As soon as the New Year comes around we all seem to go health and fitness crazy, but sadly as soon as it turns February our enthusiasm has generally wavered, which is where my 8 tips for living well will help you get back on track. Being healthier doesn’t mean you have to change your entire lifestyle, think baby steps rather than life-changing steps, even quick-and-easy tweaks to your daily routine can make a huge difference to the way you feel. From adding a daily smoothy, embracing yoga, opting to go to bed half-an-hour earlier, as well as drinking more water, these living well tips, have been helping to keep me on track.
8 Tips for Living Well
1. Invest in a NutriBullet
We receive this incredible blender as a wedding present, thank you Mum, and we’ve been obsessed with it ever since. We generally opt for a delicious Nutriblast smoothie every day and it is super easy to add fruit and veg to your diet. All you need to do is pack your NutriBullet with whatever fruit and veg you like, we generally opt for 50 percent greens, generally kale or sliced greens, and the rest fruit, like bananas, blueberries, and strawberries, generally whatever you like. Then for added nutrients we add in some oats and seeds. It’s the only way I will actually eat sunflower seeds. Need any inspiration on recipes NutriBullet has a free app that has more than 250 on offer, you can search by ingredient, health topic, or browse its most popular. My approach though is to use what’s in the fridge and fruit bowl.
2. Exercise Regularly
I would have said daily but I did say baby steps. I’ve actually taken up yoga, I’m in week 3 and I’m loving it. I actually found a yoga class on TV which has been showing me the basics and I have found that exercising from home has been helping me as the thing that has put me off joining a local class has been confidence in the moves, so practising at home is helping. Whereas yoga doesn’t seem as intense of a workout as running, I’ve found it much more calming and relaxing, and it is improving my posture, which is making me feel more confident in my clothes. It’s also nice that all you need is some direction and a mat to get started. I also love walking, it doesn’t sound very energetic but a walk really is great for clearing the mind.
3. Cut down on sugary foods
This is actually the hardest for me, I do have a sweet tooth, but eating and drinking less sugary foods does make you feel better in the long term. I know I can do it as I did before I got married, but I find easing off gently is better than going cold-turkey, and I know that it is especially hard now we are in mini egg season. Start small, if you have sugar in your tea cut it out, trust me after a week you won’t even notice that you don’t have sugar in it anymore. Really need the sugar opt for a fruit tea instead as they are generally sweeter. Cut out fizzy drinks, cakes and pastries, as well as that sugary cereal you adore, try the Nutriblast it really will fill you up.
4. Drink more water
I actually carry a water bottle everywhere with me to make sure I stay hydrated, I don’t know why but I always seem to forget to drink water when I’m busy and having a bottle close by actually helps to remind me. They say you need around 2 litres of water a day, more if it is hot and you’re active. Plus if you keep yourself hydrated it really will help with those sugary cravings, help keep you focused, and keep those pesky headaches away.
5. Buy a smartwatch
Smartwatches have come a long way, they are no long bulky, ill-fitted or ugly any more thanks, in part to this fashionable Huawei watch. I do still have some reservations about smartwatches, I’m not sure I need a watch to do more than tell the time, but I do like how this Android Wear smartwatch using GoogleFit has helped me keep track of my exercise, as well as give me a gentle push to get up if I’ve been sat at my desk too long, and there is even an app to monitor how much water I have drank – so really there is no excuse. It’s quite nice at the end of the week to see how many minutes of exercise and how many steps I have done. It also makes it easy for you to set yourself some targets, start small and build up, then you won’t be disappointed and give up.
6. Get a good night’s sleep
I’ve blogged before about my sleeping habits, or lack of sleeping at times, and I’ve found that we all need a boost getting to sleep especially when I’m stressed. These tips still apply, I can’t recommend This Works sleeping range enough, I do love the lavender smell of their pillow spray, and I’m obsessive about jotting down my worries. I have also found that doing yoga regularly has been helping, the relaxation of the breathing makes me calmer and helps me clear my mind. Try making your room as calm and relaxing as possible, if there’s too much light coming through, get some black out curtains, and try not to use technology while in bed. I also like to stay to a routine, in bed by 10pm, lights off a 10.30pm, giving me time to read a few chapters of my book.
7. Prep at the weekend
I find that my eating habits can be a little worse during the week when I’m busy, to assist my living well philosophy I’ve tried preparing and cooking up a storm at the weekend and freezing batches that can be then easily microwaved instead of calling a Dominos. My chunky minestrone soup is great for this, it doesn’t take much to cook, for instance, you can actually do it alongside the roast dinner, all you need is a large pan and you can make up three or four servings.
I’ve also been embracing my spiralizer, it is a great little gadget where you can make thin ribbons of vegetables, I love courgette and carrots. Spiralize all your veggies and then place in water in the fridge and cook up as needed. I find they are a great alternative for rice and pasta, more filling, and count as one of your five a day, plus they are super quick to cook.
8. Forgive yourself
This is a big step to living well, learning to forgive yourself if you overeat, drink too much or fail to exercise. Instead of beating yourself up about it, forgive yourself. Allowing yourself a few indulgences isn’t bad for you, just do everything in moderation. For me, if I want pancakes for brunch at the weekend with friends, I don’t make myself feel guilty, I just enjoy it and then opt for something healthier the next day. I think you end up being harder to yourself if you ban things from your life, the aim of living well is to have them a little less.