After holiday indulgences, it’s hard to get back into the swing of your daily routine and also be mindful of your health. We’re often tired, overstressed from the lack of routine, and not quite ready to get back to work or school. So we find ourselves indulging in that afternoon cookie break or skipping a trip to the gym, instead of taking care of our bodies.
This year, there are a few healthy habits you can adopt that can inspire you instead of making you feel pressured. When you incorporate new routines and practices into your life and see real results, then it’s a no-brainer to keep them up.
When in doubt, toss it out.
Nothing feels quite so good as purging your closets, your kitchen, or your desk. When you feel more organized, it translates to being more creative and productive. If you need some help as to how to approach this task, check out Marie Kondo’s best-selling book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Here’s my rule of thumb for closets: if I haven’t worn it in the past year, chances are I won’t wear it again, so I toss it. Give what you don’t need to charity (which can be a tax write-off in addition to making you feel good). This will take a few weekends, depending on how much you like to hold on to things, but start with one space at a time – such as your bedroom closet or desk. When you see the results, it will inspire you to tackle other spaces.
Do a junk food detox.
Alcohol-free January has become a popular event. But if you want to try something a little more challenging, go without junk food, too. Far too often, we rely on that mid-afternoon candy bar or energy drink to get us through the rest of the day, but this only makes our bodies more susceptible to crashing. Instead, try bringing healthy snacks to work, like nuts and fruits or a yogurt cup to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Over time, you won’t need that sugar rush.
Join a meal kit service.
Let’s face it: take-out and mac-and-cheese dinners often get us through the week. Life is busy, and it takes a lot of work to plan, shop, and cook healthy meals. It’s no wonder our good intentions go by the wayside after a couple of weeks of trying to be healthier---we have no time! So why not let someone else do it for you? Meal kit subscriptions are all the rage, and for good reason. Services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh not only plan your meals, but they deliver measured and fresh ingredients to your door, and provide step-by-step instructions for how to cook them (usually in about 30 minutes). Healthy eating has never been easier!
Take a 20-minute walk at lunchtime.
Even if you joined a gym and work out a few times a week, if you have a desk job, you aren’t moving enough during the day. Plus, you are likely sitting during your commute too! This can lead to back, shoulder and neck pain, as well as other health problems. The best way to prevent injuries and stiffness is to take a walk during your lunch break. It doesn’t have to be a workout, just get your body moving. If possible, take stretch breaks periodically throughout your day, too.
Start a savings plan.
Financial health is important, but often overlooked or ignored until we are in crisis mode. So why not start the year getting your financial house in order? If you donate to a 401K or retirement plan at work, try upping your monthly contribution. If you don’t have a savings account, it’s time to start one. Accountants and financial planners advise you to keep a six-month reserve in case of any change in your work or health status. If you need help with budgeting, there are plenty of apps like Mint and PocketGuard you can download. Proper financial planning takes a lot of unnecessary stress out of our lives.
Get the year started on a healthy note!