We’ve started a new year! If you spent 2019 running on the hamster wheel, fuel light on, ignoring your body’s signals that it is tired, sluggish and a little lacklustre, you may be thinking that you things need to change so you can thrive in 2020.
Deciding you're ready to make some lifestyle changes to feel better, healthier and more energetic is a big step, and can be equal parts empowering and overwhelming. Where do you start? What changes should you make?
These 3 (very simple) changes are a great start to improve your health, no matter what your specific goal.
1. Eat 1 more serve of vegetables everyday.
Vegetables are nature's superfoods. They have antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that keep our bodies functioning at their best. TIP: Keep a food diary for a couple of days to get a snapshot of how many vegetables you actually eat. You may discover you’re missing out of the health benefits of these green red, orange and yellow nutrient powerhouses.
Next ask yourself 'where could I squeeze in one more serve of vegetables?'
Could you snack on some cut up carrot, capsicum, celery and cucumber and dip it in hummus for an afternoon snack.
Could you swap your lunchtime sandwich for a sweet potato and quinoa salad or have tomatoes and avocado on toast instead of your usual spread?
A great mantra is 'eat green at every meal'. Tune in to where you can sneak in a some green (or red or orange!) for a nutrient boost and soon you’ll notice how much healthier you feel.
2. Sit less, move more.
Most of us are aware when we don't clock up enough activity in a day, but have you considered how much you sit? The healthy activity guidelines not only encourage we accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity each week, they also encourage us to break up long periods of sitting. Sitting is bad for our mental health and sitting or lying down for too long increases the risk of chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
Ask yourself, 'where am I sitting for long periods and how can I add in some movement?' It might be having a stand up meeting or a walking meeting (yes that’s a thing) or it could be setting a timer every 30,60 or 90 minutes to get up, move around and stretch - it’s the perfect time to hydrate while you’re up! Being active increases your energy levels so a quick walk at lunchtime can be just the boost you need to get you through the afternoon slump without caffeine or a sugar hit. TIP: Keeping a time log for day is a great way help you identify when you are sitting for long periods.
3. Find 3 minutes for mindfulness.
We’re all busy, it’s a fact. We walk around with high stress, high demand, never ending to-do lists and it feels like we can’t switch off. In fact how often does your mind stop? Just 3-5 minutes of mindfulness a day can give your brain a well deserved break and increase your productivity. Use the time log you did earlier and schedule in 3 minutes at least once each day. TIP: Stop to breathe, scan your body for how it is feeling and stretch every time you finish one job/task, before moving on to the next.
Your big health goal is made up of small steps, and it’s the consistent steps that add up to making a big difference. When in doubt, start, and start small -don’t try to do everything at once. Any change towards a healthier you is a good change. Make one small change and stick with it until it is part of your everyday.