Many of us in the wellness biz consider spring to be the 2nd New Year. In all honesty, our resolutions might be more successful if we set them in spring instead of in January after we're exhausted and need to recover from the holidays. Be that as it may, if the goal you set in January is now a distant memory, give one of these 10 Acts of Wellness a try. It may be the catalyst you need to rekindle the good intentions you had in January!
1) Get 10,000 steps.
If you work at a desk, play chauffer for your kids or just don't have much easy opportunity for movement in your schedule, incorporating
10, 000 steps in your day takes some intentionality. Making a game of it is actually kinda fun! You'll rethink your parking spot at the grocery store, oblige your dog's pleas for an afternoon walk, and opt for the stairs over the elevator. Opportunities abound to get steps in if you look for them. Wearing a watch with a pedometer is a must if you want to give this challenge a shot.
2) Prep your meals for the week.
Hanger + no plan = nutritional disaster. Think about what you reach for when you're so hungry that the thought of eating your hand crosses your mind. It's generally not a nutritious salad with perfectly cooked salmon (or your hand, I hope!). For me, it's a few handfuls of tortilla chips shoved in my mouth at warp speed. Unless I already have something 90% ready to go in the fridge that I can heat up (if needed) and throw on a plate. Taking time to prep your meals will actually save you time in the long run and also give your irrational hangry brain a chance to make a better choice.
3) Make a weekly plan for exercise.
We all know how this goes. We really do have good intentions for exercise. We wholeheartedly would be at the gym or power walking around the neighborhood... if we only knew when it was going to happen. Take a look at what's on your schedule for the week, then slot in your time for exercise. Just like any other important activity, if it's not on your schedule, it's not going to happen. I'll offer a helpful hint from teaching fitness classes for nearly 2 decades- early morning exercisers are the most consistent. How often do you have something already on your schedule at 6am? By 7am you'll already feel that you have accomplished something before your day officially begins!
4) Get outside.
I won't even begin to site the copious amounts of studies about the effects that spending time outdoors has on our wellbeing. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Go to the nearest for a stroll, sit by a lake, pay your local Botanic Garden a visit, heck, finish reading the rest of this article in your back yard. I don't care how you do it- just get your butt outside!
5) Set your timer to close your eyes and breathe for 5 minutes.
I'm not even calling it meditation. Don't have time? Hogwash. That's your ADD brain screaming at you, freaking out that it won't get its regular dopamine hits from scrolling on social media. Who's running the show here? Adult, rational, calm brain? Or 2 year old, tantrum-throwing, scrolling-addicted brain? Employ some tough love here and take the first 5 minutes of scrolling time for deep breathing. You'll still have the rest of the day to scroll... or you may find that you don't really need it after all.
6) Eat salad for lunch.
By making a habit of eating a salad for lunch during the week, 30% of your weekly meal planning is already done! Throw on all the goodies, crunchies, cheeses and bits that you want and use whatever dressing you want (ok, yes- it would be great if you liked olive oil and vinegar, but it's not a deal breaker). I only ask that you also add a hefty amount of protein- maybe a chicken breast or a cup of your choice of beans. You'll be amazed at how much better your energy will be sustained than by eating a carby lunch. It's an easy thing to pack for work, too. Instead of buying restaurant lunch, imagine all the money you'll save!
7) Set a bedtime for yourself.
It's good for your kids AND it's good for you! Maybe set an alarm for yourself to start a nighttime get-ready-for-bed routine. It might help with the Netflix "just one more episode" struggle. I suggest start getting ready for bed around 9pm and in the bed by 10pm. If you're currently going to bed much later than that, try moving your bedtime back by 15-30 minutes each week. You'll be hitting the hay by 10pm in no time!
8) Set a bedtime for your phone.
Having the bright light (even if it's orange light!) in your face at night is very confusing for your brain to know that it's actually time to sleep and not be active and productive. You may be able to fall asleep after looking at your phone, but if you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, scrolling on your phone before bed is a likely culprit. At least 2 hours before your bedtime, kiss your phone goodnight and put it to bed in its cozy charging station until morning somewhere OTHER than your bedroom. It will be okay without you. I promise.
9) Take a walk outside at lunchtime.
Just for the refreshment of it; not everything has to be for the purpose of exercise (although, you'll kill 3 birds with one stone if you combine it with #1 & #4)!
10) Drink 2L of water.
It never fails. When I ask a client how much water they think they drink, the answer is usually, "Oh, I drink a ton of water!" Do you really? Let's measure it. You probably drink a whole lot less than you think. The best way I've found to make sure I'm getting enough is to carry around a 1L bottle with me all day. I try to drink one before lunch, fill it up again and drink another before I get home from work. If you fall behind at any time, CHUG IT. Life is better when you're hydrated.
Lifelong wellness is a constant process of recommitment. You haven't failed at your goals. Just pick up where you left off and KEEP GOING!