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It’s happened. Those long, warm summer evenings are officially over, and before the excitement of the Christmas festivities set in, we’ve got to survive the change in season which brings (let’s face it) the cold, the wind and the rain.

And at this time of the year, when your summer holiday seems like a distant memory and the bikini is banished to the back of the wardrobe, it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel (quite literally: those short, dark, wintry days are so not ideal). All those positive goals you made on that summer holiday seems unachievable now right? Well, here at Hip and Healthy we say that that now is the best time to seize the day and shake off those post-summer blues like water off a duck’s back! Say goodbye to negativity and live in the moment with these top tips!

 

Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness will give you a greater sense of presence, gratitude, appreciation and love. These are imperative for a healthy mind and body, which will result in boosted energy and concentration levels, ambition and drive. Not only will your relationships improve, but you will be successfully relieved of stress, anxiety, depression and addictive behaviours, all of which stop us from functioning at our optimum health and happiness. What’s more, mindfulness can even have a positive effect on blood pressure, hypertention, migraines, heart disease and many more stress-related impediments, by restoring your sense of perspective, rationale and by calming your mental activity when overwhelmed.

Our suggestion? Take a mindful meditation class outside to connect with nature. Take a deep breath of new, fresh air and exhale all thoughts of negativity. What can you hear, see, smell, feel? Life is precious, so live each day as if it is your last. If the sun decides to shine – even better! This will boost your vitamin D levels that have proven to counter mood disorders, PMS, seasonal affective disorder, non-specific mood disorder and major depressive disorder! Remind yourself that you are safe, vibrant, healthy and loved. All is well in your world – now go and start living it.

 

Nutrition
There is nothing more irritating than slow movement and dysfunction in your gastrointestinal tract (pardon the pun; we couldn’t resist!). Do you feel lethargic and uncomfortable on a regular basis? Then you may need to rebalance your blood sugar levels by skipping the refined sugar and flour – both of which love to make you feel as sluggish as your bowels.

But it is not only eating the wrong foods that messes with your insides. For extreme hunger from dieting or constipation also distresses your digestive system due to lack of nutrients, water and fibre. The result? Extreme mood swings, impatience, illness and stress levels hitting the roof.

Fear not! The answer lies in your nutrition. If you consume a diet that nourishes your body to counter infection, disease, inflammation and you stick to foods that encourage those lovely feel-good hormones such as serotonin, your ability and desire to carpe diem will be greater than ever. So, cut the CRAP: Caffeine, Refined sugar, Alcohol and Preservatives. All of which mess with your natural system and subsequently make you feel less than your best. Watch out for high glycemic foods such as white bread, potatoes, pastas and glutinous grains which push your blood sugar levels off kilter and try sweet potato as an alternative. A fab, slow-releasing carbohydrate, packed with vitamin c, this super-sweet spud will help maintain energy levels from dusk till dawn.

 

TLC
In our busy and hectic lifestyles we find it hard to balance work, family and friends, let alone finding a moment for yourself. But don’t underestimate the importance of a little self-loving.

As self-indulgent as it might sound, we need to cut ourselves some slack for the sake of our sanity. If you are used to putting others first it’s hard to prioritise yourself because of one nasty feeling – guilt. But what we all need to realise, is that guilt is a pointless emotion. Not only does it fill your mind with negativity and self-deprecating criticism, also nothing can be achieved from it. You must believe that ‘me time’ is not a luxury, but a must. If you give yourself a break, you will feel refreshed, revitalised and subsequently happier. If you do not allow yourself ‘me time’ you are putting yourself at risk of feeling resentful, irritable and burnt out. When you focus on an activity just for you, stress levels diminish and you have time to recharge your batteries.

 

Sleep
Have you had enough beauty sleep? We all know the beauty benefits of a restful night of shut-eye, but the advantages of adequate sleep are much more than skin-deep.

Believe it or not, lack of sleep slows down your metabolism – the process that converts what you consume into energy. With a slow metabolism you will not only find your weight difficult to manage, but you will also feel fatigued, burnt out and a lack-lustre for life. A good night’s sleep will change this for the better by improving your concentration levels and enabling you to assess problems with a clear, fresh and logical mind to make better informed decisions. Sleep will allow your creativity to flourish, encourage you to be a selfless, social being and boost your mood. And this is not all, for while you sleep your body is actively recuperating and replenishes cell tissue to ensure your sports performance is at its optimum, your skin is renewed and rejuvenated and your immune system is strengthened to protect you from illness.

So make sure you get more than just 40 winks, for your body needs and deserves it. Don’t let those tired eyes blur your vision, wake up, get up and take the world by storm!

 

Exercise
There is no way you can live life to the fullest by sitting on your bottom 24/7. And with the weather cooling, the days shortening and the skies darkening ominously, that onesie seems a whole lot more appealing that those yoga pants right? Well you might want to change this mindset sooner rather than later. Whilst these nights in can be enjoyed every now and then (especially after a long stressful day at work!), if this becomes a habit, you may be doing yourself more harm than good.

Why? Leading a sedentary life leads to poor circulation, a decrease in fitness and strength, and can lead to depression and low self-esteem. But leading an active lifestyle will counter all of these. Have you ever experienced that sense of euphoria after finishing a rigorous workout? Well that is down to our favourite little friends…those lovely pleasure-providing endorphins! These will make you feel great, look great, boost self-confidence, wellbeing and give an overall sense of empowerment – are these not essential qualities needed to seize the day?

Also, don’t forget that exercise can be fun! It gives you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. It can even help improve your relationships if you take time to go to a class or the gym with family and friends. Why not go dancing with your girlfriends, stretch your physical ability on a group hike or challenge your nerves with a mountain climb? The possibilities are endless, and the only person who has the power to limit the horizon is you.

So live, laugh, and love Hip and Healthies!

words by Olivia Murphy

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