full, have it next to you at work, take it out on walks, and in the car and sip it throughout the day.
If you don’t like the taste of water, try adding fresh fruits or herbs to give a little flavour, mint or cucumber is great.
Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin. We can get most of our vitamin D from sunlight exposure from around late March to the end of September. Our bodies store some of it, but as we go through winter, we get depleted, and this has been linked to depression and a poor immune system.
If you live in the UK during the winter, it’s likely you will need a vitamin D boost. The natural form of vitamin D your body makes from the sunlight is cholecalciferol and can be taken from a good D3 supplement. If you are concerned, you can have a blood test to check your vitamin D levels.
So many of us spend our days sitting. Aim to get up from your desk for 5 minutes every hour, stretch and walk about. If you don’t have a regular exercise routine, then aim for 10,000 steps a day. You can track it on your phone or with a pedometer. Think about how you can get more exercise into your day, maybe a walk at lunchtime or in the evening after dinner – this is great for digestion too!
Get out in Nature
Going for a walk in nature ticks so many boxes, you can get your steps in plus nature has a calming effect on our minds so you get to destress. And if you are walking in the sun, you get your Vitamin D! In fact, the healing power of nature is endless. There are no excuses if you are in a big city such as London, get to your local park – you will feel so much better afterwards.
Deal with your stress
It is so common that most of us have suffered from stress in our lives. Long-term stress can have a negative effect on our bodies and mind.
Stress can lead to fatigue and exhaustion and instead of finding ways to relax, most of us turn to quick-fix solutions such as more coffee, fizzy drinks and sugary foods to keep us going. Stress also affects our digestive system, making it slow and ineffective, meaning we are not assimilating the nutrients from our food properly. If you are feeling stressed, then it’s better to eat very light meals throughout the day.
Find what works for you, exercise, a walk, yoga, meditation, turning off your phone can all help.
Eat more plant-based foods
Cutting down on meat is not only good for your health, it’s good for the environment. If you are a meat lover, then aim to have at least one meat free day a week. Maybe Meat-free Mondays. And then add more meat free days as you get used to it.
The goal is to eat the rainbow on your plate, a variety of colour. Aim for 30 different fruits and vegetables a week, which has been shown to improve gut health.
Make a list of all the vegetables and fruits you like and stick it to your fridge, and you want to be eating more veggies than fruit!
Love your liver
Our liver is probably the most overworked organ in our body. Instead of loving our liver, we often abuse it by overloading it with stimulants, alcohol, sugar, processed food and fizzy drinks, impairing its ability to eliminate toxins effectively from our bodies.
The liver is the major organ of detoxification and works hand in hand with the digestive system. The liver filters the blood coming from the digestive system before it passes it to the rest of the body. If you are absorbing all the correct nutrients from a healthy diet, this process is fairly straightforward. If, however, you have a poor diet and are not absorbing the essential nutrients, your blood will not be filtered properly and toxins will remain in the blood. This means that your body will be toxic and you will experience poor circulation as there will be a lack of oxygen and essential nutrients being fed to the cells, making you tired. A toxic body will cause the onset of disease.
Look after your gut
The gut is where nearly 80% of your immune system lives and where up to 95% of your serotonin (the primary transmitter responsible for your mood) is produced. Your brain and gut are in constant communication as they are connected by the vagus nerve. So, when things are out of balance in your gut, your whole body suffers. Poor gut health has been linked to a low mood, anxiety, and depression.
Take a probiotic daily, eat a variety of veg and introduce some fermented foods into your diets, such as sauerkraut or kimchi.
Look after your emotional health
Our emotional health is how we think and feel. It’s our sense of wellbeing and our ability to cope with the ups and downs of life. When you feel good about yourself, it’s much easier to cope with life’s minor difficulties and bigger events, such as divorce or a death.
There are so many things you can do to improve your emotional health. Make sure you meet friends, for a coffee or a walk. Join a book group, start a new hobby, walk in nature, exercise, keep a journal and write in it every morning. Getting our worries out of our heads and onto the page can really help.
It’s actually really simple to get all these things into your day and stick to them. I mean, all you really need to do is drink more water, walk in nature with a friend, consume less of the bad stuff and eat more variety of vegetables. Do that every day or week and you are taking the first steps to long-term health.
I have blogs on all of these things plus some great tips and recipes so have a browse through.
If you are serious about taking on your health this year and want a kick start then I have a 21 day cleanse starting today! Get in touch for more information.