Sadly, all good things must come to an end… and that includes summer holidays! As we all head back to work, now’s the perfect time to get yourself into the right headspace and start a healthy routine. While routines sometimes get a bad rap, they actually have many benefits, both for your body and mind.
Whether it’s making time for a weekly workout session in the gym or simply taking a few minutes to switch off from the world and meditate, it’s important to have some sort of regular rhythm to your life. Here are four reasons why routines are good for you.
You’ll sleep better
When we’re on holidays, we tend to slip into bad habits of staying out late having drinks with friends, lounging around in bed until noon and just generally getting irregular sleep. Now that you’re back at work however, it’s time to dust off the old alarm clock and set yourself a regular sleeping pattern. The average adult should get between 7-9 hours of good quality sleep a night in order for your body to regenerate. A good night’s sleep has been proven to heighten concentration levels, increase energy and improve memory function. To help you get in sync with your natural sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, it’s important to go to bed and get up at roughly the same time every day, including weekends. Avoid sleeping during the day, and if you do happen to nod off, keep your naps to 15-20 minutes during the afternoon. Find it hard to get to sleep at night? Limit drinking caffeine and sugar, don’t exercise before bed and eat lighter meals for dinner.
You’ll eat better
You probably gave yourself a free pass when it came to holiday eating but it’s time to start paying attention to what you’re putting in your mouth. Establishing a balanced diet with the correct portions of protein, carbohydrates, vegetables and good fats is extremely important when it comes to weight management and general health. Eat three meals a day at regular intervals (and regular times) and avoid snacking in between. Make sure you’re drinking enough water as well – experts recommend around two litres of water a day. Cut out sugary drinks and limit your alcohol intake. Once your body gets used to your new healthy eating routine, you’ll be more focused, your skin will glow and you’ll find you have much more energy.
You’ll be fitter
Incorporating any sort of exercise into your daily life has endless benefits. Whether it’s simply taking the stairs instead of the lift, or heading home via the gym for a quick workout, getting your body moving and your heart pumping is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Regular exercise lowers your risk for a variety of diseases, alleviates stress, increases your happiness and can even help you live longer. Try to set aside 30 minutes a day for some regular exercise – go for a jog in the morning, drop in for a lunchtime fitness class or catch up with friends during an evening yoga class.**
You’ll think clearer
It’s not just your physical body that benefits from routines – it’s equally important to focus on your mind too. Regularly practicing things like meditation can also help you de-stress, increase your brain function and reduce the effects of ageing. Too busy to meditate? Not true – even just taking 10 minutes before going to sleep to thoughtfully process your day will help you in the long run. So log out of Facebook, put down your phone and simply let yourself live in the moment, without any modern-day distractions!