With 2018 drawing to a close, and 2019 just around the corner, maybe you’re thinking of ways to be a little healthier as the new year commences. You’ve possibly started considering your New Years resolutions, – or as I have decided to call them, New Years Intentions. Or maybe, like myself, you are feeling somewhat sluggish, and generally a little heavier than you’re comfortable with, and therefore, in need of some goodness in your body, and to implement a few healthier choices. After a good month of eating to my hearts content, (and beyond on occasions) and drinking probably more than my fair share this holiday season, I am desperate for a salad, and seriously craving some herbal fruit tea.
I’ve tracked every crumb to pass my lips in the past, and what a miserable, not to mention time consuming, way of life that was, so I have absolutely no intention of reigniting that old habit. Also, I generally find that when you make those big bold statements, ‘I am quitting sugar’, and attempt a total overhaul, you just end up biting off more than you can chew, and reverting back with a vengeance, when you do mess up. Or is that just me?! Haha.. oops. So, rather than setting myself up for failure, instead, I shall be sharing a few simple changes and habits that I will be trying to implement, to create a happier and healthier me. They aren’t rules, but intentions. If I mess up, it doesn’t mean I’ve failed. Instead I will acknowledge that I may not have got it all right that day, but tomorrow is a new day, in which I can make a conscious effort to do, and be better. Make sense?It’s not that 2018 hasn’t been happy, or it hasn’t been healthy, but there is always room for improvement. And I know there have definitely been plenty of occasions when I’ve not handled situations particularly well, and have perhaps let the negative voice speak a little too loudly. So with that in mind, I’ll be aiming to maximise the healthy, turn up the happy, and get the good vibes flowing long into the new year! And I’m hoping you’ll join me for the ride, and get yourself on track for a whole lot more health & happiness in 2019, too!
1) SELF CARE
There are about 100 easy peasy ways I can take good care of myself, so there’s no excuse not to find an hour a week to put aside for myself. This could be giving myself a little pamper session, or to tune out of the chaos, and get a little calm from meditating, so this is something I am totally going to be doing much more of in the new year. Make yourself a priority and give yourself the kindness you deserve.
2) Reducing Caffeine Consumption
If you have followed me on social media for any amount of time, you’ll probably know that I am a bit of a coffee fanatic. I drink a ton of the stuff. While coffee has its obvious benefits, too much of the stuff doesn’t do me any good. It turns me into a jittery mess, interferes with my sleep, and puts my brain on overdrive, making me overthink, stress more, and just generally become a bit of an anxious Annie. I can easily get through 6 coffees a day, and let’s face it, no matter what anybody tells you, decaf is terrible. It doesn’t taste the same, it doesn’t look the same, and quite frankly, it offends me. Cutting coffee altogether wouldn’t work for me right now, and I’m not prepared for the caffeine withdrawal headaches. However, what I will do, is limit my consumption. 2 cups a day sounds pretty reasonable. And 1 cup of proper tea. I don’t think that a lot of people realise that most proper English teas are quite high in caffeine content too, so that’s definitely something to be mindful of if you are looking to reduce caffeine intake. Previously, I have been partial to the occasional pre workout supplement too, but this year, I have massively reduced my consumption of these kind of products, as well as energy drinks, and I definitely feel better for it. Long may this continue into the new year! I am sleeping better, but the days I have consumed larger quantities of coffee, I regularly end up paying for, at bed time. (Thank you Netflix, for your much needed distraction and company when the insomnia hits! Haha)
3) Get Outside
I love the great outdoors, so this should be easy. However, every year it’s the same old story. We go out adventuring outdoors all the time, especially in the autumn, then the clocks change, the days get shorter, the weather turns, and our desire to be in the great outdoors dwindles, despite knowing that the fresh air always makes us feel great, and does us the world of good. Even if it’s a couple of 10 minute walks, around the neighbourhood, I’m going to make the extra effort to get myself out; out of the house, out of the office on my lunch break, just outdoors. Ahhh, that fresh air.
4) Drink more herbal / fruit teas
This should also help us along with cutting caffeine, as there is a humongous array of exotic flavours to choose from, and most fruit teas are caffeine free! I’ve been feeling pretty bloated lately, but peppermint tea works an absolute treat for combating the bulge. Apart from that, there are numerous health benefits from drinking various fruit / herbal teas; Chamomile tea can help settle your stomach, and offer a better nights sleep. Lemon and ginger tea can help to ease feelings of nausea, an upset stomach and curb period pains. Green tea can aid digestion and reduce blood pressure. I personally love trying new herbal teas, so not only will I be drinking more, but I will try to buy a completely new one each month, just for the feel good, fun factor.
5) Move your body
I’m not talking about vigorous exercise here. What I’m referring to is bending, stretching, swaying. Gentle and loving movements to increase flexibility, reduce risk of injury, and increase awareness in one’s self. Whether that be very gentle stretching for 5 minutes in the morning, or a 30 minute yoga flow, or a 5 minute inversion. When I take the time to shut out everything else, and I am fully connecting my mind to my body, and its movements, I feel refreshed, renewed, and rejuvenated for it. It’s not the same energy as I feel from a WOD, or a run, but instead it’s a calming, cleansing energy.
6) Reduce screen time
So, if you are an iPhone user, you may well have noticed that they have introduced a feature this year. That little screen time tab, that kindly tells you just how much time you are spending on specific apps. Well, this one has been a bit of an eye opener to me. Admittedly most of my mindless browsing happens when I get home from the gym in the evening, but apparently it’s actually for hours. Hours of my life that I will not get back. It just won’t do! So, that’s a big intention of mine for the new year. I will be reintroducing my no phone after 10pm curfew. I’ll get a better nights sleep for it too, I’m sure. There’s also no denying that being present in the real world does a lot for my mental health, and boosts my happy good feeling vibes! Christmas was proof of that- I successfully avoided social media altogether on Christmas Day, and it truly allowed me to be fully present in the day. I think we have all been guilty of comparing our lives to strangers on the internet, and I know, I generally start doing this when I’ve done whatever I set out to do online, and have started mindlessly browsing. It’s a horrible habit, and one I’d like to kick for good in 2019. The key to using my phone needs to be productivity. If I’m not using my phone productively, it can be put down. Simples.
7) Gratitude journaling
I have played around with journaling before, and have genuinely found it to be a great resource for cultivating mindfulness and a grateful state of mind. Reflecting on each day is a useful tool for learning how to appreciate the finer details that we can often take for granted. In 2019, I would like to journal every day. For 5 minutes just before I get into bed. That’s really not a big ask. The key points I will be journaling will be:
These are great prompts to ensure you are cultivating positivity.
8) Save the pennies
We have several upcoming projects on our house that are going to need some attention before long, so saving money can’t be an option. This year, we will be scrimping and saving to help fund future projects. This doesn’t mean missing out. There are such simple ways to save money. For example, I’m a sucker for a drive through Starbucks, but seriously, that stuff is expensive! So instead, if I’m off out on an adventure, I’m going to make use of my new travel mug, and take a coffee on the road with me. (Or a peppermint tea!) Another great way of saving money that I recently came across, is a method referred to as skimming. The idea is that, whenever you log into your online banking, you round down your current account to the nearest £10, but transferring the excess to a savings account. It’s money you don’t really notice has even gone, and so far has proved really effective to me. I managed to put aside an extra £100 with this method alone, in just 2 months. Not too bad, huh?! Another way we are saving money, is by doing our grocery shopping in Aldi. To be honest, it’s not just that they’re cheaper, but I do genuinely find that they beat a lot of other leading supermarkets on quality. I am bloody grateful to have one local to our home. You may be wondering what saving money has to do with happiness and health, but if truth be told, money is one of the leading stressors in my life, so physically seeing that I’m making savings, does a lot of good for my mental wellbeing. Fairly sure I’m not alone there either.
9) Reduce meat consumption
Okay, so to be fair, this is just a continuation from a lifestyle change from 2018, but I am super proud of how well I have done in terms of reducing meat from my diet. In fact, 12 months in, and Mr Woods is finally getting on board too! There’s even talk of vegan week days.. We’ll see how that one pans out.. The short of it is, that after watching one too many documentaries on meat production/ global warming/ animal welfare, eating meat every day, just doesn’t sit well on my conscience anymore. I’m not a vegetarian, but I maybe eat meat once every week or two. The rest of the time, it’s generally quorn or other alternative. My body doesn’t digest meat particularly well either, so I have found that it is much happier with this change in diet.
10) Remove negative influences
So, to be fair, my social media platforms are pretty positive places now, so long as I don’t slip into the state of bored browsing, and start the over analysing, etc. But in the past it hasn’t been, and I have followed accounts that would fully trigger me, and spiral me off down that rabbit hole, leaving me feeling like my life was lacking in comparison to the picture perfection of theirs. It’s not. It’s really not. And believe me, I know that. But as I’ve grown older, and my priorities have shifted, I have been much more mindful about the kind of accounts I’m following and interacting with. This may sound selfish, but my health and my happiness is paramount. Yours should be to you too. Unfollow people on social media. Unfollow people in real life. Take care of yourself; mind, body, and soul. If people are disrupting your inner peace, and making you feel uncomfortable, you do not need to put up with it. Unfollow people, until you are only surrounded by the good people, who support you, and know that kindness doesn’t cost a thing. If they aren’t adding substance and light into your life, do you really need them? I am honestly so proud of the social media communities I’m a part of now, as there is just so much love and support being thrown around. It’s honestly so lovely, and fills my heart.
So, that’s my round up of my 10 intentions to get on track for my happiest and healthiest year! I have a few runs in the diary too, to keep me motivated, and I will be setting myself some running goals, but I will save that for another day, and another post.
But, more importantly, I’d like to wish you ALL, happiness and health in the coming year!
Thank you for sticking with me for another year. Hoping to bring you plenty of new and exciting content in 2019!
Much love to you all,