It’s all good and well to set new year’s resolutions come January, but we don’t have to wait until then to get healthy! Rewind a few months and you’ll see that spring is the perfect time to make a fresh start as the weather gets warmer, by shaking off the bad habits of the colder months and resetting that health switch. Want to do just that, but need some wellness inspiration? Here are some “reset” solutions to put on your list:
- Revisit friendships
Maybe you’ve been hibernating all winter? While alone time is beneficial for both body and mind, there are many proven health benefits to spending time with friends, including extending how long you live! A 2005 Australian study* on ageing found that people with the most friends tended to outlive those with the fewest, by a massive 22%! So run through those contacts on your phone, pick two or three people you haven’t seen for a while and set up a coffee, a meal, or simply go for a run or walk together.
- Do your health checks
If you’re female, have you had your annual Pap smear, plus a mammogram if you’re over 40? And if you’re male, have you done your own testicular exam? Or a prostate exam if you’re older? You should also check your blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI and other metrics annually, either with your GP or another health professional. Many medical aid companies like Fedhealth offer free wellness screenings throughout the year as part of their medical aid plans, which include these essential checks.
- Conquer stress
Often, we know deep down what we need to do to get on top of our stress levels, but we simply neglect to do anything about it and slip into our old negative habits. Whether it’s steering clear of anxiety-inducing social media for a few days, introducing a daily five-minute meditation before bed, or diarising a weekly yoga class, now is the time to be more proactive about managing your own stress. No one else can take charge of your internal happiness – only you.
- Look at your diet
Losing weight is often at the top of our list of resolutions, but this concept is too broad and doesn’t list actions that are necessarily achievable for everyone. A key part of losing weight for most people is eating healthily, so kickstart this by becoming more conscious about what you’re eating and drinking each day. One of the best ways to do this is to start a food diary: whether it’s a notebook in your bag or a list on your phone, jot down every little thing you consume on a daily basis. At the end of a week, you may be surprised by what you see, and this may help you recognise areas you’re doing well in, and hone in on other areas where you can improve.
- Try something new
As the weather warms up, now is the perfect time to try an exercise you’ve never done before! It’s easy to get stuck in a rut doing the same old running route or gym class day in and out – but this can quickly start to become boring, both for our minds and our bodies. Maybe a friend mentions that she’s started water aerobics classes? Perhaps there’s a slot free at the local studio for adult ballet classes? Go and have some fun, sweat a little, and enjoy the experience while you exercise – after all, we’re never too old to try something new.
As we head into spring, use this opportunity to blossom, learn and change yourself for the better. Your life is in your hands, and now’s the time to flip that health switch.