The New Year is a time for a fresh start and the perfect opportunity to finally kick those habits, the junk food and the unhealthy lifestyle. It’s the ideal time for you to start looking after yourself, not just by going to the gym in order to lose weight but to improve your physical and emotional well-being.
A new year signifies change. Some look at it as a chance to start afresh and to forget about the negative things that happened in the previous twelve months, personally as well as professionally.
Others will look to kick the bad habits they developed the previous year, such as snacking between meals or hitting the snooze button instead of going to the gym.
We might only be a few weeks into the year, but 2016 is already being seen as “the year of mindfulness”, with plenty of people focusing on not just looking good, but feeling good too. Health and well-being are primary focuses for many, with smoking among one of the main targets for change.
If you find yourself struggling for motivation or if you don’t know where to start, it’s important to remember that you’re not the only one. There will be hundreds, even thousands, of others in exactly the same position, but here are some ideas that will help you to improve your physical and emotional health and wellbeing for a positive 2016 all-round.
New Year’s resolutions to quit smoking are common across the UK – and the wider world – but it has been proven that only between 4 and 7 per cent of those in the UK who aim to kick the habit actually do so for good without the need for medical assistance.
Cutting down on the amount of alcohol consumed is also a popular resolution for 2016. The official Dry January campaign, which sees thousands of participants, challenges people to cut out alcohol for 31 days. Not only do they get that warm fuzzy feeling from giving money to charity (Alcohol Concern) they also benefit from weight loss, improved sleep, inceased energy levels and clearer skin. With so many benefits there's a strng argument for extending dry January into February... reduced alcohol intake may even become a healthy habit!
Alcohol and smoking are both known to contribute to weight gain, and while quitting smoking and cutting down on the pints and glasses of wine will help you to lose the unwanted body weight, it needs to be done as part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle. But it’s not just about the body – it’s also about being comfortable in your own skin.
A lot has been made of the way people look in the past few years, with plenty of media coverage of ‘body shaming’, but studies have shown that being comfortable in yourself is much more likely to lead to a healthier state of mind.
In recent years we have seen ‘older’ celebrities who look just as great as younger celebs, with the likes of Dame Helen Mirren,Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda looking just as glamorous on the red carpet as the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Taylor Swift.
A recent article in the Daily Express even went as far as predicting that 70 will be the new 50 in 2016, as more women – and men – in their 60s and 70s are having Cosmetic Surgery and Anti-Ageing treatments to maintain a more youthful appearance.
Being comfortable in your own skin with the way you look and feel will undoubtedly help to reduce the amount of stress and anxiety, and in turn it can have positive effects on the way you look to others. For instance, reduced stress can lead to much healthier looking skin, especially among those who suffer with eczema; and cleaner, healthier skin will in turn lead to a more positive outlook.
So what can you do in order to help your skin specifically? In relation to quitting your smoking habit, avoiding smoking areas will also be beneficial. You won’t be breathing in second-hand smoke and your skin will be surrounded by cleaner, fresher air. Similarly, opening a window – even if it is chilly during the winter months – will allow fresh air into your home or workplace so that you are not restricted to the kind of dry air that takes the moisture out of your skin causing irritation.
Making small, but significant, changes to your diet will also help you to achieve the complexion that you’re looking for. Fatty foods and sugary snacks, such as chocolate, are a common cause of greasy skin and spots and as tasty as they might be – especially in the evening or as an afternoon snack at work to get you through the day – they are the types of foods that you need to try and cut down on.
As with alcohol, you don’t have to necessarily cut these foods from your diet altogether, but it’s more important to moderate your intake. Snacks such as chocolate are seen as treats, and that’s exactly what they can be in your diet. If you’ve been good for several days, swapping chocolate for fruit or cutting down on your snacking completely, then you could reward yourself with a bar.
So what do you do if and when you achieve the skin you’re going for? Well, the first thing you can do is to cleanse, tone and moisturise on a daily basis. The majority of women do this regularly already, and there is nothing to be embarrassed about from a male perspective either. In fact, more men than ever before are buying skincare products to keep their skin hydrated and looking at its best.
You should also try to drink plenty of water to flush out the toxins. If you’re the kind of person who drinks mug after mug of tea or coffee throughout the day, swap the caffeine for water and you and your skin will feel the benefits. It’s so simple and good for you – and if you’re going to the tap to fill up the kettle anyway, it’s not even like you’re going out of your way to achieve it!
Finally, throughout the summer, you should apply sun protection on a daily basis to protect your skin from potentially damaging UV rays from the sun. Yes, even in the United Kingdom it is possible to burn and damage your skin on the rare occasions that the sun does come out.
Don’t forget, just because we’re a few weeks into 2016 now doesn’t mean that you can’t start on your New Year’s plans to look and feel better about yourself. Make those positive changes and you’ll reap the rewards physically and emotionally.
What changes have you made for the New Year, and what are you thinking about changing in order to feel better in your skin in 2016? We would love to hear your plans, so let us know on Facebook or Twitter.