January is perhaps the most contemplative time of year with many of us taking the new year as an opportunity for all of us to reflect on what has been, where we are now, and to put into motion the things we need to do to succeed in the future. Part of this process include decisions such as breaking the bad habits which hold us back, and replacing them with positive, sustainable habits that are not only healthy for the body but for the mind as well. Wellness Month at THS is all about promoting good habits. Here are three tried-and-tested-by-yours-truly ideas designed for busy lives that you can try at home to start your year off the right way.
1.Morning Minute Meditation
Minute meditations are a great exercise you can do to help bring extra awareness and synergy between your body and mind to get you in the right mindset to take on the day. The instructions are pretty simple. Find a quiet place where you can spend 1-2 minutes by yourself without being interrupted. I prefer to do this in the morning just after I wake up as it helps start the day, but this can be done any time throughout the day. Have a seat in a chair or on the floor, close your eyes and focus on taking some long, deep breaths. While breathing, start to bring awareness to different parts of your body, starting with the top of your head, all the way down your arms, through your chest and down to the toes on the end of your feet. This focus can help get your mind/body connection working at its peak, but don’t forget to breathe while this is happening. Once you’ve connected your body with your mind, open your eyes and get ready to take on the day.
2.Setting a Weekly Life Goal
Goal-setting is something we all do, mostly without really realising, in order to tackle responsibilities and needs faced at school, home, or the workplace. One thing that can help you be more effective with your time and stress levels is creating a visual reminder of goals you might have which falls outside or inside the realm of academia and work. To do this, all you need is a whiteboard or some sort of writing space that is placed in a highly visible area, such as a bedroom door/wall, so you can see it every day. At the beginning of the week, choose an attainable goal, and write it in big letters on the board. If it will help, you can even write some of the steps you would need to take to achieve said goal, as this may give you a clearer path to reaching the goal. At the end of the week, revisit the goal you set and ask yourself a simple question: did I reach my goal for this week? Since I’ve been trying to lose some weight before the Singapore wrestling trip, I decided to use this technique to improve some of my not-so-healthy eating habits. I use an attainable goal such as “no cheesecake” or “No Soda”, write it on my board, and that visual reminder keeps the goal in sight while also helping me keep myself accountable.
3.Fitness to last
One of the biggest beginning of the year fads, particularly for adults, is the desire to get into better shape. People drop tons of money on expensive gym memberships as part of addressing their new year’s resolution, only to find that after a few weeks they are no longer going or they aren’t seeing the results they want to see and give up. Personal fitness and physical wellness literacy are part of our lifelong journey and is not something that can happen overnight. However, it is certainly possible for anyone to create positive fitness habits without adding a massive time commitment or disruption to their day-to-day routine. All you need is 15 minutes of daily cardiovascular exercise to significantly reduce the risk of heart-related illness in advancing age. This can take the form of a simple exercise circuit where you choose three exercises, perform each exercise for 40 seconds, with 20 seconds of rest in between, and then repeating the circuit three to five times. Remember to vary your exercises so you are not working on the same area, and be sure to include a cardio specific exercise within the circuit. These exercises can include (but are not limited to) Pushups, Situps, Pullups, Burpies, Trunk twists, Jumping jacks, running in place, punches or karate kicks.
So there we go, three simple and completely do-able healthy habits to adopt in 2020! Start by working on adopting one at a time and you’ll soon find that they will all naturally become part of your daily family life.