2021, A New Beginning For Health and Wellbeing
23 December 2020
If 2020 has taught us anything, there’s nothing more important than a healthy lifestyle.
While many of us are looking to pharmaceutical science to get us out of the mess Coronavirus has left the country in, a more proactive approach to our health and wellbeing should also be top of our priorities for the coming new year.
If 2021 isn’t the year to take care of ourselves, eat healthily and exercise more, then when is? Boosting our immune system should be first on our resolutions list.
The ever-present shadow
Even for the most healthy, the stress and strain of 2020 can’t be underestimated. Whether you’ve lived the year constantly checking the news or switched off from the fear-mongering, the perennial bombardment of bad news and perpetual change have taken their toll.
Numerous studies show that high level exposure to stress and anxiety can negatively affect physical health. More recently, Pennsylvania State University in State College researchers found that negative moods may change the way the immune response functions, and they are associated with an increased risk of inflammation.
Inflammation in the body occurs naturally in response to a wound or infection, but high levels can lead to a range of chronic conditions and arthritis. Not to mention, feelings of distress can raise the risk of cardiovascular events, such as a heart attack or stroke.
When we are stressed and anxious, we often comfort eat and drink to try and calm the cortisol (stress hormone) in our system. It’s not the best response and merely satisfies short term cravings, as a result of the increased cortisol, without addressing the underlying stress.
With gyms and swimming pools open then shut, open then shut; we’ve been at home, spending more time in the kitchen, indulging not exercising. The effects of living under Coronavirus anxiety has exacerbated some of our worst habits.
But after a difficult 2020, coming together with those we love (however small a socially-distanced gathering) will give a much-needed boost to our mental health. Also knowing a vaccine is on its way, will help us enter 2021 with less anxiety and the confidence that if we take more healthy lifestyle choices, we’ll be on a better, more resilient road.
Resolutions aren’t just for January
Most of us will have broken New Year resolutions once in our lives, at least. We promise we’ll eat better or exercise more but really only with a month of abstinence or focus in mind.
We set ourselves up for failure by aiming to go all out for one month, instead of starting the year more slowly, with some small changes to our lifestyles that are manageable and achievable.
If we succeed with small changes, we’ll feel the warm glow of success and will be more likely to maintain momentum to move into more wholesale lifestyle amends. For example, just replacing one unhealthy snack each day with a healthy one is easier than a complete change of diet. The next step is to replace another unhealthy food with a healthy one and so on. Small steps lead to a bigger changes.
Relax and meditate
As well as exercise and diet, which can boost our immune system and reduce stress; rest, relaxation, mindfulness or meditation are equally important.
When your body goes without sleep, it goes into a state of stress. The body is put on high alert, causing high blood pressure and stress hormone production. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack or strokes, and stress hormones make it harder to fall asleep. A vicious cycle.
As well as helping combat stress, research has shown the benefits of good sleep are numerous including, keeping your heart healthy, reducing inflammation (caused by stress), improving memory, reducing depression, making you smarter and helping the body repair itself. We all need to give ourselves the benefits of good sleep.
Mindfulness has been the buzz word of the last five years, but meditation, linked to helping us live in the moment and not worry about the future, or the past, offers many of the benefits of good sleep and more. Stress reduction is one of the main reasons people start mediation. Conscious breathing is known to turn off our internal thoughts' dialogue that leads to anxiety and stress.
An eight-week study, analysing “mindfulness meditation” found the body’s inflammation response caused by stress was reduced. Further research has shown that meditation may also improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and fibromyalgia.
Additionally, meditation promotes emotional health, enhances self-awareness, lengthens attention span, improves memory and may help fight addictions. All things we can benefit from.
A sanctuary of rest and relaxation
While you can enjoy meditation and sleep in the comfort of your own home, Ye Olde Bell has offered a sanctuary of rest and relaxation since the 19th century. It's our business.
With the addition of Spa at Ye Olde Bell, as well as the peaceful comfort we offer for an overnight stay, we have over 10 spa experiences to aid your relaxation and stress relief. In 2021 come and properly relax to detox your stress toxins with our new HaloIR Spa Treatment, Sauna or Steam Room experience. We’d love to see you again and help you start your new road to proactive health and well being.