January arrives after a festive whirlwind of parties, family gatherings and general over indulgence and can leave us feeling rather exhausted and unhealthy. Add to this short days and often miserable weather and this can quickly take it’s toll on how we feel. You can do something about this! Here are 5 simple tips for a healthy January that will guarantee to boost your well being, health and happiness this year.
1. Get outdoors
January can be a long and dark month, so make an extra effort to get out into the fresh air when you can and we are confident you’ll feel better for it! Studies show that people who spend more time outdoors are happier and healthier. Cold weather in particular makes your heart work harder to circulate the blood around the body, therefore strengthening the heart. We also burn more calories in cold weather. And if you are lucky enough to get out in the sunshine, you’ll be topping up your Vitamin D levels. So, wherever you are and whatever the weather, dig out the right clothing and get outdoors!
2. Stay hydrated
As we all know, our bodies need water in order to function properly and to avoid dehydration. In colder weather, we often opt for hot drinks, as a glass of cold water isn’t always the most obvious choice. We may also spend a lot of time in artificially heated buildings, which dehydrates our skin and our body. Therefore, it’s so important during these winter months to keep drinking water. UK guidelines suggest we aim to drink 1.2 – 2 litres of water every day, however this does depend on additional factors such as age and weight. Also, when we increase our levels of physical activity, the amount of water we need to drink increases. We suggest aiming for 2 litres a day and increasing this when taking part in physical activity.
3. Take ‘time out’
The pressures of modern life are such that we very rarely find the time in our busy schedules to relax. In this ‘connected’ age, electronic devices such as phones and tablets are constantly to hand, so even outside of working hours, we are always ‘switched on’. Taking some time out for yourself can provide clarity and allow you to focus better on tasks when you need to. So, this month, force yourself to set aside some time for yourself every day. Switch off your phone/tablet and relax. Do something you enjoy: have a long soak in the bath; read a book; or simply enjoy half an hour of calm.
4. Try something new
We all feel a bit sluggish at this time of year, and it’s all too easy to stay indoors and watch boxed sets on TV! We are generally creatures of habit, and fear of the unknown can often hold us back. Trying something new can get us out of a rut, build our confidence, help us overcome our fears, and may even uncover hidden talents. So try a new activity this month. Whether it’s flamenco dancing, spinning, ice-skating or indoor climbing, it doesn’t matter, it’s the participation that counts!
5. Sleep well
The recommended amount of sleep for an adult is at least 8 hours a night, and yet many of us suffer from poor sleeping patterns and insomnia, making this difficult to achieve. Scientific research has shown that the correct amount of sleep is beneficial to our health in many different ways, including improving our memory and concentration, reducing stress, boosting our immune defence and improving mental health. If you can, stick to regular sleeping hours – this programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine. Wind down before bedtime: turn off your phone/tablet (it emits a blue light which fools your body clock into thinking it is daytime); avoid caffeine and alcohol; avoid large meals later in the evening; soak in a warm bath (not too hot); read a book. A little lavender oil on your pillow can also work wonders!