As the new year approaches, it’s only natural that ideas for resolutions start creeping in. Are you determined that 2020 will bring the fittest, healthiest you that has ever been? Are you, even now, convincing yourself that New Year’s Day will see you up at 6 am, protein shake in hand on your way to the gym, before meditation to mindfully begin your year?
We all lead incredibly busy lives and putting pressure on ourselves to maintain the fit and healthy lifestyles we see online can make us feel even less motivated and add unnecessary stress on an already hectic way of life. Below, you’ll find some ways that you can incorporate a few healthy habits into your day-to-day life, without making yourself unhappy.
1. Don’t Discount the Little Things
Did you take the stairs instead of the lift? Did you park slightly further away from the grocery store and walk there and back? All the small things you do on a daily basis still count. Sure, you might not have made it to the gym today, but did you carry your Christmas shopping back and forth to the car?
Taking five minutes to do some spine rolls or stretch, or just taking a short walk all gets your body moving. Just because it isn’t a three-hour HIIT workout, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth acknowledging.
This also counts for nutrition. What we put into our bodies can make a massive difference to how we feel, but that doesn’t just go for goji berries and kale – having a glass of wine and catch up with a close family member can release endorphins and make us feel valued.
Cooking a special meal of something comforting like chicken parm with a loved one, sharing that time and some delicious food can also feed the soul. If you worry about what you eat and calories, think about portion control, rather than denying yourself things. One day off won’t undo all your hard work and you can make up for it tomorrow if you want to.
2. Toxic Competition
It can be easy to fall into the trap of getting slightly competitive with your friends or co-workers, especially if you share the same fitness goals. Look out for people around you who aren’t supportive when you don’t make it to the gym, or itemize what they’ve eaten that day to you, making you feel as if you aren’t up a certain standard.
If you have a friend like this, it’s important to put some boundaries in place so you don’t let yourself get stressed out by them.
3. You Do You
Who knows your body better than you do? That’s right – no one. So if you aren’t feeling 100%, or you need to give yourself a little break, you’ll know. Of course, if you need urgent care, it’s important to seek professional help and support, but if what you really need are a few days off or a pause from your usual routine, then you need to be the first person to realize that.
Remember, you wouldn’t try and drive 600 miles in a car without stopping at a gas station and refueling yourself is no different. So look after yourself, and don’t feel guilty about it.