Overindulgence during the festive season can cause our bodies to feel restless, out of shape and worse for wear. What better way to start practicing some new, healthy habits and ways to detox than in the New Year? Here are 10 ideas:
1) Fresh air
The more fresh air you get, the more oxygen you will breathe, which actually increases the amount of the happy hormone, called serotonin, produced in your body, leaving you feeling happier and more energized. It is no wonder why fresh air is often considered by many as the best kind of medicine.
The festive period can often mean that you are cooped up inside in the warmth with family or friends. Whilst keeping warm and socializing it is not necessarily a bad thing, your body can benefit greatly from the fresh air outside. Winter is a beautiful season to be experienced outdoors on long walks. Make sure you wrap up warm with plenty of layers to prevent yourself from feeling the chill and wear sensible shoes to prevent any slips.
Christmas usually involves a lot of staying inside and watching television. However, regular exercise has lots of benefits for your health, since it has been proven to reduce the likelihood of you developing anxiety or depression. There is also strong evidence to suggest that people who are physically active have a lower chance of developing heart disease, some cancers and dementia.
Some people are put off by the idea of exercise, particularly if they already have a diagnosis that impacts their health in some way, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis. However, rest assured, physical activity is a safe, healthy and recommended activity to fit into your daily routine. If you are just starting out, try to exercise for at least 10 minutes a day. You will find that you’ll be able to increase this over time to achieve the recommended 150 minutes per week of exercise.
3) Make sure you get enough sleep
When you are sleep deprived, your body will produce more of the stress hormone cortisol, which can result in your body feeling hungrier and less energized. Making sure you get plenty of restful sleep makes your body and brain feel much more relaxed, and as a result, reduces and manages your blood pressure.
You should aim to get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. Resisting the temptation to have an afternoon nap can be difficult around this time of year, especially with daylight savings, but remember that naps can often do more harm than good by keeping you up at night.
4) Drink more water and less alcohol
It is normal to consume more alcohol over the festive period than you might ordinarily do, which can leave you feeling groggy, tired and dehydrated. In fact, excessive drinking can leave you feeling depressed, cause difficulty sleeping and can lead to numerous health problems.
Studies have shown that drinking more water helps us to feel fuller for longer, therefore reducing the likelihood of us over eating, and has even been directly linked to a stronger immune system, meaning you will be healthier during the flu season. Drinking enough water helps you to think, focus, concentrate and as a result, maintains your energy levels. You should aim to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day.
5) Slow down eating
There can be many advantages of reducing the pace of your eating including better digestion, better hydration, easier weight loss or weight maintenance, and helps you feel more satisfied after your meals. If you eat your meals too fast, it may feel like it was over with too soon, which can leave you still feeling hungry or craving food.
It may be difficult to break your habit of eating too fast at first. Start off by setting a minimum number of chews per bite, which may seem strange at first but simply requires a bit of practice.
6) Do a kitchen cleanse
Despite eating heaps of food over the festive period, the likelihood is that there is still more unhealthy food stored in your cupboards and fridge than you might think. Get rid of the temptation to eat bad food by binning the unhealthy food like crisps, chocolate and soda, and replace it with healthy, balanced options such as fresh fruit, vegetables and grains.
A lot of people believe that they cannot start eating healthy before they have finished eating the unhealthy food lying around in their homes, however, acting fast and in the moment whilst you are motivated to eat healthy will ensure that you stick to your healthy eating goals.
7) Eat more fruit and vegetables
Eating a certain kind of food will help to cure a disease or prevent one, but eating a healthy, well balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables does have its advantages. Fruit and vegetables are an excellent source of fiber, which helps to maintain a healthy gut and better digestion, and are a great source of vitamins and minerals, particularly Vitamin C.
You should aim to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetable per day. To make sure that you’re getting enough, you could keep a food diary of what you’re eating, which should make it easier to recognize what you eat too much of and what you need to eat more of.
8) Keep your brain busy
Giving your brain a regular workout is just as important as physical exercise. Challenging your brain regularly reduces the chances of you developing memory loss and keeps your cognition sharp. There is plenty of games or activities to implement into your daily routine, from reading, crossword puzzles, solitaire or Sudoku. Experiment and find out what works best for you.
9) Revisit an old hobby
The New Year gives you plenty of time to reflect on pastimes and fond memories. You may find that you remember an old hobby that you used to enjoy. Why not take that hobby back up again? It could be knitting, gardening, painting, reading, doing puzzles, home baking or something else. Make it a social activity and teach it to a friend or your grandchildren so that you can schedule regular meetings and enjoy it together.
10) Reflexology for Detox
Some people find reflexology extremely beneficial. A treatment can leave the body feeling rejuvenated, cleansed, less bloated, and more energized. Some people even report reduced or eliminated allergy symptoms. Reflexology involves a one hour treatment where a reflexology professional pushes pressure points on your feet where nerve endings are located in order to release toxins, increase blood flow and create a heightened sense of relaxation. Some people find reflexology so relaxing that they fall fast asleep. The best way to find a reflexology professional near you is to enquire at your local beauty salon or to do a search on Google.