Healthy and Happy
Given the time of year, we know that many of you have probably just promised yourselves that you would be healthier this year. New Year’s resolutions put so much pressure on people, almost like they’re expected! Take that pressure off your shoulders and, instead of making a resolution that is so difficult to keep, make getting healthy a lifestyle choice instead. Healthy living is often presented as something only available to those who can afford a private gym membership, fancy workout clothes, and a million health supplements every month, but that’s just not the case. Though the media loves the health and wellness industry for all the trends it offers, health and wellness shouldn’t be industrialized. The concept of living a healthy life is not out of reach, no matter what kind of person you are or what kind of lifestyle you already lead! Join us as we take a look at ways of improving health in your everyday life without completely upending your day or breaking the bank.
Now we know that for a lot of people, the idea of exercising every day can be scary, and we’re right there with you! The idea of jumping into an intense workout routine is so daunting that many people don’t try it at all. There’s no need to be fearful: meet your body where it’s at! If you’re very unfit, don’t shock your body by jumping into a crazy, half-hour routine every day. Take it slow to start with! Try fun dance workouts that last about ten or fifteen minutes, or maybe consider adding about ten minutes of yoga to your routine to get your body a little bit more limber. Start with what you can manage and make it a habit. Once your body has acclimatized to that level of exercise, try adding a few more minutes or trying a slightly more challenging workout. These don’t have to be “exercises” as we know them; you could put on some ankle weights and take a fast walk through your neighborhood. You could try many of the free dance or Kingry workouts available on YouTube, or you could go for the traditional high or low-intensity workouts if that’s your thing. Try to remember to take the stairs instead of the elevator, if you can. Every time you go into the bathroom, use the sink as a balance and do a few squats. If you’re otherly abled, and these forms of exercise don’t work for you, don’t fret! YouTube is overflowing with workouts suited to all different types of bodies.
“Not the rabbit food again, PLEASE!” we hear you screaming internally. Diets are OUT, and so is diet culture. We need to foster a culture of finding out what our bodies need and supplying them; no restrictive meal plans, banning certain foods. You know that your body needs about 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of veggies per day, but that doesn’t have to mean boring salads or lunch all the time! Make a smoothie for breakfast: some yogurt, maybe peanut butter or a little chocolate, strawberries, and bananas…and don’t forget that you can hide spinach in your smoothies without tasting it! In the wintertime, you could add fruits to your oats. Make yourself a snack plate of cucumber, carrots, some delicious crackers and cheese, and maybe some grapes at lunchtime when it’s warm, and try a winter salad of warm, roasted butternut, spinach, feta, and maybe some beef when it’s cool! Fruit and veggies don’t have to be boring or the only thing you eat to stay healthy. If you’re craving a piece of cake, have one! Just be sure that you give your body what it needs before thinking about what it wants.
Prioritizing Mental Health
It’s a new year, so let’s decide to see mental health in a new way; as part of our overall health! If you are unwell mentally, it’s almost impossible to be completely well physically; mental and physical health are inextricably linked. Whether you consider yourself someone who has mental health issues (a term that still carries a certain stigma but should not be considered any differently from physical health issues) or not, you need to look out for your mental wellbeing in whatever way works best for you. Become more conscious of what you need to be mentally well: do you need to say no to that invitation, even though you really did want to attend? Do you need to reach out and ask a friend to spend a little time together? Do you need to take a mental health day off from work and sleep in a little longer? Do you need to visit a professional to seek help or medication? All of these are completely valid forms of SELF CARE, along with many others. Self-care is listening to your intuition, to what your mind and body need, and interpreting those needs in a way that works best for YOU. Sometimes it can be difficult to hear your internal voice, especially after years of living in a culture that has told us just to suck it up and carry on. Practice separating what you need from what you’ve been told is the right thing or right way to handle a situation. Be considerate of others, but take care of your own mental wellbeing first!
Try to include these three health habits in your daily routine. Don’t rush and try to do it all at once! Take your time and take small steps towards a healthy lifestyle.