There’s something about September that no matter what age you are the desire to start over kicks in. We consider it a mini New Year, and it’s the perfect time to get back on track. Dr Ciara Kelly shares her four easy healthy hacks
Looking to get back on track now summer is finally over? It doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul. In fact a few simple health hacks are enough to get things moving in the right direction.
Set your goals & put pen to paper
Do you have a weekly diary, or journal? If not it’s time to get one. Sticking to your healthy habits during a busy week can be challenging, to say the least. But if you’ve written it down, or even typed it into your phone, you’ve got something to hold yourself accountable to. Each week, pencil in whatever you know is concrete. That’s your base. Then you build around it. Schedule in self-care. Exercise. Either at the gym, at home or outside. Time with family and friends, or a date night! And what about time to just breath? Read a book? Listen to music? Even those ten minutes of meditation you want to fit in? Remember, these are ALL achievable. They are commitments you make to yourself to be your best. We hate to cancel on friends and family so why cancel on yourself?
Make your freezer your friend & start to meal prep
If there is one life hack I could give people for healthy eating in a busy week, it’s meal preparation. I set aside 1-2 hours every Sunday for just that. There are many ways to meal prep, and you can easily find one to suit your lifestyle. Try setting a challenge to make a new recipe each week. Try one-pot wonder dishes like curries or dahls which can be easily made in bulk and frozen. Or try making a double portion of your dinner a couple of nights a week. Saving the rest for the next day. Another great idea is to prepare and store ingredients in advance. Chopping your veggies ahead of time, for example. Cooking from scratch everyday can seem like such a chore after a late finish at work, so try these hacks to simplify and make it fun.
Deepen your inhale & lengthen your exhale
When you’ve made your plan for the week, take a closer look. Yes, the gym is penciled in. That dinner date with the girls. A trip home to the family at the weekend. Nailing it! Now let’s double check – is there time for YOU slotted in? I don’t mean exercise, or social activities. Even if you find they give you some headspace, that’s still time where your attention is elsewhere. We need time each day, let alone each week, to focus on ourselves. To wind down. To switch off, and let any stress we’re holding onto flow away. That time will look different for everyone. It might be a gentle walk. A restorative yoga class. Time with a good book or movie, or simply just sitting with our own thoughts. This time is just as important as every other part of your life, and it’s often the most neglected.
Give yourself a break & smile
With the best intentions, sometimes life just happens, and our healthy habits go out the window. We arrive home late with no energy for the gym. No ingredients in the fridge to cook and it’s a disaster. But when life gets in the way, you just gotta smile. Say to yourself: ‘Life happens.’ Laugh about it. I always say strive for progress, not perfection. Because no one is perfect, and everyone is unique. So be proud of your ambitions to be healthy and celebrate whenever you achieve your goals, however big or small. The silver lining is always there, sometimes, you’ve just gotta peek closer to see it
Ciara Kelly is a medical doctor who’s passionate about incorporating nutrition and fitness into her daily life. She believes that through empowerment, everyone can find balance and the lifestyle for them. For more information, visit irishbalanceblog.wordpress.com