5 Healthy Habits to Bring into the New Year
By Lisa Payne, CPT
As the year comes to an end, we often wonder two things: Where did the year go? And how am I going to get into better shape next year?
New Years’ Day should be a day to enjoy. Instead, we often start the year off with lofty expectations. New Years’ resolutions seem more like end-of-year business reviews than setting positive motivational goals. Instead, start committing to getting better connected to your health day-to-day, week-by-week and then eventually, these new practices will become lifelong habits.
Integrate these 5 healthy habits into the coming year:
1. Get an Annual Physical
Even if you haven’t had a cold in years, you still need to make time for an annual physical. Preventative care takes initiative but it’s always worth the effort. Your physician is there to help you manage your individual health with supportive physical and mental health recommendations. And as we age, we need specific exams and screenings like a colonoscopy and mammogram. Your doc has your back so that you can continually live your best life. All you need to do is make the appointment!
2. Practice Self-care
Self-care means more than getting a massage here and there. It includes things that support your physical, mental, social and spiritual health. Meditation, yoga, social gatherings, acupuncture, therapy, aromatherapy, vacations, eating well and regular exercise are all forms of self-care. Something as simple as dabbing essential oils on your neck and wrists can be calming and help your immune system. When you take care of your wellbeing, you are making a choice to be an active participant in your health.
3. Strength Train
Cardiovascular training and daily activities are important. But if you’re not already lifting weights, this is your year to start. Muscle helps support your metabolism, postural alignment, immune health and bone health. Every year after the age of 35 we lose 1-3% of muscle. That’s why it’s important to incorporate 2-3 strength workouts every week.
4. Power Down
Ever had that moment where you’re furiously looking for your phone while you’re on your phone? It’s time to let go. According to a 2017 Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey, more than 80% of smartphone owners check their phone within an hour of getting up or going to bed, with 35% doing so within 5 minutes1.
When you’re preoccupied with your cell phone, you aren’t staying present in or mindful to the world around you. Not powering down can cause sleep disturbances, high blood pressure and an increase in stress. If you’re having a hard time putting the technology down, consult your physician. They can recommend better stress management tools, or natural sleep aids like magnesium or melatonin if deemed appropriate.
5. Have Snacks Handy
When your blood sugar drops, your energy and metabolism waver. You’re healthier and more productive throughout the day when you stay both hydrated and satiated. Never be left empty-handed in between meals. Keep snacks like fruit, protein bars, nuts and seeds or even a jar of nut butter and a spoon in your purse, office drawer, gym bag or in your car. When you’re prepared, you’re less likely to hit the vending machine or to overindulge at dinner.
When exercise, healthy meal planning and regular doctor visits hold permanent places in your calendar, you won’t need to create a high-pressure New Years’ resolution. Carry a more positive attitude into this New Year so every day is healthier than the last!
- Richter, Felix. “Infographic: America's Smartphone Addiction.” Statista Infographics, 20 June 2018, www.statista.com/chart/12403/smartphone-addiction/.