For me there’s nothing quite as eye-opening as a trip to the beach when it comes to reflecting about my body, general health and lifestyle choices. I don’t know about you, but I can’t help comparing myself to others and I know a lot of my mummy friends do the same. We look at toned legs, firm stomachs or bums that spill out of bikini bottoms, sneak a look at the woman on the sun lounger next to us to see, if she’s got shinier hair, less wrinkles or healthier nails and end up feeling more than a little deflated, if she does.
On the drive home, I always vow myself to start exercising five times a week, don’t pig out on unhealthy snacks while watching the telly after a long day at the desk and become the patron saint of an all-round healthy lifestyle, but let’s face is, we’re just mere mortals and going from no exercise to winning an Iron Man is nothing but unrealistic. So what’s the key to success and a healthier life?
You might have guessed it: There’s no way you’ll succeed, if your head’s not really in the game and you’re going completely over board. It’s all about making smart choices, moderation and finding a routine that works for you and to make it extra easy for you, here are 5 steps that will help you live a healthier life.
We all know that smoking is unhealthy and maybe it’s an obvious one to start this list with, but I know a lot of people who have unsuccessfully tried to ditch cigarettes and think they can’t do it when they haven’t really tried. While it might work for some people to quit smoking from one day to another, many need some help along the way and that’s completely okay: some of my friends have used e-cigarettes like Vapemate to ease themselves of cigarettes (check here for lots of helpful tips on how to quit smoking), others have worked closely with the NHS and have developed a strategy with a dedicated quit smoking nurse. There’s no textbook solution, so try and find out what works for you. You’ll see benefits after as soon as one week!
No matter, if you join the gym, start swimming after work or simply decide to walk to the shop instead of jumping into your car – every little counts. If you are a notorious procrastinator, set yourself fixed times every day or every couple of days and keep track of your progress with the help of an app or notebook. If you aren’t sure which sport might be the best for you, check out the NHS website for a fun sport test that helps you to determine which type of sport could be the one for you depending on your answers and aptitude results. I’ve tried it for you and it’s come up with water sports for me, which are indeed my favourite type of sport.
Get a good night’s sleeps
A good night’s sleep is essential for your physical and mental well-being, so try to ensure that you have between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night. Sleep deficiency can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stress and while also contributing to a loss of productivity and in your day to day life. If you are struggling with sleep issues, these tips by sleep expert Sammy Margo might help you get a good night’s sleep. In severe cases, you should consult your GP for professional advice.
Make healthy food choices
You are what you eat, so look at your diet and write a food diary to see what might need changing. You can’t make changes when you aren’t aware of the things that do need changing, so be honest with yourself and try to substitute unhealthy options with healthier choices. Processed foods are often stuffed with sugar and fat, so try and avoid them whenever possible. Freshly cooked meals allow you to control what you eat and smoothies and freshly squeezed juices are a great way to get your 5 a day while still feeling like you’re getting a treat. Here are some delicious smoothie recipes for summer.
Enjoy some me-time
Being healthy doesn’t only mean to eat healthy and exercise, it’s equally important to look after your mental well-being and part of that is to enjoy some me-time that allows you to relax and recharge your batteries. Psychologists are certain that me-time also enhances our relationships, improves our concentration and makes us more productive, so why not give it a try?
What do you do to live a healthier and happier life? Leave your tips in the comments below!