Now the -silly season' is behind us, and we've eaten (or drunk) all the leftovers, it's time to get our health back on track for 2013. Instead of making New Year's resolutions, which most of us can't sustain*, plan for good health through the year without any guilt.
'Think of it as a plan for the rest of your life," recommends Terrill Bruere, a dietitian at Jean Hailes for Women's Health. 'You can't do it all at once… Make a small change, see if it works for you and if you can stick to it, and adjust your goals as you go along."
Here are some ideas for practical changes that might work for you:
Get out in the sun for ten minutes each day, outside peak UV times (11am to 3pm in summer), to top up your vitamin D
Make water a habit whenever you feel thirsty – Unless you're ill or doing a lot of exercise, you don't need special drinks to rehydrate you
Learn to relax Meditation, hobbies, walking… Healthy relaxing activities can reduce stress and anxiety, help you sleep and improve your energy and concentration
Be active Choose a physical activity that's affordable and fun, so you're motivated to stick with it
Make time for family and friends Add weekly dinners, movie nights, bike rides etc. to your diary to make sure you have regular -quality time' with loved ones
Sort out your sleep Sometimes a change in routine is all it takes to get a good night's sleep
To help you plan the changes that you want to aim for, try writing a diary of your daily habits and activities for a week, then think about creative ways to do things a little differently. Try one out, and see how it goes.
Terrill's favourite tip is to start with something you feel confident you can do fairly easily: 'Once you've achieved a small success, celebrate and build new small steps… until you're doing it naturally most of the time."
* National Balance Survey 2012 – www.balancebydeborahhutton.com.au/goal-setting-for-the-new-year
Published with the permission of the Jean Hailes Foundation for Women's Health
Tollfree number 1800 JEAN HAILES (532 642) for women seeking further health information www.JeanHailes.org.au