‘To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear’
Recently I have fallen completely out of my normal routine. I have had a period of not being very well, therefore taking a break from my usual daily pattern, and now I am finally back to my usual health, I have found it very challenging to get back into my old routine.
I’ve had a lot going on in my life and I felt that things had started to get on top of me. I started to feel a bit down, which is very unlike me. I was drinking too much alcohol, not exercising, eating less healthily, not getting up as early as I used to and generally not feeling as positive as usual.
I find that all these things are completely linked. If you drink too much alcohol, you don’t sleep as well, then you lie in bed longer in the morning, this means you don’t feel like exercising, then you are more likely to eat unhealthily and everything starts to spiral downwards.
I have found that by implementing 2 small changes, it has had a massive positive impact on me:
- Cutting out alcohol
Quitting the booze
After one too many nights out that I did not enjoy as much as I usually do, and one too many mornings where I woke up with a hangover, I decided to have some time off drinking alcohol. I had a month off drinking in January and it made me feel amazing, so I decided it was time to try it again for a while.
The impact it has had is so immediate and amazing, it is quite easy to continue with. It’s not like I was drinking out of control before, but lately I have noticed that even 2 drinks of an evening interrupts my sleep and makes me feel groggy the next day. Since I decided to stop I have had several nights out where I have just drunk water. I have enjoyed the evening, socialised with friends, got to bed early, had a great nights sleep and I have woken up feeling great.
I found that after a boozy night out, I would wake up with a hangover feeling pretty miserable, whereas on the other hand, after a night out with friends, not drinking any alcohol, I wake up feeling fresh as a daisy and ready to tackle the day ahead.
The relaxed feeling you often get when you have that first drink is due to the chemical changes alcohol causes in your brain. Often a drink can help us feel more confident and less anxious because it’s starting to depress the part of the brain we associate with inhibition. As you drink more, more of the brain starts to be affected and it doesn’t matter what mood you’re in to start with, when high levels of alcohol are involved, instead of pleasurable effects increasing, it’s possible that a negative emotional response will take over. The impact of the hangover, even a mild one, can make us feel miserable.
Following my decision to stop drinking alcohol for a while, I decided to get back into exercising. I’ve always had a pretty regular exercise routine, but I find that when something happens (in this case not being well) that disrupts my routine, it can be hard to get back into it, so I was very out of practice.
Now I was not drinking any alcohol, I was getting better sleep and was waking up earlier again, I started to feel like doing some exercise in the morning. I started off slowly and did a few kilometers of jogging, then built it up a bit and added in some Joe Wicks HIIT sessions in the park. What better way to start the morning than waking up with the lovely Joe Wicks! The feeling I got that first morning when I went for a run was incredible. I remembered why I loved exercising. Adrenaline was pumping through my body and I felt healthy and positive.
Why these 2 habits can transform your routine:
Both habits brought about an immediate positive impact. It’s not something that takes ages for you to feel an effect, you feel better straight away. It is great to get immediate results when trying to build a routine as it reinforces their effectiveness.
By implementing both these changes, it should have a positive impact on your sleep. Sleep is such a hugely important element of your routine. The better quality sleep you get, the more alert you feel the next day, and the more likely you are to keep to your desired habits.
Drinking less, or no alcohol coupled with incorporating exercise into your routine can positively impact your mood.
Alcohol is a depressant, which means it can disrupt our balance, affecting our thoughts, feelings and actions. While it can have a very temporary positive impact on our mood, in the long term it can cause big problems for our mental health. Cutting out alcohol can prevent the negative feeling associated with hangover you get the following day.
Exercise releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel great.
Encourage other changes
Implementing both these habits can cause a positive chain reaction. No alcohol equals better sleep, which in turn leads to a more effective morning routine, which allows you to exercise, which brightens your mood, which encourages you to eat more healthily, which in turn makes you feel more positive in general.
If you are stuck in a rut and not feeling your best, try making these changes and see if they have any impact on you. I’d love for you to share what elements make the biggest difference in your daily routine.