The NEW YEAR is here!!! The start of a new year always brings about renewed energy towards making new goals, dreams and focusing on the future. The last year has been especially trying on people’s mental and physical health. As a society, we have had to completely alter our “normal”. As human beings, we only have a limited amount of emotional energy and most of that was used up by making the adjustments to our daily routine and just trying to get from one day to another without falling apart. By now, most of us have gotten into the new routine and have hope for our future. Now is the time to focus on some little changes that can have a BIG impact on your health!
How do you start your day? Do you get up and read the dreadful news, get on social media to catch up only to realize it is mostly an energy drain OR do you start your day with prayer, meditation, or exercise? Have you noticed the correlation between what you do first thing in the morning and how the rest of your day plays out and feels? I promise the news and social media will be there later in the day. Use this “magic time” to set the tone for your day. Do something JUST for YOU and spend time doing something that fills your heart and soul.
What do you drink throughout your day? Water is literally the foundation of life, yet most Americans are living in constant state of dehydration and constipation. And, unfortunately, many people choose to hydrate with soda, fruit juice or energy drinks. These sugary drinks lead to obesity and can cause spikes in insulin, which over time can contribute to the development of diabetes type 2. Some believe that drinking diet soda is a better option. Research has shown that drinking two or more diet sodas or juices each day increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and early death. Plain water is always the best option but if you want a change of flavor or a little fizz, try Pellegrino with fresh lime or LaCroix, or use your favorite essential oil and add a few drops to your water or fizzy water (just make sure your essential oil can be used internally). We love to infuse water with fresh cucumber, mint, strawberries, etc., to change up the flavor and add some variety. Your body will thank you for the hydration by giving you better bowel habits, beautiful skin, and increased energy.
Do you eat meals on the go or grab whatever is convenient? Do you find yourself driving through a drive through to get fast food because you thought you might make it home for lunch, but your meeting ran late? A failure to plan is a plan for failure. It is also important to have a healthy back up plan, because sometimes plans just do not work out. Set some time aside on Saturday or Sunday to meal plan and prep. I promise this will pay off in less stress, less cleanup, less money, and fewer calories. Pinterest has amazing meal prep ideas. We try different recipes frequently. If we like it, we print it out and have a binder full of healthy meal prep options. Every Sunday, we take about 1.5 -2 hours to meal prep our meals for the week. We work with our weight loss clients to get them into this routine as well because this is one of the #1 things that can help a person maintain their weight loss (along with water!)
Do you find that you are on autopilot throughout the day and fall into bed exhausted and depleted? So many times, people (especially my busy moms) do not take the time they need to take care of themselves. They are so busy taking care of everyone else that they neglect themselves mentally and physically. Take even 10-15 minutes a day to do something you TRULY enjoy!!! When I talk about this with my weight loss clients, they often tell me they have forgotten what they enjoy because they have been taking care of everyone else but themselves for years. If you find that you are one of these people, I encourage you to try different activities. YouTube and the internet are full of a whole world of hobbies and things to learn. Try yoga, Pilates, knitting, learning how to play an instrument, you name it… You can find out how to do it online.
What you feed your mind, body and spirit throughout your day is imperative. One thing that the pandemic has brought to the forefront is that our mental and physical health is an investment. We invest time, money and energy into the things that are most important to us. Make sure one of those things is YOU!!!
Sheryl Iszler, MSW