The hectic holiday season can stretch us both financially and physically. And while we may feel run down and just want to ‘hibernate’ for the winter, maintaining a healthy body and mind need not be an expensive or a time consuming activity. Simple changes in our daily routine along with a little bit of self-appreciation and discipline can make a huge difference with little to no cost!
For the Body
1. Start the day with hot lemon and ginger water. It is the healthiest start we can give to our body. It is alkaline and boosts the work of kidneys and liver, which is a perfect way to say good morning to our body.
2. Get physical. Go for something that allows you to ‘switch off’ and lose yourself in the present moment. Choose an activity that you like or try something new like dancing, yoga or swimming.
3. Go for a run or power walk! Paris has plenty of green spaces so pick a quiet route where you don’t have to dodge traffic, bicycles or tourists. Repetitive movement of the body, rhythmic breathing and no particular obstacles to navigate can have a powerful destressing effect.
For the Mind
4. Keep a diary. This daily habit really helps to ‘release’ anything that may occupy your mind in the evening and prevent you from switching off and relaxing. Be sure to always finish on a positive note. Recognising the nice things in our life can have a powerful effect!
5. Change your outlook. It has been proven that negative emotions drain us, and affect not only our mood but our physical health too. Before reacting to negative situations or people, remember that if you do not let it ‘get to you’ and chose not to engage in a negative exchange of emotions, it will be better for your health! Be selfish and stay out of it!
6. Get enough sleep. Sticking to a regular schedule and turning off the ‘screens’ (TV, computer, tablet) can help you get a better night’s sleep. If you struggle to fall asleep try this yoga breathing exercise. Close your left nostril with your finger, breathe in from right then breathe out from the left while closing the right nostril. Then do it in reverse order from left to right. Repeat for 5-10 minutes.
7. Clean your closet/flat/relationships. There are people, things and situations that GIVE us energy and there are those that TAKE it. If the balance of giving and receiving energy is incorrect in our lives, change it.
For Body and Mind
8. Cut out sugar. Sugar is linked to many modern-day diseases and proven to cause mood swings. To limit or cut sugar from your diet, READ ALL THE LABELS to make sure that sugar has not ‘snuck in’ to an otherwise healthy looking product. Eliminating sugar might seem like very hard work at first, but stick with it, and after about 2-3 weeks you will feel fantastic in body and mind. Trust me! ‘That Sugar Film’ is a great documentary that will really motivate you to implement this particular habit.
9. Find a group of likeminded people to help you stay motivated. My Indian Yoga teacher told us not to feel ashamed if we cannot exercise by ourselves. Being amongst people who are striving for the same goal is motivating and leaves us infused with positive energy. There are affordable and sociable options available in Paris that won’t lock you into a long-term contract. Meetup.com is a great source and has been my salvation since moving to Paris. Affordable Yoga and Fitness also offers a range of Yoga and fitness classes starting at 6 euros.
10. Practice sun salutations for ten minutes each morning. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be an experienced yogi. This sequence is designed to give our body all the health benefits it needs in one simple routine. It only takes about 2 minutes to complete one round, which will make a difference to your energy levels and stress resistance during the day.
By Anna Khuade, British/Russian Expat in Paris. Health and fitness professional
and Founder of Affordable Yoga And Fitness www.affordableyogafitness.com