7 Tips To Start The New Year Refreshed

by Michelle on January 2, 2011 · 7 comments

in How To/Tutorial

Need some motivation to get fit and healthy in the new year? Not sure where to start? Here are my top 7 tips to help get you feeling refreshed in the new year.

1- Relax

Relaxation is so important to our health and well-being. So much so, that if we spend most of out time stressed it can actually impair our digestion and immune system, among other things. If you can, try to spend at least 5 minutes a day taking deep breaths and watch your stress levels. Other ways to relax- drink herbal teas, spend time with loved ones- do whatever makes you feel relaxed.

A great way to promote relaxation is through meditation. Here is a great guide to meditation by Stephan Guyenet from Whole Health Source.

2- Eat Fermented foods

Making Sauerkraut for New Year's

The health of our gut flora, the microscopic beneficial bacteria within our gut, really does play a big role in our health. Unfortunately many of us aren’t really looking after our gut as we perhaps should, especially during the festive seasons and so this can impact the quality of the gut flora and thus affect our health. But don’t despair, because there are ways to improve the health of our gut flora!

We can: Eat fermented foods! This can help to directly repopulate our gut with the good bacteria our body needs. A good way to think of the microflora, is as a pet. You need to feed your pet a good diet and treat it well for it to be healthy and our microflora are no different. It needs nourishment and the right kind of environment.

Great fermented foods: yoghurt with live active cultures (without artificial anythings or preservatives), sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles (naturally fermented without vinegar), milk kefir, water kefir and kombucha.

Other good food for our microflora: Fibre (helps the good bugs to produce short chain fatty acids  (SCFA) which helps to feed our gut), water, coconut oil.

Bad food for our microflora: alcohol, refined carbohydrates and sugar, antibiotics, the contraceptive pill.

For more information on the importance on fermented foods (plus a recipe) here is a guest post by Helen Padarin all about fermented foods.

3- Biophilia

Cuba Gallery: Butterfly / color / nature / macro / photography

Spending time in nature can be wonderfully relaxing and regenerative. Man’s bond with nature is called Biophilia. Whether we like it or not we do have a connection to the earth and cannot live without it. For example, biochemically we need darkness and light which help set our awake and sleep times, we get vitamin D from sunlight and of course air, food and water, which our body needs, all come from nature. Many feel spiritually connected to the earth as well and find being in nature very relaxing. It’s also great to get fresh air and be in wide open spaces to help us ‘regenerate our batteries’. So go for walks in parks, bushland, the beach or anywhere in nature which makes you feel refreshed and happy.

4- Exercise

Move it baby! We all need to exercise, but it can seem daunting if you haven’t exercised in a while or if you’ve gotten out of the habit. If you can do a little bit of exercise every day it can really help us to feel great and get us into healthier life patterns. And remember you don’t need to be in a gym to get a workout- try various ways to exercise including swimming, tennis, dancing, yoga, walking with pets and rock climbing. Make it fun, do what YOU like and you’ll be more likely to keep it up and to keep moving.

5- Laugh

Who doesn’t love to laugh? Life is all about balance and we all could do with a bit more laughter. Spend time with friends and family who make you laugh and you’ll feel instantly happier and refreshed in no time!

6- Sunbathe

Cuba Gallery: Summer / landscape / sunset / light / rainforest / tropical / palm tree / sun light

During work and school it can be hard to find time to get outdoors, sit in the sun and absorb some vitamin D. For many of us, we’re lucky if we get outdoors during most of the year because of school and work commitments. So take advantage of our (mostly) warm summer season and spend some time in the sun to receive the much needed fat-soluble vitamin D, which many of us are deficient in.
Of course there are good and bad times to get sunlight. The Cancer Council recommends:
  • In Summer- a few minutes of exposure to sunlight on your face, arms and hands or the equivalent area of skin on either side of the peak UV periods (10am to 3pm) on most days of the week.
  • In Winter- (in the southern parts of Australia) People may need about two to three hours of sunlight to the face, arms and hands, or equivalent area of skin, spread over a week to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.
  • In Winter- (In northern parts of Australia) People will continue to maintain adequate vitamin D levels going about their day-to get adequate vitamin D levels.

7- Drink up

It’s easily to get dehydrated in our summer heat which is why it’s pretty important to watch our water intake.

Find water boring? Make it tasty! Naturally flavour your water by adding in some herbs such as mint, basil, lemon-balm or thyme or add fruit such as lime, lemon, orange, raspberries or strawberries to give it a burst of fresh flavour (and added nutrition).
– – –
I hope these tips give you a bit of inspiration to have a great new year! If you have any tips you would like to share on beginning the new year refreshed, I would love to hear them, so please comment below!


Health Food Lover is Michelle Robson-Garth. Michelle is a degree-qualified Naturopath (BHSc) and Massage Therapist. She is also a passionate writer, recipe-creator and all-round foodie from Melbourne, Australia. © Copyright: 2009-2012 Michelle Robson-Garth. Please ask permission first when using any text or images on healthfoodlover.com. Read the disclaimer here. Have a look at the recipe index for more health food lovin’ recipes. Join the Facebook page & follow Health Food Lover on twitter.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

St. Pete January 4, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Great tips, especially about drinking water!


peggy January 5, 2011 at 2:46 am

I like your suggestion about flavoring the water.I do drink a lot of water and this is one way of adding a little flavor to it. Interesting post.


menopauze symptomen January 6, 2011 at 9:50 am

Great tips the best one is the laughing one as you said Life is all about balance and we all could do with a bit more laughter.


alex at a moderate life January 15, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Hi ‘Chelle! Stopped by for Health Food Friday, but I guess you are a busy bee! I checked out this article and I would love it if you would consider doing a baby steps guest post or two for me on Wednesdays and link to this great article? Email me if you are interested. These tips are awesome! Hope all is well! Love ya! Alex


David Bower January 19, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Hi Michelle,
Nice post, right now fermented foods are some what new to me. Where’s a good place for a beginner to get started at.


Michelle January 20, 2011 at 11:14 am

Hi David. Yoghurt, milk kefir or sauerkraut can be great places to start :)


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