How often do you wake up in the morning vowing to be as healthy as possible that day only to get home in the evening feeling as if all your good intentions have gone straight out the window?
Even at that time of day, it’s not too late to do things that will improve your wellbeing. Here are seven things you can do to have a healthy evening.
1. Make a healthy dinner
If you’ve tucked into lots of unhealthy food during the day, make amends by having something delicious and nutritious for dinner. The best way to do that is to have lots of vegetables – aim to cover at least half your plate with veges. Add some good quality protein, like grilled chicken, fish fillets or steak, and slow-releasing carbohydrates such as brown rice or baked potatoes with the skin on. Don’t forget to include a small amount of fat in your meal – this will help to keep you full and stop you wanting to snack before bedtime.
2. Drink plenty of water
If you haven’t had much to drink during the day, you may start to notice the effects in the evening – headaches, for example, can be due to dehydration. Make an effort to drink water, but spread your fluid intake throughout the evening rather than downing one or two large glasses just before bedtime.
3. Skip dessert
Sweet puddings can make a big difference to your calorie intake for the day. They can also send your blood sugar levels soaring, and when they come crashing back down a couple of hours later, you’ll find yourself craving sweet or starchy food just before you’re due to go to bed. This can get you into the bad habit of consuming calories that you don’t need and don’t burn off because you’re asleep.
Your body will thank you if you regularly stretch it. Not only does stretching make you more flexible but it helps muscles repair. An evening yoga class is ideal and sets you up for a great night’s sleep. If you can’t get to one, invest in a DVD that shows you how to stretch properly or develop a sequence of stretches based on clips from YouTube.
5. Do something calming
If you have had a stressful day at work, you need to let tension go and not spend your precious time fretting. Yoga is very calming, as is meditation. Once the dinner rush is over, find a peaceful corner, dim the lights, light a candle, put on some gentle music and sit quietly for 10 minutes, relaxing your body and clearing your mind of distracting thoughts.
It really is true that laughter is the best medicine, thanks to the fact it causes your body to release endorphins, the hormones that make you feel good. If you have had a bad day, a good giggle will help you to get over it. It is not possible to be stressed while you are laughing. Either chat to someone you know will get you chuckling, or watch something funny on TV.
7. Make sleep a priority
A good night’s sleep is crucial to repair your body and refresh it for the next day. A shortage of sleep can lead to high blood pressure, a weakened immune system and an increased chance of putting on weight. Realise the importance of sleep and make sure your bedroom is as comfortable, quiet and dark as possible. Go to bed at a reasonable time and don’t watch TV or use a laptop or tablet in bed for at least an hour before you turn the light out. The bright light from screens can confuse your body clock and make it difficult for you to drop off to sleep.
Image credit: Paul Suesse/ bauersyndication.com.au