January is a time that many of us pledge to lead a healthier lifestyle over the year ahead.
We're constantly being faced with reports that claim to show the effects of everything from stress to red meat and technology on our health. Not only can these make for worrying reading, but they can also leave us unsure of where we should start when making changes to our lifestyle for the better.
Instead of cutting all of the food that you enjoy out of your diet and exhausting yourself with a punishing exercise regime, we've compiled a few ideas of how you could begin to make little changes to your lifestyle for a healthier, happier future.
Eat a more balanced diet
January is one of the best times to begin eating a little more healthily, as there's so much inspiration around, with the release of new healthy eating books from popular chefs and plenty of support available on social media.
Some people commit to the month-long Veganuary challenge, while others will be starting the countdown to their summer holiday by setting themselves a target weight before jetting off.
If you don't have anything like this in mind though, making a few tweaks to your current diet to make it more balanced and full of more important nutrients is still a worthwhile idea. Make sure you're eating lots of filling protein, as well as plenty of fruit, vegetables and fibre from other sources, such as cereals, and don't exclude sugary treats or carbohydrates from your diet altogether - simply cut back a bit and you’ll feel a little healthier.
You don't have to sign up for a marathon or another extreme fitness challenge to have a reason to exercise more this year. Wanting to look after your health and ensure you're in good physical condition should be motivation enough.
Image credit: shih-wei via iStock
Pledging to exercise more doesn't have to mean anything strenuous either, it could be spending 15 minutes a day doing some relaxing yoga to give your muscles a workout each morning, or taking your dog on a power walk. Look up the exercise classes at your local gym too. Group workouts like Zumba and Clubbercise (think aerobics with glow sticks) are lots of fun, and you could meet some great new friends.
Give up your bad habits
At the end of last year, we published a post about the 'bad' habits that you shouldn't have to give up in 2018. But there are some actual bad habits that you really should give some thought to kicking as soon as possible.
Drinking too much alcohol is one of them. While it's fine to drink within your recommended allowance for the week (14 units), regularly going over this could be damaging your health. Instead of mindlessly pouring yourself a glass of red each evening just because you've got into the habit of it, opt for a soft drink instead, or give your hands something else to do, like getting an adult colouring in book or taking up a hobby like crochet.
Smoking is another habit that we really encourage you to try to give up this year. With the invention of e-cigarettes, there are more options to help you kick the habit than ever before.
It's easier to cut out bad habits if you reward yourself every time you make it through a week without your vices. Give yourself some credit for the effort you're putting in and treat yourself - it's well-deserved.
If you've managed to give up smoking, you'll no longer smell of stale smoke all the time, so make the most of it by buying some scented goodies. Our handmade soap bars will leave your skin smelling beautiful, while our reed diffusers will fill your entire home with gorgeous fragrance, masking any lingering smoke smells.
Pledge to shop more sustainably
Another new habit to adopt in 2018 would be to spend your money a little more wisely, not just on yourself, but the environment and the people who make products in mind.
For example, try to remember to always take a bag for life with you when you go shopping so that you're not contributing to mounting plastic bag waste and try to only buy as much as you need so you're not wasting food. Anything extra that you do end up not using, donate to your local food bank.
Image credit: Mcininch via iStock
You can also make an effort to be more responsible when purchasing beauty products, especially when it comes to items like body scrubs. Some of these contain synthetic beads, but at Heyland & Whittle, we use natural sea salt granules and bamboo to create the 'scrub' effect in our body scrubs.
This means that when you wash away the scrub from your skin, you won't be releasing any potentially harmful beads into the environment. You'll be leaving your skin smelling, looking and feeling wonderfully smooth, while doing your bit for the environment all at the same time.