“Winter is here and you can hear your internal monologue creating excuses already! It’s too cold, it’s too dark, I’ll wait until spring, it’s raining… and the list goes on. The good news is you have as many hours in the day as Beyonce and the best piece of machinery that money can’t buy, your own body. So here’s 10 Bodyism tips to help you stay mentally healthy over winter” says Simon Mitchell.
1. Practice Deep breathing
This will help you de-stress as it can aid the body in switching from sympathetic nervous system control to parasympathetic mode. This will allow for a much more harmonious state for general well-being, positivity and balance. One of the first steps in reducing stress and anxiety is to give yourself the gift of breathing deeply.
Lie down and get comfortable. Place your hands on your tummy and aim to use diaphragmatic breathing during this exercise. Breathe deeply through your nose, do not rush to exhale and release the breath slowly through the mouth, use this space to clear your thoughts and then inhale again through your mouth. Set some time aside at least 3 times a week and you’ll see the amazing difference to your mental health.
Bodyism founder James Duigan states sleep as one of the most important pillars of health. A top tip Bodyism offers their clients is that every hour of sleep had before midnight is the equivalent of two hours sleep after midnight. Creating an optimal sleeping pattern is a sure fire way to combat stress hormones dumping fat on the stomach. The best option is to get into bed by 10pm for a 6am wake up and an optimal 8 hours of sleep.
Vitamin C is the much beloved immunity booster for many in winter but zinc is just asessential ! It’s used in a variety of ways by the body but most importantly during winter it’s used to make infection fighting white blood cells. Oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food, but red meat and poultry provide the majority of zinc in the common diet. Other sources include beans, nuts, certain types of seafood (such as crab and lobster) and whole grains.
4. It’s cold outside, go and find a yoga studio
Winter is the perfect time to change up your routine and focus on something different. Stress relief, Inner peace, living with greater awareness, increased energy and Better flexibility & posture are just a few of the benefits of yoga. It also gives you an excuse to buy some killer new workout gear like a pair of Bodyism’s ‘I Am Fearless’ leggings.
5. Gratitude list
Before you roll your eyes and tell us to hug a tree and whisper things to the universe, give us a chance to explain why a gratitude list works, says Simon. The success you have in life ultimately comes down to your attitude.
So starting the day with a list of things you are grateful for will not only help you creep towards your goals on a subconscious level but it will kick start your day on a positive note. That’s much more powerful than any dose of caffeine.
6. Foam rolling
As research and development has grown in this area of fitness so has the popularity and importance of including foam rolling into your daily exercise routine to release muscle tension. Once a secret of the professional sporting world, foam rolling helps muscles return to a normal functioning level via self-myofascial release, in other words, muscle massage.
We recommend ‘The Grid’ foam roller from TP Therapy and if we can offer any trade secrets it would be to less rolling and more holding. Find a tension point and rather than rolling backwards and forwards over it, hold that position for at least a minute and move on to another trigger point.
7. 10 sets of 10
If you’ve missed a workout or don’t have time to get one in for the day pick one exercise and do 10 sets of 10. For example, body weight squats. Do 10 sets with 1 minute rest in between. It will take less than 14 minutes and you’ll know that you’ll be reaping the benefits.
8. Brain food
Blueberries and salmon are two of Bodyism’s favourite brain foods to have this winter. They’ll help you feel great and mentally sharper at work.
Blueberries are packed full of antioxidants, let’s even go as far as calling them the Katy Perry of the fruit world. They’re a complete superstar! Studies have shown that blueberry consumption can improve cognitive function in the brain.
Salmon –. Deep water fish like salmon contain omega 3 essential fatty acids, which are important for a healthy functioning brain. Omega 3’s also have anti-inflammatory
properties which can aid joint function. If you can’t have 2-3 servings of this a week make sure to take 2-4 omega 3 tablets every day, adds Simon
9. Raw cacao
Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans, the process keeps the living enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat (cacao butter).
One of the Bodyism team’s favourite things about raw cacao is that it guards against toxins: As an antioxidant cacao can repair the damage caused by free radicals, It even has more antioxidants per 100g than acai and goji berries. It’s also high in resveratrol, a strong antioxidant known for its ability to cross your blood-brain barrier to help protect your nervous system! One of the other many benefits of Raw Cacao is that it helps reduce insulin resistance.
How to raw cacao? Mix a couple of teaspoons with boiling water and top off with warm almond milk. Add a drop of honey to taste.
10. Interval training
This winter wrap your head around interval training. Here’s why.
- It’s time efficient
- Induces EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) meaning your body will speed up its metabolism to burn more calories while you rest!!
- It’s more fun that running your brains out on a treadmill for an hour
- You can use your bodyweight to increase intensity. No expensive machines necessary.
- Interval or HIIT workouts increase production of human growth hormone. Which has anti-ageing properties. See here for a great body weight interval workout!