Whether it’s been a few weeks or a few years since you last exercised and made a conscious decision to improve your physical and mental health, it’s always the first step that is the hardest.
The biggest tip to succeeding when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle is to enjoy what you are doing. If you are enjoying the healthy food you are digging into, enjoying the exercise you sweat to and enjoying the mental health practices you unwind to; then you will be far more likely to keep them up. Don’t wait for the grass to grow to start your healthy regime. By beginning today, your tomorrow self will be thankful for it.
Make realistic changes to your diet. Add beans and pulses to meals and chopped fruit to your breakfast. Switch to skimmed milk. Put your sandwich filling on top of lettuce leaves. Cut down on salt in cooking. Swap sugary fizzy drinks for zero sugar drinks or even better - water. Make portion sizes smaller. Little steps like these will start you off on a more balanced diet. Most importantly, if you do have a chocolate bar or packet crisps or slice of birthday cake, don’t beat yourself up about it, and don’t give up. A balanced diet is not a balanced diet if you say no to absolutely everything all the time!
Physical activity is a great way to improve physical and mental health. It helps to manage weight, build bone and muscle strength, makes you feel better and can even help avoid some cancer types. However, for those that absolutely love a good gym session, there’s just as many that can’t think of anything more boring. The answer? Find the right activity for you that doesn’t feel like exercise. How about hiking? Biking? Speed housecleaning? Dancing around to your favourite tunes? Whacking a squash ball around a court? Learning tai chi or ashtanga yoga? Try different things that get you moving to find your kindred keep fit activity.
Make time for me
Though often overlooked, mental health is just as important as physical health. Step outside and feel the warm spring sun (or rain) on your skin. Unplug from technology for a little while and read a book, enjoy a cup of tea, talk with a friend, or play a game with the kids. Learn mindfulness to reduce stress and overthinking; whether talking, listening, reading, or brushing your teeth – all you do is pay attention. By taking the time to look after your mental health in small ways such as these, you’ll be better at being there for others too.