In the first month of a new year, especially one on the heels of a pandemic that is still plaguing the land and, at the same time, complicated by historic social and political strife, you may want to curl up in a ball until it all goes away. The problem is that inactivity, lack of human contact and being exposed to the same sights, sounds and people every day is simply not healthy.
It can all become a deep daily rut from which you cannot seem to escape. Boredom and ennui in huge doses not only lead to lethargy and depression, blunting your mental acuity, but they also have their physical repercussions, capable of transforming an active, reasonably healthy person into a physical wreck.
The key to stopping this slide into ill health is change. It may not be advisable to make too many dramatic changes all at once, but one healthy change can lead to another. Yes, these changes often include diet and exercise, but too much too soon may intimidate you and send you scurrying back to your comfort zone.
Too much time in your comfort zone may bring physical discomfort due to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and all the other health invaders making life miserable for a growing army of aging Americans.
“Life in the comfort zone is easy. You simply follow a routine and you can predict the consequences,” reports Amber Rose Monaco, Founder of Climb Out of the Cubicle, a website that promotes the wonders of change. “Outside of the comfort zone, your assumptions are challenged.”
Benefits of Challenges and Change
In fact, challenging your mind and body is not only good for you, but it can make life a continuing adventure. At the same time, many of the positive changes may become an important part of your life. And yet they have the potential of becoming stagnate if not continually challenged.
How about the following scenario?
- You’re a sedentary person and arise early for a fifteen-minute morning walk that becomes a ritual.
- That walk becomes a daily run in a matter of months.
- You are now a runner encouraged by other runners to try a 10K run.
- The next spring or summer you enthusiastically sign up for runs just about every weekend.
- You train for a marathon and you are now a marathon runner.
Every level from the morning walk up becomes a challenge. You transition from couch potato to marathoner in two, three or four years. Change may be slow, but the inherent challenges within the initial commitment can dramatically change your life.
This same system of challenges may also occur in your nutritional life. Instead of waking up on a January day with most of a whole new year ahead of you and committing to a total diet overhaul, why not cut just one unhealthy habit and taking it from there?
Example: Clear your cupboards and refrigerator of processed food chock full of sodium and sugar and find something more healthful to replace them. It gives you something to research, as far as more healthful food to try, but doesn’t feel like a major sacrifice.
Once you meet that challenge, move on to another. Who knows where the challenges and changes will take you?