It’s coming to the end of the year and that tough time between November and Christmas.
The nights are getting darker, the weather is getting colder and the days are beginning to feel even longer.
I call this period the “slippery slope” period, where it’s very easy to fall off if we don’t have our head screwed on.
Letting our diet go, drinking too much alcohol and neglecting our health by not working out are very common signs that we are falling down this slippery slope.
Some of this behaviour is driven by the lack of sunlight and increase in cold weather causing afflictions such as pneumonia and hypothermia.
Some of this is due to the holiday cheer which amplifies loneliness and hopelessness in people who have lost loved ones.
Whilst these conditions and emotions are challenging to deal with, we can mitigate a lot of these negative behaviours through building better habits leading up to 2020.
This can propel us to look at the New Year which much more optimism and move us into an upward spiral of happiness, success and fulfilment.
Below are the 5 strategies you can use to get a head start for 2020.
Short-term, regular physical exercise will release endorphins (the happy hormone) that will make you feel good about yourself and increase your positive mood. This increase in activity is also likely to make you more energetic – people who workout in the morning are shown to be more productive throughout the day when at work.
Long term, physical exercise is shown to be the biggest preventative of lowering IQ. Your brain needs to be kept clean and well oxygenated. Both lifting weights and cardiovascular exercise help facilitate the oxygen pumping around your brain and this is effective at staving off cognitive declines over a lifespan.
Getting yourself to the gym 2-4 times per week between now and Christmas is going to do wonders for your physical, mental and emotional health.
Consuming adequate fruit and vegetables during days that are long and cold will help prevent your body feeling lethargic whilst also allowing your brain to perform more optimally.
Blueberries are one of the best foods for your brain. Over time, eating blueberries significantly increases activity in brain regions dedicated to cognitive function. These are great to have in the morning with your oats.
Supplementing Vitamin D is also a smart idea. Vitamin D plays important roles in immune function. One of the most common symptoms of deficiency is an increased risk of illness or infections, along with muscle pain and depression.
Eat more Vitamin D-rich foods, such as fatty fish or fortified diary products or supplement each morning.
Increased consumption of both fruit/veg and vitamin D will help you out massively.
It’s common knowledge that sleep is the biggest natural performance enhancing drug out there.
Sleep deprivation creates tunnel vision and emotion.
You’re not going to be able to see the bigger picture at work, in your relationships or with working out because of the internal chaos your body is going through when under-slept.
To make better decisions, have a greater perspective and remove ‘the fog’ from your mind, get your 8 hours.
I recently wrote a blog article on How To Optimise Your Sleep For Fitness Success. Give it a read.
I’m all for going out and socialising with my friends and getting drunk from time-to-time but there is a difference between a couple of nights out a month and getting completely trashed every Friday and Saturday.
Binge drinking has become so normalised in the West that it is now a continued bad habit for most people, rather than a cause for celebration or socialising.
Increased binge drinking will fuck up your liver, put a huge dent in your wallet and heighten the chances of you having anxiety and depression.
Not only that but it’s likely to de-rail your diet and put you in a position where you can’t train for a few days afterwards.
Have fun, socialise but cut out the binge drinking and limit yourself to a couple of nights out a month.
Your wallet, mind and body will thank you for it.
Whilst people are out binge drinking, neglecting their health and self-sabotaging, use this period between now and Christmas to invest in yourself.
By that I don’t mean go out and buy yourself a new car or fancy watch but make a financial commitment to something that is going to better your personal development for the New Year.
Maybe that’s buying a course that allows you build a side hustle, a tutor to help you learn a new language or a coach to support you with your fitness goals leading up to the New Year.
Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you can look back on in January and thank yourself for.
You are being kinder to yourself by investing in something that will help you in the long-term as opposed to looking for quick, short-term fixes.
Invest in yourself and you’ll be proud of the person you become in the New Year and going forward.