21 Ways to improve your physical & mental well-being this new year

The new year is the perfect time to start fresh in your quest to become a healthier you. But getting there can be difficult. Following these tips might make the task a little easier.

Diet

An important factor in getting fit is a healthy diet. In theory, eating healthy is easy, but it is never that simple. In reality it can be incredibly difficult to resist eating all those unhealthy foods we love so much. The following steps can make the ordeal easier however.

1. Have a clean out

This idea is simple; if it isn’t there, you can’t eat it. Research has shown that humans tend to overeat when food is easily accessible, especially if it’s that delicious chocolate you had the other night. Why not start your new year by throwing away all the fatty foods in your fridge and pantry? It might pain you to do so, but in the long run you won’t be tempted to snack on unhealthy foods during the day. Or better yet, give them away.

2. Make a soup

A veggie soup before a meal will help you consume up to 100 fewer calories per meal, and will also get your digestive system moving. In addition to this, it’s a much easier way to ingest the recommended amount of vegetables per week.

3. Invest in the right diet guidance

There are thousands of diet plans out there, and some are obviously more successful than others. The best diet is one that’s written by a qualified professional and not a random blogger on the internet. Ensure that you do some research and look for the diet plan that best suits you.

4. Keep a food journal

Start writing down what you eat and how many calories it contains. This can give you an indication just how unhealthy or healthy your eating habits are, and you can then make adjustments as necessary.

5. Think before you eat

If you spend more than 5 seconds staring into the fridge, then you probably weren’t really hungry in the first place. It can be tempting to eat simply because you’re bored. If you ‘re not genuinely hungry, then you don’t need to eat it.

6. Have a cheat day

While some people disagree with the idea of a cheat day – a day every one or two weeks where you relax your diet and eat what you want – there are those who think they can help a diet. Even the most disciplined dieter can get worn down by weeks of eating nothing but steamed vegetables and protein shakes. Taking a day to reward yourself can boost your morale and encourage you to not stop your diet.

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Exercise

When aiming to get healthy, it is important to maintain a steady exercise regime in addition to a proper diet. Much like eating healthy, exercising regularly can be a daunting prospect and requires mental fortitude to accomplish. With these tips however you can make it easier for yourself.

7. Have an end goal

Set a fitness goal before you begin, such as running a 5k at some point in the year. It is important to be realistic when setting these goals; running a marathon after a month isn’t realistic!

8. Create a program and prepare

Know exactly what you want to work on ahead of time and plan for each training session. This is particularly important when going to the gym.

8. Take small steps

Trying to achieve too much in a short space of time can be overwhelming and demotivating.

10. Stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep

When we deprive ourselves of sleep, our energy levels are reduced and our bodies grow and repair at a slower rate. Ensure you go to bed early and wake up even earlier.

11. Limit your alcohol intake

Drinking alcohol means you are taking in calories that have no nutritional values to our bodies, and can also slow down our metabolism. Not to mention it can be hard to work out with a hangover!

12. Bring a friend

Going to the gym or for a run for the first time can be challenging, especially if you’re self-conscious about the way you look.  Bringing a friend can significantly lessen the anxiety of working out, and can even make it fun.

13. Walk regularly

Find 20-30 minutes every day to go for a walk. If your gym is nearby, then walk there instead of driving. If you have a dog, find the time to walk it every day. Also make an effort to walk places you wouldn’t normally walk, such as to work or the supermarket.

14. Make sure you enjoy your training

Getting in shape is supposed to make you feel good. If your regime is exhausting you or making you dread exercising, then perhaps you need to find a new regime. There’s no point in exercising if you’re miserable.

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Mind

In addition to getting in shape physically, it is important to keep your mental health in check. This involves getting into good habits that will improve your moods and generally make life easier for you. Such things to do are:

15. Wake up early

Make sure you go to bed at a regular time and practise good sleeping habits. Waking up early allows you to get much more out of your day than those who wake up late.

16. Organise yourself

Time management is crucial to reducing stress levels and ensuring that you remain on top of your daily tasks. Keeping track of all your commitments in a calendar can eliminate forgetfulness.

17. Connect with others

Put effort into building strong relationships or maintaining the ones you already have. Good friends are an invaluable source of mental strength.

18. Participate in your interests

Join a club or group of people who share the same interests as you to gain a sense of belonging. This could be anything from sports teams to book clubs to theatre classes.

19. Take care of your body

This goes hand in hand with the tips mentioned in the sections above. A healthy body can make you feel better about yourself.

20. Challenge yourself

Learn new skills or attempt to meet a goal. Learning new things improves your mental fitness as well as building skills and confidence. It also gives you a sense of achievement, which can significantly boost morale.

21. Most importantly, ask for help

Asking for help is a sign of mental strength. If you’re struggling with a task or not feeling well, then it may be beneficial to you to get a close friend or trusted professional to help you.

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