One of the best resolutions you can make every year is to look after your health. But where do you start? A gym membership? Meditation? A new diet? Sometimes the options can be so overwhelming that you just don’t know where to begin. In behavioral science this is something that’s referred to as “paralysis by analysis”, meaning that you spend so much time overthinking something that you never actually take action.
One of the best ways to overcome this overwhelm is by creating a detailed checklist with achievable goals that outline each action you need to take to complete them. In this post, I’m going to look at the overall goal of optimizing your health in 2020 and the 5 simple steps you can take to accomplish that goal.
Cut Down On Processed Foods
Processed foods can have a pretty bad effect on your digestion and often lead to weight gain, so it’s best to try to restrict them as much as possible. The key here is to cut down; not entirely eliminate. If you try to stop eating your favorite processed foods immediately from day 1, you’re probably going to give in to the cravings at some point. It’s just not realistic to go cold turkey.
Instead, cut down on the amount of processed food you eat by restricting items such as sweets and fried foods for weekends or special occasions. You can do this by opting for healthier options such as oven-baked potato wedges instead of fries and raw chocolate instead of dairy milk. For example, when I stopped eating chocolate years ago I decided to have an apple every time I wanted a bar of choc, which did work, except I was absolutely sick of apples by the time I was over my chocolate cravings!
You’d also be surprised at how just reading the ingredients of something before you buy it can make you think twice. Generally, the ingredients are listed in order of volume. So if you see sugar listed in the first 3 ingredients, it’s definitely a food you should avoid.
Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Everyone knows that sleep is important and research shows an inadequate amount of sleep can have a detrimental impact on your wellbeing. But the culmination of stress and our busy lifestyles means that those ZZZs often come in second to whatever else we have going on in our lives. Getting enough sleep is essential for both your mental and physical well-being and getting the proper amount of sleep each night can reduce your risk of stroke, diabetes, cancer, obesity, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. In addition to helping you prevent and manage the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
If you struggle with getting at least 6 to 7 hours of sleep a night, it may be worth trying a natural sleep aid to help you drift off. Some people like to listen to meditation music such as nature sounds or relaxing instrumentals. Other options include relaxation remedies such as our CBD tincture and CBD balm which help to combat stress and anxiety and improve sleep.
Listen to Your Gut
If your body doesn’t feel right, listen to your gut. Because your gut indeed may be the problem. There is an endless list of health concerns such as nausea, migraines, and autoimmune conditions that can all be tied back to an unhealthy gut, so it’s imperative that you listen to your body and give your gut the fuel it needs to thrive.
You can take steps to do this by supplementing your body with key enzymes to break down food in order to absorb the nutrients essential for your health. Our Digestive Aid and Lactose Digestive both contain enzymes to help your body to process foods and function optimally, so adding supplements like these to your diet is a great step to take here.
If you hit the gym in January you won’t know what’s hit you. At this time of year, the place is jammed full of people with the best of intentions. But give it a month or two and you’ll see those numbers start to drop off. Why? Because people have a tendency to jump into exercise full throttle and then wear themselves out so much that it becomes a chore rather than an enjoyable activity.
The key to consistent exercise is to find something you enjoy doing and do it often. That could be the gym or rollerblading, or swimming, or even rock climbing. Whatever makes you feel good, do that.
If you haven’t exercised in a while, remember that your body will take time to adjust. A lot of people ignore this and then quit because they hit peak exhaustion. Take time to build up your fitness and ensure you’re doing an activity you actually enjoy a suddenly exercise won’t seem like an effort at all, it will simply become a natural part of your life!
Manage Your Stress
There are numerous ways of keeping your stress levels under control so it’s up to you to figure out what works best for you. But what’s important is that you stay aware of the level of stress you’re experiencing daily and whether it’s impacting your physical and mental health. Once either of these starts to deteriorate, you need an action plan. Or even better, make one before you run into any problems at all.
Practices like mindfulness and making time for self-care are excellent for stress management, but if that’s not your thing, that’s fine too, everyone has their own way to manage their emotional wellbeing. I mentioned exercise in an earlier point, and this is actually a form of mindfulness in itself as it encourages you to stay in the present moment without letting your mind wander. Especially if you’re doing something like lifting weights – it’s hard to let your mind wander with a barbell on your back!!
In addition to that, make sure that you have enough time to yourself during the week and that you don’t “overbook” yourself mentally. You can even schedule this kind of me-time into your weekly calendar to ensure you actually stick to it. This works really well because it’s easy to overlook making time for yourself when your day is packed full of other priorities.
Remember, your health is your wealth and committing to looking after your mind and body is one of the most important resolutions you can make. Don’t get deterred if you fall off the horse a few times during the year, we all do. The important thing is to get back on again and get back on track. Having these 5 simple steps to refer back to should help you to do that when you need a bit of extra motivation. Let’s make 2020 your healthiest year yet!