Another year, another chance to try something new. According to a recent survey, 2019 is the year that many of us want to take up a new hobby. The study, conducted by www.selkiesswim.com questioned 1,463 Britons to see what they wanted to do differently this year. Four fifths of respondents already have a hobby, and most of these are health and fitness related. But for some of us, this isn’t enough – one in six are planning to start something new. It might not surprise you that running came out on top with 17% of the votes, but just behind it was learning a new skill (14%), singing (13%), wild swimming (9%) and fishing (7%). When asked why, most explained that personal development was the reason. Others also pointed to a boost in confidence and a little stress relief. Plenty of good reasons to spread your wings this year.
These cold, dark days make us want to stay in and cuddle up with our favourite foods. The team over at Mindful Chef, a healthy recipe-box delivered to your door, looked at the typical cravings and how to fight them. First up, the ‘last -minute takeaways’ team – those of us working late and leaving no time to cook. We’ll stop at our favourite local late-night takeaway before almost immediately collapsing into bed, but struggling to sleep until 2am. Secondly, the ‘chocolate’ lot – always in search of a dopamine hit from chocolate, so probably deficient in magnesium. Avocados, whole grains and bananas might do the trick instead. Finally, the ‘comfort foodies’ – those of us surviving on caffeine and crisps during the day, and making up for it with whatever our brains are craving (usually a pasta dish) at night. Focus on self-care, like meditation and exercise, to avoid this.
Banish the brain fog
Tired, drained and pale? You’re not just an adult living in Britain, you might also be iron deficient. The World Health Organisation discovered that 30% of the world’s population are anaemic, mostly because they lack enough iron in their diet. Why do we need this little mineral? Our body needs iron to produce red blood cells that carry oxygen around our body, so if we don’t get enough we might have a ‘foggy’ brain, shortness of breath or palpitations. Those of us with an intestinal disorder like celiac disease will struggle to absorb iron from foods, and women with heavy periods might also become anaemic. The best way to top up our iron stores? A high-potency iron supplement should do the trick, helping us to adult a little better. We can’t promise it’ll fix your non-existent tan though.
The ‘good stuff’
One of the trickiest questions to answer, but one that crops up constantly: are we living our best life? Could we be doing more to live an even better life? The more we watch other people’s lives, the more we worry about our own. A recent study commissioned by Burgen, seeded bread company, found that while 95% of us think making time for the ‘good stuff’ in life is important, one in five spend less than 30 minutes doing things we enjoy. According to the study, our favourites include eating healthy, tasty meals, spending time outdoors and, of course, sleep. Unfortunately these are the things we struggle with the most, thanks to modern day life. TV star Melanie Sykes suggests not saying ‘yes’ to everything, while Harley Street nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert suggests making time to discover new and tasty things in the kitchen. Every little helps!
Why we crave more during our period
If you’re a woman that suffers through painful cramps, unexplained mood swings and uncontrollable breakouts as a result of your period, we have some good news. A recent study has revealed that women actually need 100-300 extra calories each day in the week leading up to their period. It’s no wonder you’ve been craving family-sized slabs of chocolate, your metabolism is running high. The only problem with a faster metabolism? We might struggle to listen to our body, especially when it’s telling us it’s full. Terri-Ann Nunns, founder of the Terri-Ann 123 Diet Plan, says that overeating during the menstrual cycle can actually make us feel worse. To avoid this, she suggests stocking up on healthy alternatives and trying to notice if we’re stressed, bored or actually hungry before we decide to eat.
Waste not, want not
January has been and gone, which means a lot of us have signed up to a gym, bought a new workout wardrobe and started stocking up on anything green and edible. But are we chasing the right goals? There’s a long line of research that says our plans for the ‘perfect’ body are doing us more harm than good. University of South Wales discovered that just 30 minutes a day spent scrolling through ‘fitness inspiration’ Instagram posts can make us unhappy with our body.
As a result, another study revealed most women attempt three diets, costing £485, every year. A lot of this is wasted cash though, with a different study finding that gym memberships are the most wasted monthly subscription, because half of us (50%) don’t use them. So, apart from ditching social media altogether, what are our options? Joining a gym isn’t the only way to exercise, so find what works for you: yoga, running, chasing your kids around the house. Just get moving.
Easier said than done, we know, but now it’s even more important to find ways to avoid stress – especially during the evening. A recent study shows that we are more vulnerable to stress at night, because our body doesn’t make as many hormones for the ‘fight or flight’ response. So how can we stress less? Treat yourself to a light therapy alarm clock, to mimic the sunrise and wake you up naturally. Also, pay attention to signs that you’re burnt out – you might have a depressed mood that won’t shift, or be struggling to concentrate. You can also limit the amount of coffee you have each day, and focus more on your sex life. Yes, sex is a great stress reliever. For added benefit, stock up superfood supplements like Maca Powder, an adaptogen that can increase energy and, most importantly, reduce stress!