When thinking about what BLOG to write for our 10 year anniversary newsletter, I knew it had to be something special. Something really interesting for you, something you can really benefit from. All the information about health and wellbeing that we have been providing over the last decade in one Blog. Would that be possible?! Of course not….
By now we all know more or less what a healthy lifestyle looks like. A healthy diet, regular exercise, enough sleep and not too much stress. If we know this, why is it still so hard to stay healthy and happy? Home-cooked dinners every single evening? Definitely don’t have time for that. An hour of exercise seven days a week? Never gonna happen. Lose 5 kilos before summer? You´re dreaming’! We’re simply too busy and too stressed to overhaul our entire lifestyles in one fell swoop.
That´s when I started thinking, maybe the big picture is just too big. Is it realistic to take all of these major steps at once? Is anyone strong willed enough to maintain all the good habits and get rid of all the bad? Wouldn´t it be more productive to break the big picture down into teeny weeny baby steps? Surely that would be far more useful and the long term effect bigger that way?! Major overhauls aren’t always necessary to get your life on track. You are often better to focus on little changes that you can incorporate one day at a time – it´s not only more manageable, but also more sustainable for the long term.
So here they are! My 10 babysteps to a happier and healthier life. You could start incorporating one per day or one per week. You do not have to do all of them all the time, but I am convinced that if you do practice a few of them on a daily basis you will notice a huge difference. You will start to feel fitter, healthier and happier!
Babystep 1: Drink lemon juice with warm water every morning
It is always important to support our bodies by drinking enough water, especially in the morning. Warm lemon water won’t be a miracle cure but it is a much better alternative to caffeinated drinks. Drinking warm water, first thing in the morning helps to flush the digestive system and rehydrate the body. Lemons contain vitamin C and potassium. Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning gives the body a chance to absorb these vitamins effectively and can provide a little immune boost. Vitamin C is also good for the adrenals and can potentially help reduce the effects of stress. Think about it, while you sleep, you will have about 7-8 hours that you have not had any water or liquid; so by giving the body adequate water when you first wake up is a great way to get your body and your mind going.
Babystep 2: Eat regularly
Skipping meals can leave you feeling so famished that you end up overeating later in the day. Eat at least 3 times per day, preferably with two healthy snacks – in between breakfast and lunch and in between lunch and dinner. Avoid big meals.
Babystep 3: Get outside
Try to get some fresh air three times a day for at least five minutes at a time. Use part of your lunch time to go for a quick walk. You’ll feel refreshed, more productive and better equipped to make healthier choices.
Babystep 4: Move a bit more
Take the stairs or choose a more distant parking place, take your bike instead of the car – anything to sneak in a bit of extra exercise each day. In the morning you could do some crunches and push ups or some sun salutations, whatever you prefer. 5 minutes should already be enough!
Babystep 5: Get some extra zzzzzzz’s
If you’re not getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night, try going to bed just 10 minutes earlier each night for a week and see how you feel. Try to squeeze in at least one night a week where you can get some extra sleep, if possible up to 9-10 hours.
Babystep 6: Decompress daily
Spend just a few minutes per day meditating, practising mindfulness, yoga, praying or taking deep, cleansing breaths.
Babystep 7: Plan in some me-time
Take your agenda and block one hour every week just for yourself. Spending time alone can be one of the best things you can do for yourself, as it’s nearly impossible to get rid of the background chatter that’s constantly going on in our lives without choosing to take some alone time. What’s more, due to our instant connectivity to the outside world with our phones, we often feel like we can’t “switch off,” as we should always be doing something productive. Being alone sparks creativity, it builds independence, and it can help you decrease your stress levels. Some things to try; write, sketch, read, take a long bath, listen to music or simply sit quietly and do absolutely nothing. Oh, and don´t forget to switch off your phone 😉
Babystep 8: Treat yourself
Buy a lush and delicious smelling body cream and massage your body after showering. You can also get a pedicure or a facial every now and then. It doesn’t need to be costly; a glass of wine, your favourite coffee or tea, a lovely scented candle or beautiful flowers will make a huge impact.
Babystep 9: Be nice to others
Did you know that being kind to others reduces stress almost immediately? This is because it allows you to pay less attention to yourself and your problems. The moment you focus on doing good to others, it enables you to get a break from your own problems. Smile and make someone’s day a little sweeter. Just listen. Offer a hug or embrace. Invite someone new into your friend tribe. Send out a kind email or card. Give someone a genuine compliment. Help clean up, without being asked. Stand up in the bus for that pregnant lady or help that old lady cross the street. It´s really very simple and you will not only make the other person feel better, you will instantly feel better too!
Babystep 10: Be grateful
Studies show that practicing and experiencing gratitude boosts feelings of satisfaction, strengthens your relationships and drives you to help others. Despite these benefits, we aren’t always able to express gratitude, sometimes because we’re too busy, other times because negative feelings overshadow the good in our lives. An easy exercise before going to sleep is to think of three nice things you have experienced that day. They can be very simple things, feeling the sun on your face, a smile from the bus driver, the smell of fresh flowers or freshly baked bread…
What small step will you take today to a healthier and happier you?
Written by your SISter in Wellness Femke