The holidays are over, but many of us still feel the effects well into the new year. In fact, even with our inevitable renewed commitments to health and physical fitness each and every January 1st, the entire month of January can sometimes feel like one big hangover. Sluggishness, brain fog, cravings, weight gain. That’s why we’ve put together a foolproof plan to get you feeling fab in just five short days, simply by incorporating one little action item per day.
Day 1: Reset those cravings.
We can all use a little tune-up every now and then – especially after a month or two of regularly indulging on rich and/or sugary foods. The science is conclusive: sugar is highly addictive, stimulating the brain in the same way that cocaine does. If you’re feeling more foggy and lethargic than usual, a detox is crucial to rid your body of toxins and reset your cravings to steer you back toward nutrient-rich whole foods. A juice cleanse (we’re partial to our Nekter Juice Cleanse, obviously) is the fastest, most efficient way to get a super-dose of vitamins and minerals flowing through your body. Food should be kept to a minimum, and limited to raw fruits, veggies and nuts during your juice cleanse. Make sure you drink lots of water and avoid added sugars entirely. When it’s all said and done, you’ll notice higher energy, less bloat and decreased junk-food cravings.
Day 2: Find your ideal workout.
When you love your workout, you’re much more likely to do it. Start your day with a smoothie to ease yourself off your detox and fuel your morning, then task yourself with finding your Mr. Right of workouts. Are you a yoga person or a cardio person? The Daily Burn offers a free 30-day trial to try out all their different workouts, ranging from yoga and pilates to MMA and dance-based cardio – and you can do it all with minimal equipment, from the comfort of your own home. A good workout not only lowers stress and boosts your energy, it releases feel-good chemical dopamine into your brain, which is why you always leave spin class with that happy glow.
Day 3: Give yourself a mini massage.
Getting back into a workout routine can be tough on your body. Soreness is a virtual certainty, which means stretching and massaging those taxed muscles is a must. Our picks to get the job done from home: invest in a foam roller to work through adhesions and get the blood flowing to those sore muscles to speed up recovery. An acupressure massage mat ups the ante by increasing circulation and releasing oxytocin and endorphins, easing tension and inducing deep relaxation while ridding the body of toxins.
Day 4: Have a little face time with a friend.
Studies have shown that people with stronger social connections and personal relationships not only get sick less, enjoy more restful sleep and stay sharper, they’re actually 50% more likely to live longer. In fact, there’s even scientific proof backing up the efficacy of that post-breakup girls’ night. One study showed that the stress hormone cortisol is lower when you’re with your pals during times of trouble. So odds are, if you’re still feeling bummed about a few extra pounds (or a much lighter wallet) after a month of holiday revelry, an afternoon of catching up with your BFF will leave you feeling like a million bucks.
Day 5: Pull the plug on procrastination.
Whether it’s a dentist appointment you’ve been putting off, or a savings account you’ve been meaning to start, make the commitment and get it done. Procrastinating can be especially tempting over the holidays when life is particularly hectic. You tell yourself you’ll get it done when things calm down in the new year. The reality: unless you set a deadline for yourself, chances are you’ll keep putting it off. Set your goal, break it up into smaller increments and chip away at it one step at a time, with deadlines attached. Make that call to set up your dental appointment. Visit your bank and enroll in a Keep the Change program to start building up those savings effortlessly. There’s nothing like the rush you get from accomplishing something you’ve long put off.
What feel-good tricks do you have up your sleeve? Share in the comments!