In January food, drink and exercise comes up a lot. Diets, Dry January, Veganuary, Running Off Christmas – it has been inescapable.
It’s exacerbated further still by the fact that, aside from work, during lockdown we’ve all been doing less and, inevitably, eating more, so you may find yourself feeling like you’re not quite looking your best.
Instead of planning a crazily-intense diet and fitness regime that will make you feel worse when you can’t keep up, why not banish these negative feelings by taking stock and looking at why you’re thinking this way in the first place?
Firstly, exercise is fantastic and can help with your mental as well as physical health, but ignore the pressure to exercise if you don’t want to. As an early years practitioner, you’re run off your feet most of the time anyway and deserve to come home and put your feet up. By all means move more if you want to, but don’t beat yourself up if, after taking care of children buzzing with energy, you just need a wind-down in front of the telly and an early night.
Secondly, food is fuel. The last thing you need is to start January running on empty because all you’ve eaten is a handful of blueberries and a dry Ryvita. We have all changed, physically and mentally, during 2020 so try to look on weight changes as part of the effect the pandemic has had on all of us, rather than a personal failure. A healthy habit would be to add more vegetables to your meals, or switch white bread and pasta to wholemeal options for those complex carbs, but don’t leave yourself hungry to try and shed the pounds.
Cutting down on meals can work for people, but if you’re forcing yourself to eat less and are left with low blood sugar and little energy, it’s not just your productivity that will be affected; we’ve all been hangry, but low blood sugar can also make us more irritable and less rational. In an Early Years setting patience and positivity are essential, so don’t force yourself to try and deal with a tantrum-ing toddler on an empty stomach. If you’re hungry, eat.
And if TNL hasn’t convinced you that you shouldn’t feel guilty about fuelling your body for a long day of childcare, maybe this brilliant response from Dolly Alderton will help!