Gorgeous, glorious January! Said no one ever. It’s a tough month; financially we’re a bit broke, the weather is generally cold and miserable and we’ve all overdone it a little over Christmas. But January is also a lovely fresh start to the year, an opportunity to make positive changes and start the year as you mean to go on.
I’ve been doing a lot of work recently on my own health, as when I’m feeling my best I can give my best effort to my clients. In December I followed a gut reset program that meant giving up alcohol, dairy, meat, sugar, processed food and gluten which, while slightly mad to attempt over Christmas, was also slightly needed to give my gut a chance to rebalance. Yes, health practitioners aren’t perfect, we all have our weaknesses and we all need to work on ourselves constantly! As a result I'm feeling pretty good so I wanted to pass on some of those feel-good vibes to anyone who may be struggling a bit this Janaury and looking for a boost.
You don’t need to go as extreme as I did to feel some lovely benefits and I’m also not a nutritionist, so I’m only writing from my personal view. However, if you want to get those feel-good vibes back for January I’ve got some ideas that have personally worked super well for me.
1) Let go of the guilt.
Oh we all feel so incredibly guilty when it comes to January. We’ve spent too much, we’ve eaten and drunk too much and we’ve put off all the important to-do’s while we’ve been enjoying the festive season. Guilt is the most pointless emotion you can have, so get rid of it. Acknowledge that you’ve had a wonderful Christmas with NO regrets and NO guilt and that you’re looking forward to all the excitements 2020 brings. Don’t blame, punish or self-flagellate yourself, it’s ok that you’ve enjoyed yourself, it’s what life is all about! Now is the time to appreciate and love yourself and your life.
2) Ditch alcohol.
Yes, Dry January is a bit of a trend that we all like to jump onto the bandwagon with, but there’s much deeper reasons to do this. One of the biggest is the effect alcohol has on your sleep. Ever wake up at 3am tossing and turning? That’s the alcohol which is affecting your liver meridian which runs between 1-3am. Not only will stopping drinking have a wonderful effect on your sleep patterns, helping you to wake up feeling refreshed and vibrant, you’ll feel so many other wonderful benefits too. Alcohol is also a depressant. January is hard enough without adding alcohol into the mix to drag us down so why not take a break?
3) Bring in feel good foods.
Everything comes down to diet. As much as we all want to believe that we can have our cake, eat it and feel wonderful, that’s not the reality. There’s no special treatment or pill to negate the effects of poor diet choices, not even exercise, because food goes so far beyond our weight, it nourishes every cell in our body and eating well is vital for a healthy mind and body. I’m not saying you need to be perfect 100% of the time, absolutely not, but I encourage you to bring in more of the feel-good foods (vegetables, fruit, complex-carbs, healthy fats) and take out some of the others (sugar, processed food, white carbs, fizzy drinks).
We’ve spent the past few weeks sitting in heated rooms and dehydrating ourselves with drinks. Getting your body back to a balanced, hydrated state is vital for wellbeing. It’s so boring when everyone is telling you to drink water but there’s a reason for it, water nourishes our body like nothing else, so keep your water intake high and remember that if you’re drinking a tea or coffee you’ll need an extra two glasses of water to compensate for the dehydrating effects as caffine is a diuretic.
5) Move gently.
I know it’s dark and cold outside but this month try and move your body in any way that feels good, whether it’s a lunchtime 30 minute walk, a yoga class or a jog. The more stationary we are in the winter months, the more stagnant our energy becomes in our minds as well as bodies so to get that energy shifting, move your body. Another great way to encourage the energy to flow is through massage which encourages movement of lymph, something we really focus on in Kinesiology. Lots of people crash their way back into the gym with punishing workouts that are not sustainable or enjoyable and therefore don’t last beyond January. So go easy on your body, do something you like and move it gently as winter is a time for nourishment.
6) Plan some fun.
January is a long month that can seem fairly bleak when we don’t have any fun plans to get excited about. So start small, book a catch up in with a best friend, organise a reunion, plan a day outside of London to explore, book a creative workshop. And if you’re really lucky you could book a weekend away somewhere new or catch a cheap flight somewhere. Life doesn't stop in January, it’s not on pause, it’s to be lived, appreciated and enjoyed like every other month in the year.