You don’t have to make a huge financial investment to lead a healthier & happier life.
There’s actually a lot you can do for £0.
Here’s 5 behaviours I’d highly encourage you to lean into to make 2024 a year of health & fulfillment.
1) Exercise Daily
You don’t have to do anything intense - there's no need to run a marathon or do a 'Hyrox' workout. Just challenge your body a little bit on a daily basis.
This could be working out in the gym, going on a run, doing a yoga class, or even just taking a long walk.
Daily exercise has so many benefits from both a physical & mental perspective. It's an opportunity to step out of your mind & into your body, helping to re-energise yourself both physically & mentally.
2) Spend Time in Nature
Step outside, get some fresh air & daylight!
Spending time in natural environments has been shown to have a big impact on reducing stress levels.
On top of this, daylight/sunlight exposure regulates your circadian rhythms - essentially your body's internal clock that dictates hormone production. By exposing yourself to daylight at regular intervals in the day you're ensuring that the appropriate hormones are produced at the appropriate times (e.g. melatonin produced in the evening to help ensure a sound nights sleep).
Quite simply there aren't many better things for clearing your mind & for taking care of your body.
3) Have a Bedtime Routine
The first aspect to a bedtime routine is consistent sleep & wake times (from Mon-Fri at least). By ensuring that you go to bed & wake up at consistent times you're allowing your body to get familiar with your patterns. This will mean that it knows when to produce the hormones needed to help induce sleep & wake you up (melatonin & cortisol).
The second aspect of bedtime routine are the pre-bed behaviours that you engage in - it's vital to practice behaviours that support your sleep quality, not damage it. Sleep supporting behaviours include:
- Avoiding blue-light emitting devices
- Having a hot bath/shower
- Light stretching
- Meditation or breathing
Additional tip: keep your phone out of your bedroom!
4) Daily Stillness
Take 10-15 minutes each day to be still.
This means just practicing the skill of observing thoughts as they come & go without engaging in them. You can do this in the shower, in the car, or on a walk - it doesn’t have to be a sit down meditation.
The problem is that most of us live life in a constant state of stimulation. There's always something that we're distracted by - whether it's the TV, our phones, or even our thoughts.
We're continually occupied with either the past or future, ruing over 'mistakes' made or worrying about how events may or may not unfold.
This means that we're never actually living in the present moment - the here & now.
Practicing stillness trains your ability to live in the present moment - which is fundamental to feeling content & internally at peace.
A lot of us have lost touch with the youthful, playful aspect of ourselves.
We grow up so focused on achieving, building, chasing some goal in the future (often times goals that others have created for us), that we forget to enjoy the journey along the way.
You've heard it countless times before, but, life is short.
Bronnie Ware, a palliative carer, wrote a book called: The Top Five Regrets of the Dying - A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing.
And according to her, the five most common regrets shared be people nearing death were:
Do you really want to get to the end of your life wishing you'd been more true to yourself, worked less, & allowed yourself permission to play & enjoy the moment?
I'm not saying to quit your job, shed all of your responsibilities & run off into the forest naked.
But, I am saying to regularly seek out activities & experiences that you enjoy. Don't let the small things in life impact you too much & remember that your time on this planet is finite, so enjoy it!
Christian Lawal Personal Training.
Personal training in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & Sevenoaks.