It’s a new year and a fresh start to begin creating some healthier habits in your life. It’s a great time to reflect on some of your unhealthier habits and try to replace those with healthier options. It’s also important to reinforce your new, improved routine and know that habits take time to develop. 2020 was a rough year, so here's to trying again in 2021:
Healthy Eating: Create a list of all your unhealthy eating habits. Review the list and try to find the unhealthy “cues”, such as you snack more at a certain time of day, you eat faster when you eat in front of the TV, etc. Once you pinpoint those cues, try replacing one at a time with healthier options. Eat more slowly, eat only when you’re truly hungry, plan meals ahead of time, eat more fruits and vegetables, etc.
Mental Health: Start practicing mindfulness and meditation as this can reduce stress, ease negative thoughts, and improve your relationship satisfaction. Be grateful and practice by regularly taking the time to run through a list of what you have and why you appreciate it. Also, social interaction is important to staying mentally healthy. Talk to someone you trust, whether it’s a therapist, a friend, or a pharmacist.
Physical Activity: 150 minutes of moderate-intense activity each week creates substantial benefits for adults. These include: lower risk of all-mortality, coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, anxiety and depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. Physically active adults also sleep better and have better quality of life.
Overall Health: For the new year try doing a few things to help your overall health such as: washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water to prevent the spread of germs. “Disconnect” every night by turning lights and screens off 30 minutes before bedtime and try to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Drink more water and less soda or juice. See your doctor and don’t skip appointments. And take your meds on time and as prescribed, and always talk with your pharmacist about any questions or concerns.
Don’t think that one mistake knocks a whole day’s worth of your efforts. Be patient with yourself and your new practices and make 2021 a year of healthy habits!