Sports activity, food, personal development… To start the year on the right foot, draw on the advice of our experts to make new resolutions, but without pressure!
Who says new year, often says the desire for a new beginning, desire to improve and to put in place things that make us feel good. But there is no question of putting pressure on yourself. The solution? Change slowly, but surely, change small parameters in our lifestyle and our way of approaching our days, to obtain benefits for our body and mind in the long term.
Objective N°1: Move more, to gain vitality
What do I gain? The WHO recommends 150 minutes of physical activity per week or about twenty minutes per day. The figures confirm it: we are not moving enough! But don’t panic, physical activity is not just about playing a sport: every daily movement is important to protect us from chronic diseases, boost our energy, keep our body in shape and preserve our mind.
How do I do it? We (re)put movement in our daily lives! Mélanie Michaux, the sports coach, and dietician remind us how easy it is to move more, the air of nothing …
- I optimize my trips: park further by car, get off a stop earlier when you take public transport, favor travel on foot or by bike, prefer stairs to elevators and escalators …
- I build muscle during my journeys: sitting at the wheel, standing in the subway? Work on your abs! Inhale slowly through the nose, grow and lock your perineum,exhale through the mouth maintaining this self-enlargement (feel your perineum activate and your belly tighten).
- I avoid prolonged sitting: make your phone calls while walking, swap your chair for a Swiss ball (a few minutes to a few hours a day), every 2 hours minimum get up, stretch and take a few steps in the room (or even better, outside!), if possible move to your colleagues rather than sending an email.
- I take advantage of the weekend to move more: organize a walk in the fresh air (in a park, in the forest), integrate loved ones to these activities to make the moment more convivial, garden, put on catchy music to perform household chores in rhythm, tidy up by doing movements inspired by the gym such as squats to lower yourself, slots for vacuuming. Finally, brush your teeth and do the dishes by leaning on one foot (and don’t forget to change sides!).
How do I choose my sport?
To enjoy the benefits of physical activity, no secret, regularity is required! Find the way to move that will suit you the most and that will keep you motivated. List what you have already done before, the different sports practices tested, and highlight the ones that you liked, that boosted you. Do you ask yourself what attracts you in terms of activity: rather calm or dynamic? Rather in collective or individual? How often and how long can you devote to it per week?
If despite this point with yourself, you are lost, do not hesitate to be accompanied! Consult your doctor or a physiotherapist if you suffer from contraindications or need appropriate advice. And turn to a sports coach for a few sessions, to put your foot back in the stirrup and start safely.
The coach’s advice: remember that you are an actor of this change, you have the choice in practice, duration, intensity, regularity. This recovery must remain a pleasure to become sustainable.
Objective N°2: To be less stressed on a daily basis, to increase your energy tenfold
What do I gain? The brain is the most consuming organ, and over-soliciting it with latent stress, depletes both mental and physical health. “Negative emotions trigger cortisol secretions, which will have negative consequences in the short and long term,” warns Géraldine Lethenet, yoga teacher, author of 50 exercises to slow down, Éditions Eyrolles,(www.geraldinelethenet.com). The key to this change? “A feeling of dynamism, reactivity on a daily basis, a lightness and a spontaneity found!”, encourages the therapist.
How do I do it? We can observe that stress, the emotions that pass through us, have an effect on our breathing. The idea would be to use the breath to bring the body and mind to a more peaceful state, as proposed by the yoga teacher.
This exercise, to be practiced as soon as one feels the need requires that you breathe through the nose.
- Sit comfortably, sitting or lying down, place one hand on your stomach and the other in the hollow of your chest. To begin with, focus only on the belly. Inflate the belly on inhalation and let it deflate as it exhales. Feel the hand of the belly move, but not that of the heart. To be done 10 times.
- Then, inflate the belly at the beginning of the inhalation, then unfold your rib cage: feel your ribs open to the sides, and the hand of the heart rise. Exhale without control. To be done 10 times.
- Finally, raise the breath very high under the collarbones. If necessary, move the hand from the belly to the base of your neck to feel. So, in the same inhalation, first feel the belly swell, then the rib cage, then the collarbones open to let the breath pass almost under the shoulders. Exhale without thinking. To be done 10 times.
The good advice: pay attention to the games of the mind in moments of stress. Do not stop practicing this exercise until you have regained calm. It may take several minutes, be patient… If a little voice in you, tells you “go ahead, you waste your time, you will never succeed in doing everything, stop, you have files to close”: this is precisely the sign that we must continue to practice it!
Objective N°3: Slow down, to stop exhausting oneself mentally and physically
What do I gain? Exhaustion, nervousness, aggressiveness, difficulty finding meaning in what we do… In short, it may be time to press the “pause” button! To face the “whirlwind of life” in which we can quickly be caught, Géraldine Lethenet advises moving from listening to the Chronos time (the time guided by our watch, the file to return, or the appointment to honor at such and such time), to a time called “kairos”, which she describes as more “natural”, that of the “opportune moment”, specific to each. An awareness that can lead to a more positive state, a way of approaching the days that pass more serenely.
How do I do it? Start, as soon as you can during the day, by taking a moment just for yourself: listen to your needs, your heart. “Take this time to listen more inside and less outside (solicitations, injunctions, which feed your stress, your anxiety …)”, details the yoga teacher.
To help you, several tools exist, you can for example turn to meditation.
This one, proposed by Géraldine Lethenet will only take you 3 minutes and consists of placing yourself at the center of your mental activity and watching what is happening around you like a spectator in the cinema.
- Take a timer. Sit comfortably, sitting on the floor, on a chair, on a sofa, with your back straight in a position that inspires dignity.
- Set your timer to 3 minutes. Close your eyes.
- During the minutes that separate you from the ringing of the timer, observe what is happening in your head, do not judge anything, simply meet. Nothing is good, nothing is bad, nothing is stable…
- At the bell, take a deep breath, stretch and resume the course of your day!
Integrate this fast and beneficial practice as often as possible into your agenda, and you will see, you will not be able to do without it!
Objective N°4: Learn to say no, to gain self-confidence
What do I gain? Do you have trouble saying no to your friend who solicits you non-stop, to your family who forgets that you have a personal life, or to your co-worker who makes you do part of his job? As a result, you quickly find yourself overwhelmed, you ruminate without ever daring to say that it does not suit you, and your mind takes a hit. This year, we learn to say NO!
“Knowing how to say no to someone means being able to defend their resources and set their limits. Sometimes, it’s also making trade-offs that concern others,” explains Sylvie Riondel, coach, specialist in positive psychology, author affirmed-Vous en douceur, Develop your assertiveness to reconcile self-affirmation and respect for others (Éditions Eyrolles).
How do I do it? Self-confidence, and the ability to assert oneself, it is worked. For small everyday interactions, training is key!
To begin with, you can learn typical phrases, which will prevent you from saying “yes”, without even realizing it. For example, “I need to check my agenda before answering you”, or simply, “I see your problem, I will think on my side how to help you”, or “I can not accept, I propose you rather…”.
There are many ways to say “no”: we can partially accept, set conditions, postpone the answer, give explanations, reframe the applicant, propose alternatives, refuse clearly with empathy, or be ultra-firm if the person persists, even if it means playing the scratched disc.
“Every small step counts to gain self-confidence, and succeed in asserting oneself on a daily basis: start with small details,” advises Sylvie Riondel. Then, with more ease, you can finally say “no” with tact, to requests that involve you more, without harming the relationship with your interlocutor.
Objective N°5: Change your diet, to feel better inside and outside
What do I gain? Eating is something we do at least 3 times a day. So many chances to have fun, and take advantage of it to cultivate well-being. “By eating better, qualitatively and quantitatively, we have everything to gain physically and mentally. In the short term, digestion is improved, sleep is more restorative, but it is also seen in the quality of the skin, nails, hair, water retention, and the appearance of cellulite, “says Sarah Marin-Maire, dietician and co-founder of Make me Healthy. In the long term, eating a balanced diet simply helps to stay healthy and prevent the development of many pathologies, whether benign or not.
How do I do it? If a consultation allows you to have personalized advice according to many parameters that are specific to you (metabolism, weight, height …), some good reflexes can however be adopted by the majority of people, explains the dietician. Replace white starchy foods with complete or semi-complete ones for their fiber intake, take advantage of weekly markets to consume fresh organic and seasonal fruits and vegetables, free of pesticides, or improve the quality of the lipids you consume, by varying your oils (olive, rapeseed, nuts, flax, camelina, sesame …) and by consuming oilseeds without added salt or sugar, Like what.
Remember to vary your protein sources: the ideal is to alternate animal proteins (meat, fish, eggs) and vegetable proteins (tofu, tempeh, seitan).
Finally, remember to set up a snack at the end of the day to limit excesses when returning home in the evening: a handful of oilseeds (almond, walnut, hazelnut …) with fresh seasonal fruit.
Not to mention hydration! Drinking at least 1.5L of water per day is essential, to keep the body (and brain!) healthy.
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