Image: Pexels / Chevanon Photography
January can feel very much like a marathon, not a sprint. Whether you're giving dry January a try or have taken on a new fitness plan, it can seem like a bit of a chore in comparison to the fun and frivolity that December had to offer.
The thing about wellness is that we should view it as something that is as much a part of our day to day as, say, brushing our teeth. Rather than seeking short-term plans or swinging from super healthy to not-so, it's about making healthier choices on the daily and knowing that sometimes life gets in the way and that's okay, as long as you pick yourself up next day.
To help keep you motivated, we trawled our favourite wellness influencers' Instagram feeds for the best wellness tips, tricks and advice, to help give you a jolt of inspiration and to keep you feeling your best into February and beyond...
1) Make a Vision Board
A vision board is a wonderful way to help you think about your goals and create a visiual reference that you can check in with as you progress. Many influencers and businesswomen use vision boards to help keep them on track to hitting and surpassing their annual goals. Check out The Comparison Coach Lucy Sheridan's step-by-step to making one below.
1) Gather magazines together in a pile so you don’t have to keep getting up and interrupting your flow.
2) Set a mood with a carefully selected playlist - what’s the soundtrack of this new chapter? Burn some incense and light a candle to open the space and set your intention - this isn’t just a crafty project it’s an act of personal commitment that deserves reverence.
3) Next, get comfortable and start making your way through the pages of each magazine, cutting or tearing out the images, words and phrases that speak to your soul and encapsulate what you wish to experience, enjoy and achieve in 2020. Don’t worry too much about being exact - resonance and alignment are paramount.
4) Okay, with that complete it’s time to set out the pieces of your vision into your board. Check you’re happy with the placement and then you can glue it down. I tend to use an A3 pad and write the year in the middle purely as it’s easy for me to access.
5) I then write in between the gaps and doodle patterns to fill any space, for example, this year I’m learning to ski, beating my fear of driving, welcoming and enjoying friendships, so I’ll write down specifics on those... aaaanndd that’s it! Don’t worry if you need more than an hour - take your sweet time.
2) Make Your Workouts Count
It's so easy to aimlessly walk around the gym, but if you have a plan you'll not only get more out of your session but you'll be in and out quicker. Did you know that working out your lower body burns more calories, as the muscles are larger? Talk about efficient use of time! Check out trainer Alice Liveing's lower body workout below and be sure to read the caption that goes with it on her feed, as she offers plenty of tips for beginners...
3) Stress Less
Did you know the more stressed you are, the more likely you are to hold onto weight around your middle? When we get stressed it can spike cortisol which can lead to an increase in abdominal fat. Keep calm by realising there is no point stressing and worrying about the things that are out of your control. The UK digital editor of Women's Health, Amy Lane, shared this quote that we should all read and remember...
4) Eat More Fibre
Whether it's a bowl of wholegrain cereal, a plate of vegetables or a punnet of raspberries, eating more fibre is seriously good for your health. Fibre is a prebiotic that feeds our gut's good bacteria and one U.S. study found that those who ate more fibre (30g or more per day) lived longer and healthier lives.
Dr Megan Rossi, also known as The Gut Health Doctor, said that, "A new study put people on a high fibre diet for two weeks, doubling their fibre intake and consuming five times the amount of prebiotic fibres. After the two weeks, they saw a significant benefit on their gut microbes, including an increase in bifidobacteria which is linked with stronger immunity BUT just three weeks after going back to their normal diets, their gut microbes returned to their original levels.
"So, just like your plants shrivel up if you don’t water them, the same goes for your inner community of microbes that look after us every day."
5) Factor in Mobility
Okay, it may not be as exciting as HIIT, but mobility exercises done first thing in the morning will help you to wake up, boost your flexibility and prepare your body for the day. Shona Vertue (who trains celebs including David Beckham) shares this mobility sequence that you can do it in bed, give it a try!
6) Keep Challenging Yourself
If you don't try new things, you won't progress. Setting yourself small challenges is a fun way to keep improving. Trainer Carly Rowena shares workout challenges on her Instagram feed, so definitely give her a follow. This one below is a two-move challenge:
Workout: 40 seconds of each move, 12 minutes total.
1) Downward dog taps
2) Bear Crawl Taps
How many reps can you do?
7) Be a Flexible Foodie
Even if you're not vegan, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy a vegan meal every now and then! Why not try making a nutrient-rich and super tasty lunch one day? Dr Hazel Wallace, also known as The Food Medic, shared this yummy-looking recipe on her feed and we can't wait to try it.
1 broccoli head, washed, cut into florets
2 courgettes, cut into rounds
1 red onion, sliced
3 big handfuls of kale, sautéed or steamed
60g almonds, halved
Tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons of almond butter
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp soy sauce
2-3 tablespoons of warm water
Salt (to season)
1) Preheat oven to 180c
2) Add broccoli, courgette and veg to a baking tray. Roast for 30-35 mins.
3) Meanwhile, make the dressing by adding the ingredients into a blender and blending until smooth - add more water until desired consistency achieved.
4) Place chickpeas and almonds on another tray and place in the oven for the final 10 mins.
5) Add the kale (or greens of choice) to three lunchboxes, and divide roast veg, chickpeas + nuts, and dressing between the three.
Note: You can swap to tahini in the dressing if you have any nut allergies.