Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Small Steps to Health and Wellbeing

Healthy lifestyle blogger

I’m moving towards a healthier way of living. I think, however, it’s always best to tackle these things in small increments. Completely drop one way of life for a whole other and it’s too much of a shock to the system to maintain. As such, I’ve been making small changes over recent months. Little movements towards the life I want to live, and so far, so good. I’m not sure that I’m seeing the benefits of all of them yet, some I’ve been doing for far too short a timescale to see any real benefits, but I can still feel assured that I’m making changes and that if I continue to live by those changes I will start to see and feel the benefits over time.

So, what are the changes I’ve made so far?

1.       Cut out Lucozade

About 8 weeks ago, I was sat at the dentists waiting for a check up when I saw a poster on the wall. It was homemade, and had empty pop bottles stuck to it. Under each pop bottle was a bag of sugar, the amount that was in each of the drinks. I was sickened to look at the amount that was in one of my favourite soft drinks. If someone put that much sugar on my cereal, I would refuse to eat it, so why was I regularly drinking it in a bottle of pop? I decided there and then that I wouldn’t drink Lucozade again, and I haven’t since.

2.       Reduce meat

I love meat. I always have done, and always maintained that I would struggle to be a vegetarian. I hold true to that, but that doesn’t mean that I have to eat quite so much of it. I no longer buy processed meats (packets of ham etc), I try to have at least 2 vegetarian days per week, and always select a vegetarian option now when eating out. I’ve been doing this for 3 weeks, and it’s getting easier as the weeks go on. It’s not just the health benefits of eating less meat that attract me, but the environmental impact of farming is something that always makes me feel a bit guilty. Okay, so I’m not completely forgoing my contribution to that industry, but I’m reducing it and that makes me happy. What’s more, I find that opting for more vegetarian options expands your horizons, last weekend I tried beancurd at a Chinese restaurant for the first time in my life… and I liked it.

3.       Meditate

I recently invested in a new smartphone. Having had my iPhone 4, second hand, about 3 years ago and with it getting painfully slow I thought it was time. One of the first apps I downloaded was a meditation app, and I love it. You don’t have to sit for hours on end cross legged on a cushion meditating, I manage to fit in around 2 ten minute sessions per day using the app. Always before bed to rest my mind, but other times I’ve meditated in the morning on waking, on the train and even on the walk to work. It’s funny how many meditation gaps you can find when you start looking. I feel mentally more calmed and rested, less anxious and with clearer thought processes and that is only after 1 week of regular meditation.

4.       Join the Gym

I’m quite lucky in that we have a free to use gym in our office. I’ve avoided it since December when I joined the organisation, but this week I have taken my induction with the intention of spending around 2 lunchtimes per week working out. I have clear aims for what I want to achieve (tone and fitness) and since a few of my colleagues may join me on occasion, I have added moral support too. I’m pretty lazy when it comes to exercise, so being able to incorporate it into my working day will be helpful, and will also force me to move away from my desk at lunchtime instead of working through as I often do.

5.       Less coffee more herbal tea

I wouldn’t say that I’m a coffee addict, although I do love a cup. My regular routine, however, was to have a cup of coffee on waking, another cup of coffee later in the morning, and possibly another cup of coffee in the afternoon. Mostly, these would be filter coffees too, so pretty potent. I have realised however, these really are more out of habit than desire, and once you break the habit it’s easy to make other choices. I’ve changed my morning coffee for lemon in hot water, which is very refreshing and means I don’t fancy a coffee until around 9am, when I get to work. From there, I don’t usually have another coffee or even a standard black tea again during the day. I sip on water, peppermint, chamomile or green tea and find I feel much more refreshed and hydrated throughout the day. Not to mention, less edgy since I’m not powered by caffeine.

By no means is the end of my healthy living movement. In fact, it’s the beginning. The first few small steps to achieving the wellbeing which I want to experience. I’m not sure what my next step will be, although I’m still fighting an ongoing battle with diet cola (giving it up that is). 

What small steps are you making to improve your wellbeing? Are you a one step at a time sort of person, or an all or nothing type? 

Let me know in the comments below.

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