With the new year just around the corner, we asked the team what health topics were on their mind while heading into 2024. This isn’t a new years resolutions list, but the things that are personally important to us right now.
We've got book recommendations, diet, habit forming, pelvic floor awareness and the gamification of health…
Chris, Creative Director
A few months ago, my wife and I decided to try a cleaner approach to eating, to improve both our physical and mental health. We both feel the impact that processed food has on our mind and body, so decided to try and cut a lot out. It’s gone quite well so far, but I’ve really struggled to keep it up while at work — because it means no shop bought sandwiches or pre-made/packed food for lunch. With Christmas coming up, the abundance of chocolate is also a problem. We’re not into beating ourselves up about being imperfect because that's a different form of 'unhealthy', and, well, chocolate! But we're definitely going to have a renewed focus in the new year.
Em, Account Manager
The two biggest things I’m focusing on next year is to drink more water and turning the things that make me feel good into habits. At the start of 2023 I drank a lot of water and really noticed the difference in my skin and hair — and I generally felt a lot better in myself. I find doing things for myself like skin care, going to the gym or a daily walk and eating healthy foods helps me feel good in myself, meaning I’m more confident, more productive and happier.
Personally I’m mostly interested in hormones. Partly because my friends are getting older at the same time as me — starting to go through the perimenopause and the menopause — and, thankfully, because more and more people are talking about female hormones in respect to how they change throughout your life. A one-size/hormone-fits-all approach is nonsense (and only exists because men have run the health system and health education system forever).
There are things like Davina’s book and Rangan’s podcast all covering hormones which is great. And there’s more and more talk around living your life in accordance with your hormones and monthly cycle, and that’s something I’m super interested in doing. I’m not sure how yet because I have the contraceptive coil and so I don’t have a trackable monthly cycle, so I’ve been looking at some apps to help. One book advised me to ‘go off the moon’ but it sounds a little hippy for me… I hope that by gaining more insights into my hormonal fluctuations I can try to live more in accordance with them, e.g. scheduling things around higher energy times of the month, etc.
Nick, Head of Brand Voice
I had to have surgery on my left eye recently and during the pre-op checks it was noted that my blood pressure was too high. This was flagged a few years back, along with warnings about the potential consequences — stroke, heart attack etc. During lockdown, I got back into cycling every day which effectively brought my blood pressure down to acceptable levels. Since then, I've fallen out of the habit and my pressure's gone up. I'm keen to manage this without resorting to medication, and I've seen how regular, moderate exercise can work. So hopefully, it's just a question of getting back in the saddle.
Ruby, Senior Developer
I've found there's not much awareness around the pelvic floor (exercises, potential issues etc.) until you get pregnant. This is an issue if pregnancy isn't on the cards for you as a weak pelvic floor can cause all sorts of problems as you get older, and pregnancy/child birth is not the only thing that can weaken it. I think awareness of potential issues and the exercises you can do to strengthen your pelvic floor should be taught from a young age at school. I also have no idea if it's an issue for men, and I feel like that says a lot. PS. I am not embarrassed to be reminded to do my exercises when I'm making a cuppa!
Jan, Account Director
For me it's about ramping up my exercise again. Over the summer I was doing really well with walking every day, running and going to the gym regularly, but in recent months and particularly since it's got dark and cold I am really struggling to keep in a routine with this, even though I know it's vital for my physical and mental wellbeing. I need to prioritise it and make myself do it even when I don't want to.
Ala, Senior Designer
I’m making efforts to do pilates three times a week and have good motivation to earn my points on Vitality. I’ve been walking a lot less because of the darkness so the pilates is helping me work up to get my freebies — the gamification of health has really worked on me! The other thing that’s on my mind is how to combat the side effects of not getting enough sun, so I’m making mixtures at home with different superfoods to see if anything works.
Liz, Account Director
My personal health focus for next year is my weight. I’ve always fluctuated up and down and have been a ‘yo-yo’ dieter, but this was never an issue as I could lose weight pretty easily once I focused on an end goal e.g. a holiday. Recently however, this has changed and it’s much harder to lose weight. Apparently when you get over a certain age you are advised to eat 500 calories less each day to maintain your current weight. Therefore, if you want to lose weight you have to reduce your calorie intake quite substantially. I don’t want to be ‘Slimmer of the Year’ but I would like to get into my summer clothes comfortably.
What started as a bet between friends to see who could go without beer for the longest time actually turned into me being sober for the whole of this year. It’s been pretty damn eye-opening to say the least, but it’s also helped me to believe I can do more for myself. So, I’m going to double down and go for two years.
Paul, Strategy Director
I started going to a PT a month or so ago. I used to be really fit and strong, training at martial arts and/or the gym at least two to three days a week, but it all went out of the window when we had our first baby about three and a half years ago. I think it's quite common as a new parent to stop prioritising time for yourself for things like that, so you can be there for the baby and your partner every spare minute. When your kids get a little bit older (and you start feeling really unhealthy) though, you start to think differently — like 'maybe I need to get my physical (and mental) health in shape, so that I can continue to be here for them for as long as possible. It's only once a week at the moment, but it feels good to be doing something positive for myself and my health again.
What’s on your health agenda for 2024? Let us know on LinkedIn.