Does your spring-cleaning plan include cleaning up your diet and lifestyle? Don't forget to include rest and relaxation!
Sleep, rest and leisure are essential to allowing the hard work you’ve put into exercise and nutrition to come to fruition in a better, healthier, stronger you!
Follow these three tips to be sure your hard work has the most impact on your health.
Set a Bedtime Alarm
Give yourself a bedtime and set a notification for it in your phone. Start by making this new bedtime no more than 30 minutes earlier than what you are used to, and shift it by no more than 30 minutes every two weeks. Most phones offer the option to turn off notifications at bedtime and track your sleep so you can see your habits. If you don’t have a smartphone, the same thing can be achieved by setting an alarm clock for bedtime as well as wake time.
Go to Sleep Without Screens
Even if you aren't tired, get in bed at the time you set. Use the time it takes you to fall asleep to wind down by reading a book, praying, meditation, breathing exercises, or anything you find relaxing. (Pro tip: scrolling through social media isn’t relaxing!)
Relax With a Purpose
Commit to one hour every week for distraction-free leisure. Leisure could mean many things—the point is that it should be something that leaves you feeling somewhat “recharged.” An hour of fishing, playing board games, taking a bubble bath—these are just a few examples. It may seem tough to make the time, but feeling like yourself again is always worth it!
Change can be difficult, and creating lasting change takes time. Pick one category (exercise, nutrition or recovery) and work on it for 2 weeks before you introduce another healthy habit. If you follow these steps, you'll feel the benefits of healthier habits in as little as 6 weeks!
Michael Gallant is the Clinical Programs manager for Carilion Wellness.