With all the stress and uncertainty we’ve endured the past couple of years, it’s time to refocus our attention on improving our health and well-being.
It’s that time of year again, where we reflect on the year that’s passed and begin to set our intentions for the year to come. The past couple of years have taught many of us how valuable our health and well-being are — and that if we slow down just a little bit, we can see the value of the simple pleasures that make up our daily lives. As we enter a new year, consider incorporating some (or all) of these 10 things into your life so you can start the year off with the intention of prioritizing your health and well-being.
- Cooking your own meals
Ditch the takeout and processed foods and start taking care of your body from the inside out. Overall health begins with what we put into our bodies. Choose nourishing foods and eat balanced meals so you can ensure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs. This will help you feel your best as you tackle your 2022 goals.
- Exercise and movement
Our bodies are made to move; each of our muscles is begging to be engaged with daily. If HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts, running or the gym aren’t your thing, try making it a goal to take a walk each day — even going for a 30-minute walk will make a difference. Pro tip: Listen to your favorite podcast while you walk. Also, if you spend a lot of time sitting during the day, be sure to get up to move and stretch every couple of hours.
- Plenty of sleep
Quality sleep is a big part of the good health equation. Getting to sleep at a reasonable time and allowing yourself at least seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night is key for feeling refreshed and ready to seize a new day. It can also help improve your mood, sharpen your brain, relieve anxiety and boost your immune system.
- Alone time
This is a year to prioritize YOU! It’s OK to say no to that gender reveal party in favor of a day spent alone doing some of your favorite things like reading, crafting or binge-watching that new Netflix series. Spending time alone allows you to get to know yourself and understand yourself, cultivating independence and self-love.
- Time to do nothing
Downtime is important for resting and recharging. Sometimes it’s OK to do nothing at all. Our schedules don’t need to be constantly filled with appointments, errands and social events. It’s usually during those moments of doing nothing at all that we feel the most inspired.
When we live through stressful times, it’s important to keep the nervous system under control. Mindfulness practices such as meditation, conscious breathing, yoga and journaling are wonderful ways to connect to the present moment and feel more grounded in your body. These practices signal to your nervous system that you’re safe and that it’s OK to stop working in overdrive.
- Practicing gratitude
Having a daily practice of expressing gratitude can really help shift your mindset. Most of us are wired to notice and focus more on the negatives, but when we retrain our brain to focus on the good in our lives, we begin to see more of the good — and the negatives start to seem smaller and less significant. You can start to feel the benefits of a gratitude practice instantly, but you can expect to see a significant shift in your mindset when practiced over time.
- Screen-free time
We live in a time where we use screens for just about everything. We go from a medium screen for work to a small screen for play and a big screen for entertainment. So, let’s go back to basics and learn to enjoy some of our time without the influence of electronics. The more time we spend looking down at our phones, the more things we miss in the real world, like the opportunity to connect with your spouse or kids, or the stunning sunset peeking through your backyard.
- Family and friends
Make more time for the people you love, whether it’s by calling to check in each week or making plans to hang out and spend time together. After all, we’re social creatures; and when we’re surrounded by the right people, we’re able to become the best versions of ourselves.
- Have fun
Life is about balance, so if you’re all work and no play, consider factoring in more time for fun this coming year. Allow your inner child to come out by doing creative activities, having a game night with friends, going to a concert or taking that bucket list trip — anything that enriches your soul and brings you joy.
Cheers to a new year and a new you!