January can be a tough month. The days are short, the December festivities are over and the credit card bills are coming in. Learn how you can make January a lot brighter with 12 wellness tips from St. Joe’s Wellness Coordinator, Virona Ibrahim.
12 days of winter wellness
The post-holiday season can be stressful. To support you and help keep you as stress-free as possible, we’ve come up with a few ways you can stay healthy this time of year. Focus on fitness, eat well, nurture your soul and reach out to people. Challenge yourself to tackle one activity per day and complete 12 days of wellness.
Day 1: Practice deep breathing
Deep breathing can decrease stress, relax your mind and body and can help you sleep better. Deep breathing is a natural pain killer, improves blood flow, improves posture, reduces inflammation and detoxifies the body.
Day 2: Eat lunch away from your desk
By eating lunch at your workspace, you don’t get to take a “brain break” which can eventually make you less productive. Eating lunch in the lunch room or cafeteria will help you take a break, socialize and come back to work refreshed.
Day 3: Avoid sweets and desserts for 24 hours
During the holiday season, it can be very difficult to avoid sweets. Post holidays, challenge yourself to abstain for 24 hours. Reducing sugar and eating a healthy diet can help you have more energy during the day and reduce your risk of diabetes and weight gain.
Day 4: Have a healthy breakfast
Whether it’s a green juice or smoothie, some whole grains (unprocessed is best) or eggs, we need to fuel our bodies properly. Starting your day in the right direction will help you continue making healthier choices throughout the day.
Day 5: Stay hydrated
Drink 12-16 oz. water more than you usually do. Drink lots of fluid in the form of water, fresh made juices or herbal teas. Begin each day by having a big glass of warm water with lemon squeezed in. Proper hydration will keep your skin smooth, supple and wrinkle free, which we all need during the cold weather.
Day 6: Catch up on sleep
Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Proper sleep improves your memory, helps your body recover and puts you in a better mood. Keep this up after the holidays and you’ll wake up feeling refreshed, relaxed and energized.
Day 7: Laugh
Take a humour break and indulge in laughter which is a proven stress reliever. Watch a funny movie or some ridiculous videos on YouTube. This will help you keep stress free and happy during the cold winter months.
Day 8: Share a positive story with someone
Positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health. It can increase your life span, lower rates of depression and distress and improve your coping skills during difficult times.
Day 9: Pay it forward with a random act of kindness OR do something nice for a colleague
Random acts of kindness don’t just benefit the ones you gift, but also help your own mental health. Watch this video about the science of kindness for some inspiration.
Day 10: Organize one part of your life!
Desk, car, kitchen, etc… by being organized, you will reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed, gain a sense of control, gain energy and calm from your space and reduce your stress level.
Day 11: Make exercise fun!
If you have the same exercise routine, it might get boring at times. Try a new type of exercise or a new sport. Take advantage of the season to enjoy winter activities. Enjoy a walk in the winter air, take up cross country skiing or snowshoeing, or go skating. Shoveling can also be great exercise and an easy way to keep you healthy during the winter season. Make sure to stretch, take your time and dress appropriately.
Day 12: Take “me-time”
Be totally selfish and take time that is only about you. Read a book, go to the gym, do some yoga or mediate. Taking time for yourself gives your brain a chance to reboot, improves concentration and is a great stress reliever.
BONUS Day 13: Volunteer!
Volunteering can help with stress reduction, forming new relationships, and finding a sense of purpose. We’re always looking for people in the community who would like to volunteer their time, learn more.
Written by Virona Ibrahim