Many of us set New Year's resolutions around our health and wellness. Take the time to reflect on your goals from last year, your life right now - what is going well and what you want to work on - and make a plan. This post includes 5 areas for you to consider in your wellness plan.
move more and with joy
Setting a goal to move more is a great way to increase your physical activity. Adding a walk to your day can help increase your creativity and lower your stress while also rejuvenating your body. Taking breaks from the computer to stretch or jump around for a few minutes helps your eyes relax, your shoulders to lower and your back to uncurl. If you'd like to start an exercise routine, think about if you would prefer working out at home, outdoors, or at a gym. Search for routines online that use minimal equipment, or use park benches, or sign-up for gym orientation. Add movement to your day by choosing to move your body in a way that will bring you joy, not more stress.
Physical activity has numerous benefits, including reducing your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your mental health, and increase your energy levels.
incorporate more healthy foods
A healthy diet includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all food groups, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Make changes to your diet in small steps so that the changes are sustainable. For example, if you're always running short on time in the mornings and stop for a fast-food breakfast, try healthier options you can make ahead, like overnight oats or egg sandwiches that you can freeze and then microwave.
Eating a healthy diet can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, and promote overall health and well-being. Avoiding sugary foods and maintaining good oral hygiene can also mean less cavities found during your general dentistry check-ups.
manage your stress
Chronic stress can have negative effects on your physical and mental health. Specifically, when your body's natural stress response is no longer self-limiting, the persistent high levels of stress hormones in your blood can increase your risk of health problems like anxiety, depression, digestive issues, sleep problems, and more.
Consider incorporating some stress management techniques into your schedule like exercise, yoga, meditation, journaling, and scheduling "off" time when you silence your notifications and focus only on you, or you and those around you.
Experiment with different stress management techniques to find what works best for you. If you have accumulated several different techniques with little or no change in your stress levels, make an appointment with a health care practitioner or mental health practitioner to discuss other avenues.
prioritize quality sleep
Getting enough quality sleep is essential for good health and well-being. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health. However, many of us don't get enough sleep (or good enough sleep) on a regular basis.
Whether you have a busy schedule that leaves you craving "me time" at the end of the day and scrolling through your phone instead of reading a book to wind down, or you lie awake unable to fall asleep, there are steps you can take. First, identify what the problem is. If you keep clicking "next episode" on Netflix, consider taking the TV out of the bedroom or setting a "get ready for bed" alarm on your phone that repeats on weeknights. If you have trouble falling asleep, set an alarm to nix screentime 1-2 hours before you get into bed, and engage in a relaxing routine like washing your face, brushing your teeth, and reading a book or magazine in bed.
I use the Sleep Cycle app (and have been for the past several years). I love that I can see my sleep quality as a percentage, that it uses the phone microphone so it doesn't have to be near me, and that there is a wake-up window with a gentle, increasing volume alarm.
don't skip the doctor
Regular health screenings are an important part of preventive care. They can help detect problems early when they are more likely to be treated or treated successfully. Depending on your age, sex, family history, and other factors, you may need different types of screenings, such as blood pressure checks, cholesterol tests, cancer screenings (mammograms, colonoscopies), or sexually transmitted infection (STI) tests. Talk to your healthcare provider about which screenings are appropriate for you based on your individual risk factors, what each test involves, and how frequently you should take the test. You can also check to see what preventative services are covered by your health insurance plan.
a blog about health, wellness, nutrition, and fitness from an epidemiologist / dietitian with personal trainer experience
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