July is just about done and dusted, and if you’re anything like me, your New Year’s resolutions are probably long forgotten!
I’ve moved away from setting too many New Year’s resolutions over the past few years, as I’ve found that I tend to set the bar way too high and then get overwhelmed and eventually give up when my goals are too big. I’m slowly starting to learn not to put so much pressure on myself, and have learnt the value in having monthly intentions instead.
With just a few minor tweaks here and there, I’ve found that it is possible to improve my health and my overall well-being without getting overwhelmed or giving up. I haven’t managed to succeed at all of my New Year’s resolutions for 2019 just yet, but now that we have less than half of the year to go, I’ve decided to relook my goals and try incorporate these five easy steps to a happier and healthier me over the next few months… maybe you want to join in, too?
Stay positive and practice gratitude
It’s easier said than done, but I’ve found that practicing gratitude and focusing on all the happy little moments that happen everyday has improved my overall mood and outlook on life so much in just a few short months. One thing I’ve learnt over the past six years (and since being diagnosed with clinical depression) is that your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and that a happy mind equals a happy body. I make sure that I write down 10 things that I’m grateful for at the start of everyday, and again at bedtime – it seems simple, but it’s made a big difference to my outlook on life.
We mindful of what you put in your body
As a busy, working mama, cooking a healthy meal often takes a backseat as I try to meet deadlines, pack lunch boxes, get my child bathed, fed, and ready for bed… I simply don’t have the time to spend an hour cooking a wholesome, hearty meal after a full day of work, child care, and more! Thankfully, I’ve built up a nice little repertoire of quick, simple meals that feature plenty of veggies and don’t take forever to cook. I’ll share these with you all if there’s an interest in seeing the, otherwise a quick Google search works wonders – try searching for “easy and healthy recipes” or “15-minute healthy dishes” and see what comes up.
Healthy ingredients (and vegan-friendly ingredients in particular) can be a tad pricey, but I’ve found some amazing deals simply by browsing online catalogues while sipping on a glass of wine at the end of a long, busy day. For example, try searching for Shoprite catalogue and you’ll find a bunch of the latest specials.
I’m amazed at how much weight I’ve lost and – more importantly – how much better I feel since moving to Greyton, and I’m convinced that it has a lot to do with the fact that I’ve become more active since moving here. I walk Beanie to school in the mornings, and also walk to the local grocery store when I know that I won’t have too many bags to carry.
But you don’t have to move to a small town to up your activity levels: simply make a decision to take the stairs instead of the lift, try to stand when you’re working on your laptop, and perhaps try to go for a walk with a friend or a colleague instead of sitting at your desk during lunch. These are all easy ways to get more exercise without having to put in a lot of effort. (I’ve also found that checking the steps counter on my phone encourages me to walk more. You can also search for and download a free app on your phone to remind you to move after long periods of being inactive).
If these suggestions don’t work for you, perhaps look into investing in a home gym? Again, try a quick online search (try Makro specials, for example) and you’ll find some great deals on gym equipment you can use at home.
Fake it till you make it
Did you know that you can trick your mind into releasing good neurotransmitters simply by smiling? The more you smile, the more you’ll trick your mind and body into thinking that you’re happy, and it will reward you by releasing even more feel-good chemicals, like serotonin. It’s well worth a try, right?
Make more time for the things you love
We’re constantly bombarded with negative news – be it on social media, in newspapers, or on TV. I’ve started forcing myself to switch off and log out of social media for at least a couple of hours every day, and it’s made such a huge difference to my mental health.
I try to use this time to focus on the things I really enjoy – I’ll make myself a cappuccino then spend some time paging through a glossy magazine, or I’ll put on my ballet shoes and do a few relevés. Just 10 minutes spent doing this makes such a difference… whether you decide to take a long hot bath or watch a good movie, it really doesn’t matter. Simply taking some time out for yourself will improve your mood and general well-being instantly.
There’s no doubt that looking after your health – both physically and mentally – is incredibly important. And it really doesn’t have to be such a massive chore – taking just one, small step every day will eventually result in big changes over time. I’m going to start small by starting to drink one extra glass of water every day, starting today… what small change will you be making today?