Do you start every new year thinking ‘this is going to be my best year yet?! Or is that only me? I know that I wake up on 1st January with good intentions, wanting to change just about everything about my life and for a week or so it works, then I get tired. Or I forget I’m supposed to be drinking more water and eating more fruit and vegetables and catch myself drinking yet another coffee and stuffing my face with cream cakes and end up feeling like I’ve somehow failed.
I’ve come to realise that the reason this happens is because I’m not clear with my intentions and I try to change too many things all at one time.
So here are some slightly more sustainable ways how to have a healthy and happy new year.
One thing I have learned over the years is that it’s possible just to restart where you’ve stopped – rather than feel that you have failed or that you need to start over from the beginning. It’s a bit like falling off a horse, you can just get back on it where you fell of, you don’t need to go back to the starting line. (That’s assuming the horse hasn’t run off!)
Give your immune system a boost
Eat a good diet
This time of year everyone seems to have the winter sniffles (or worse) so boosting your immune system is a good idea.
The best way to boost your immune system is to truly look after yourself by eating a good, nutritious diet based around fruit and vegetables, seeds, nuts wholegrains, pulses and legumes.
Eating a diet which is as unprocessed as possible can be useful as often you find hidden sugars and additives lurking in processed food. So where possible avoid ready meals, meal deals and pre-prepared foods. Eat home cooked meals instead.
Include in your diet more fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi or live yoghurt or kefir. This helps support your microbiome and gut bacteria.
If you struggle to cook fresh food every day try bulk cooking so you have to hand some homemade food that doesn’t take any extra preparation when it’s needed.
If you’re not used to eating a lot of fruit and vegetables try adding in one extra piece of fruit to your breakfast or slicing up some tomato and cucumber to go in your lunchtime sandwich or having a banana as a mid afternoon slump buster.
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
If you find drinking water on its own a challenge experiment with adding slices of citrus fruit into your glass, or a slice of cucumber.
A slice of orange is nice in water. Also experiment with temperature of the water, some people find it better to have it room temperature, others prefer it iced or hot.
Supplement with vitamin D from October to April
The NHS recommends that most people would benefit from taking a vitamin D supplement during the darker winter months if living in the UK
For more information on the recommendations for taking vitamin D supplements see link below
Get enough sleep
Having a good nights sleep can make a big difference to your overall health and happiness. Going to bed and getting up at the same time (ish) every day can help your body into a good sleep pattern.
If you find that you’re waking in the night try having a little supper before bed as often it can be a dip in blood sugar that wakes you up especially if you need to wee when you wake up.
Use your bedroom only for sleeping, reading and ‘bedroom things’ – try not to have it as a multipurpose office unless you can close away all signs of work at the end of your working day. It can also be helpful to ban children’s toys, laundry that needs processing or anything else that may get in the way of your bedroom being a relaxing sanctuary!
Check out my other blog posts on sleep
Where possible get 150 mins of exercise per week. This works out at 30 mins a day over 5 days. Or increase your activity levels by going for a walk every day or having a wander around your garden.
Or try taking the stairs not the lift if your mobility allows or if you have a close-to-home errand to run like posting a letter or buying milk from the corner shop leave the car at home and walk or cycle instead.
Being more active gets your blood pumping and your feel good hormones flowing so is good for body, mind and spirit.
Read my blog posts about exercise
Manage Stress levels
Being stressed plays havoc with our immune system so keeping stress down to manageable levels is very important.
The new year is a good time to go over your list of commitments and to see what you can drop.
Create a calm down box or cupboard.
It can be useful to have to hand a bag, box or cupboard full of things you can go to more or less without thinking if you’re stressed to help distract you.
This could be an adult colouring book and pens or a notebook or a good book, a sketch book, or a face mask, some chocolate or some knitting or crocheting, or whatever you do to feel calm.
This way you can just go to it and distract yourself easily when stressed. Listening to relaxing music can be helpful.
If you feel angry whilst stressed try making bread from scratch, the kneading of the dough is a great way of expressing tension.
Have regular massages, reiki treatments or reflexology
Taking some time out for you where you put down the needs of everyone else in your life and simply relax is key for managing your stress levels. If you would like to check my availability and book and appointment please go to https://www.sarahcooper.co.uk/book
Remember your wants and needs matter too!
It is so easy to always put everyone else’s wants and needs first but in order to be truly happy and healthy we need to remember that we too have needs, wants and desires and that these needs, wants and desires matter as much as anyone else’s!
Don’t be afraid to take breaks, to have time out, to go for an afternoon nap, to spend time doing your hobbies, meeting your friends etc.
The more rested and rebalanced you are, the happier you’re going to be. The ripple effect of this is other people are going to be happier too.
You know how much of a buzz it gives you when you put other people’s needs first, allow your friends and family to receive that same buzz for putting your needs first once in a while!
Have fun/ do the things you love first
Do you find that your day is set up so that you do your work/chores/ other boring stuff first and then run out of time, money and energy for doing the things you love doing?
If so try setting your alarm for half an hour or an hour or so earlier each day and do the things you love doing first. This should give you a boost for the rest of the day.
Know that you’re loveable and good enough just as you already are
Often we think that we have to be perfect in order to be loveable or good enough. But this is simply not true. You don’t need to wait until you’ve perfected yourself to be good enough, accepted or loved. Sometimes we end up worrying so much about our flaws that we hide away from opportunities for love. People, the right people will love you exactly as you are right now.
So be more you. The more you’re truly in alignment with who you are, what you stand for, and are your true authentic self the more the right people will be drawn to you. it is safe to be you!
Trying to constantly improve yourself in order to be ‘enough’ is exhausting. So this year, just relax in the knowledge that you are enough, you are loveable and enjoy being you.
Let the world see the real you … I dare you!
I am a Reflexologist, Reiki Master Practitioner and Writer from Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire. I love writing about Health and Wellbeing, Mind Body Spirit and Reflexology. When I’m not at work, you can find me in the kitchen cooking up a storm!
If you’d like to book a treatment please go to https://www.sarahcooper.co.uk/book