Hello lovelies! I hope you're all keeping well in this cold weather and looking forward to the New Year!
It's been a little while since I did a true "lifestyle" post to keep you updated on where I am on the ladder of healthy living, but it seems I've given in to temptation over the Christmas break and had one too many chocolates... but all is not lost! With 2015 around the corner, it's a prime opportunity to consider taking another step towards achieving a clean, mindful lifestyle.
I've always been a lover of clean starts, fresh notebooks, and the opportunity to create a new habit, however these haven't always gone to plan. I think what I've learnt so far is to not push too hard on anything: don't fall for the "new year, new you" adverts for expensive gym plans or restrict yourself to eating only a certain number of calories per day. Who knows where you'll be this time next month, let alone next year!
With all that said, there are a number of things I'd suggest taking a look at as a "healthy alternative" to a New Year's resolution. You can decide for yourself how far you'd like to take things day by day, and adapt these ideas to truly suit you - this way, you're far more likely to succeed.
FOR FITNESS FANS: 30 DAYS OF YOGA
I'll be posting a more in-depth blog about yoga soon, but for those of you already familiar with it or interested in starting, adopting a morning yoga routine will really keep you energised throughout the day and allow you to achieve more. Another positive about practicing yoga at home is that you can take it at your own pace, wear whatever you like and do it at whatever time of day suits you!
Recently, I've been using the YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene, where the lovely Adriene Mishler and her behind-the-scenes team post free yoga classes to suit you - whether it be a morning routine, a specific type of yoga or something to fit with your mood, they have made it. In January, they will be releasing a 30 day yoga class, i.e. a video for every day of the month, along with motivational emails and the chance to connect with other yogis. This group mentality, along with the chance of starting something new at your own pace or improving on your existing practice, will make it a lot more fulfilling and will keep you motivated better than that spur of the moment gym pass.
To sign up for 30 Days of Yoga, which is operating on a donation basis, click here.
FOR HARD WORKERS: 10 MINUTE DAILY MEDITATION
Meditation seems to be gaining popularity, and for all the right reasons - with technology keeping our brains occupied in every free second, and higher demanding daily activities, connecting to your inner self is something that we've just about forgotten.
Keeping away from the spirituality usually associated with meditation is often pretty difficult, so I can understand if you've never tried it. I myself often need to practice and don't, so this will be one of my own personal goals in 2015 too. This is where Headspace comes in; available in application format or online, it provides just the right balance of guidance and the permission to zone out of the busy lives we lead to get you started on the ladder to practicing meditation for yourself. Following a 10-minute practice every morning can lead to lower anxiety levels, better emotional management and feeling more at peace (here's the science!), and considering the first ten lessons are free, there really is nothing to lose!
To find out more about Headspace or download the app, head over to their website here.
FOR FOODIES: YOUR LOCAL MARKET
If you enjoy food, whether it be growing it, cooking it or simply eating it, then I'm sure you would also love to get your hands on the freshest, most flavoursome and possibly even healthier ingredients right? By visiting your local market, you will be able to pick up seasonal and locally grown produce, ticking all of the above boxes, as well as supporting small entreprises and your community. It's a no-brainer really, but it does take a little bit of effort nowadays, considering supermarkets are around the corner no matter where you are. So in an effort to do a bit of good, to both yourself and for others too, find out where your nearest local market is, farmers' markets being especially good, and get yourself down there as and when you can. You'll be surprised at how cheap you can get certain items too!
For second city dwellers like myself, Birmingham offers a range of different markets all held just outside of the Bullring; to find out more, head over to the City Council's website.
FOR HEALTH: EAT MINDFULLY
If you're already feeling itchy under your sweater after all those Christmas treats and want to give weight loss a go, I'd suggest also researching a little into eating mindfully before starting any rash diets. This is a concept I've only recently come across, and am reading about currently, after being gifted the book "Mindful Eating", but I already fully support the rationale: to eat mindfully is to keep a link between your body and your mind while considering food options. We often eat sugary treats for the flavour, not the nutrients. The same goes for main meals too, or for other bad habits such as skipping breakfasts or snacking during the day. Remaining mindful, a Buddhist practice of staying conscious of your surroundings and decisions, while dealing with food is another lesson that we could all do with - especially me and my sweet tooth!
If you're not quite ready to purchase the book or would simply like some pointers so as to curb those festive bad habits you've picked up, I'd suggest giving the awfully pretty website a peruse and reading the free PDF available from the authors here.
FOR ECO-WARRIORS: COMPOSTING AT HOME
If its nature you're more concerned about, then how about put me to shame and start composting at home. It's something I think about every time I throw away the scraps of fresh produce that I've not used in cooking, but unfortunately my little flat, while able to support a kitchen composter, doesn't have a designated area for that compost to go - no food waste bins, no local park looking for fresh dirt.
So, for all of you with gardens, or with compost solutions at hand, I'd suggest looking into the composting procedure and going that bit further with your recycling while helping your back garden ecosystem too! It really does seem easy once you look into it, and it's a great step into a low-impact lifestyle too.
To start on your green mulch mission, head on over to the Recycle Now website for its composting guide.
Please let me know if you do decide to adopt one of these ideas on entering 2015, or if you have a better idea - comment with it below! I'm sure we'd all love to hear it.
And to all of you who have supported my blog and its little green shoots branching out into the healthy living side of the world wide web, I'd like to say thank you so much, and I hope you have a great New Year, all 365 days of it! See you on the other side guys!