As we move into the new year, it’s important to reflect on the choices we made in the past year and how they affected our health. This is a time when many of us make resolutions to improve our lives, and our health is no exception. There are some simple lifestyle changes you can make that will have a big impact on your overall health. The three healthy lifestyle choices I think more people should focus on in the coming year are eating healthier, getting more exercise, and reducing stress.
The first lifestyle change I think everyone should make is to eat healthier. This doesn’t mean you have to go on a strict diet or give up all your favorite foods. But it does mean making smart choices about what you eat and being conscious of the nutrients your body needs. Eating healthy means filling up on foods full of nutrients and lacking in many of the chemicals we associate with modern food. It also means limiting sugary drinks and processed snacks. And be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day!
The second lifestyle change I recommend is getting more exercise. Exercise is so important for our overall health, yet so many of us don’t get enough of it. Finding an activity you enjoy and making time for it each week is a great way to make sure you’re getting the exercise your body needs. Whether it’s going for walks, taking yoga classes, or playing sports, find something that gets you moving and makes you happy!
The third lifestyle change I think everyone should consider is reducing stress. Stress can have major implications on our health, so finding ways to manage it better is crucial. There are many different techniques you can use to reduce stress, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, journaling, and spending time in nature. Experiment with different methods until you find what works best for YOU!
Want to know more? Let’s dive in.
Healthy Lifestyle Change: Eating Healthier
Eating healthier is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Good nutrition helps improve energy levels, mood, sleep quality, and digestion while also reducing inflammation and disease risk. Yet so many of us don’t eat as well as we should because we’re busy or don’t know what to cook.
If you’re looking to make some changes in your diet this year, here are a few ideas to get you started:
Cook more meals at home using fresh ingredients. Meal prep on the weekends to make weeknight cooking easier.
Eat more plants! Incorporate more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes into your diet. Aim for at least half of your plate to be filled with plants at each meal.
Reduce processed foods and sugar. Limit sugary drinks like soda and juices, as well as snacks like cookies and candy bars. Instead, opt for healthier snacks like cheese or nuts when you’re feeling hungry between meals.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Healthy Lifestyle Change: Getting More Exercise
Getting regular exercise is another important thing everyone should try to incorporate in their daily routine—and especially if you want to feel better, look younger and live longer! Exercise also helps when we feel restless and stressed out. It’s a great way to relieve tension, boost happiness and even improve memory and brain function!
Here are a few tips for incorporating more physical activity in your life:
Make a plan for how much exercise you’ll do each week. This will help keep it on track and give you something to work towards. Try walking around the neighborhood with friends, joining an adult sports league or taking up yoga classes once a week.
Set realistic goals that fit within your schedule and lifestyle. For example, maybe you’d rather go running than join a gym class but don’t have time during the week after work. Maybe instead of trying to run 5 miles every morning before breakfast, commit to doing a program like Couch To 5k. You can still get some good cardio without having to spend hours training!
Find ways to mix things up so you never get bored with your workout routine. If going for a jog doesn’t sound exciting enough anymore, why not take dance lessons? Or sign up for a cycling tour? The options are endless.
Healthy Lifestyle Change: Reducing Stress
Stress is one of those pesky problems we all face from time-to-time. But what most people fail to realize is just how damaging stress can be over the long term—especially when it comes to our health! That’s because chronic stress has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, anxiety, depression, and conditions like cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Plus, when left unchecked, prolonged periods of high stress can lead to burnout and exhaustion—and leave us feeling completely drained and unable to enjoy anything in life.
So let me share a few tips on how I’ve found myself managing my own levels of stress lately:
I’m learning how to use DBT therapy techniques on my own. This may be helpful for you if you find yourself obsessing over stressful things, wallowing in negative emotions, or struggling with impulsivity or anger issues.
I try to practice self-care by taking care of my body through diet and exercise, as well as getting plenty of sleep, meditation, deep breathing exercises, journaling and other relaxation methods. These activities help reduce the impact that stress can have on your mind and body. And they also help make it easier to tackle any challenges that come your way!
You can try out new hobbies that are relaxing like knitting, sewing, painting and writing. It helps keep you busy while also helping you feel more creative.
How else can someone reduce stress and engage in more self care?
- Get organized and make lists
- Break up large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones
- Set realistic goals and expectations
- Delegate or ask for help when needed
- Say “no” to non-essential commitments
- Take time for yourself every day, even if it’s just 10-15 minutes
- Make time to enjoy your hobbies and interests
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Practice relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation
- Use mantras to promote a positive attitude
Making small tweaks to your lifestyle can have a big impact on your overall health. This coming new year, commit to eating healthier, getting more exercise and reducing stress. These healthy lifestyle choices will help you feel better mentally and physically—and may even help prevent chronic diseases down the road!
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