Are you determined to be physically, mentally and emotionally healthier this year? Adopting certain healthy habits can help you achieve this goal of optimal health.
As cliche as it may sound, many people say that health is the true measure of wealth. That’s because the state of your health will impact the quality of your life. Health is the most precious asset we have. Being healthy doesn’t just mean the absence of illness, however. Health encompasses complete and holistic physical, mental, financial, social, spiritual and emotional well-being.
However, some people struggle to stay healthy because of how easy modern technology has made it to adopt unhealthy habits. We can so easily stay sedentary thanks to food delivery apps that allow us to order food from the couch. Unhealthy food is easier to get our hands on than healthy food is. It’s also way too easy to compare ourselves to others on social media, just by picking up our smartphones. Temptation to engage in unhealthy behavior is everywhere. For this reason, you need to have a firmer resolve to develop healthy habits that you’ll stick to.
Adopting more healthy habits is sure to help you achieve some of the specific goals and New Year’s Resolutions you hope to stick to. Anything can become a habit as long as you repeatedly and consistently do it. Many studies have found evidence that it takes at least 21 days of repeating the same action regularly for a habit to form. That’s why making changes and leaning into the discomfort of that change is vital. Below are 15 healthy habits you must consider adopting this New Year.
Treat yourself with love and kindness by always remembering to take self-care days. Often, your work, family, and social obligations will make you feel overwhelmed or in over your head. As a result, your own self-care can take a back seat. If you have the habit of putting everyone else first and yourself last, one of your new healthy habits needs to be scheduling in regular self-care days.
Remember, no one can ever pour from an empty cup. If you don’t love yourself and take care of yourself, you won’t have much to give. That’s why you need to find ways to treat yourself better. Take time every day to recharge. Self-care practices don’t have to be anything fancy. Sometimes, a latte enjoyed in solitude is good for the soul. You can also take time to read, get a massage, get a pedicure or take a bubble bath. Everyone in your life (including and especially yourself) can benefit from the reduced stress levels that come with proper self-care. Try out some of these self-care tips, and start treating yourself better.
Adopt the Habit of Healthy Meal Prep
One of the key components a healthier lifestyle hinges on is what you put inside your mouth. After all, food is the fuel for your body, so you must fuel it well with whole foods and good nutrition. Eating junk food could result in unwanted health problems. Ditch the processed foods and fried foods. Make it a habit to fill up your plate with a balanced meal with equal amounts of lean protein, healthy carbs, fiber, and good fats. This is one of those healthy habits that’s most easily adopted if you learn to meal prep.
Furthermore, studies indicate that consuming clean, whole foods reduces your risk of cardiovascular and age-related diseases. Your plate should be filled with ½ veggies, ¼ protein, and ¼ whole grains for optimal wellness. You can also add a little bit of healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil. Eating better will improve your physical and emotional health.
Embrace the Healthy Habits of Eating Slowly and Mindfully
Make a conscious effort to change your pace of eating and become a more mindful eater. If you tend to wolf down your food, strive to eat more slowly. This is one of the simplest healthy habits you can adopt. Research attests that it takes 20 minutes for the brain to register the feeling of fullness, so if you want to lose or maintain weight rather than gain weight, the speed of how you eat matters.
If you eat too quickly, you can take sips of water in between bites. You should also put down the fork in between mouthfuls. As you train yourself to develop this new habit, you may even take note of how long you chew your food. When you incorporate this in your life, you will notice that you savor each dish and enjoy your food more. As a result, you will stop overeating since your body will adjust, telling you that you are full.
Eating slowly goes hand-in-hand with mindful eating. Check out these benefits of mindful eating, and consider making mindful eating one of the healthy habits you adopt this year. If you can learn to be more mindful, you might be able to stop mindlessly overeating in front of the television, and develop a healthier relationship with food.
Practice Mindfulness and Be Fully Present
Mindfulness in general is one of the healthy habits many people swear by, not just mindful eating. The trouble is that people tend to go through the motions of life on autopilot. Of course, it doesn’t help that the world is fast-paced and full of frenetic energy that can sometimes be overwhelming. If you find yourself drifting along like a butterfly in the wind instead of doing things with intent, you could run into problems.
You should practice mindfulness and be fully present in every moment of your life, living life with intent and purpose. You can be more mindful through meditation and journaling. Studies show that mindfulness can result in the following health benefits:
- Alleviate stress
- Cope with setbacks well
- Increase relaxation
- Reduces depression and anxiety
- Learn to count blessings
- Enjoy greater enthusiasm for life
- Improve self-esteem
Get Quality Sleep Every Night
Sleep is essential because it allows your body to rejuvenate and recharge. Poor sleep can result in the following problems:
- Irritability and moodiness
- Poor productivity and trouble focusing
- Memory problems
- Lower immunity and higher chance of illness
Improve your sleep hygiene and aim for at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night. Start by reducing your screen time at night since blue light can interfere with your body’s circadian rhythm. Consider organic aromatherapy and diffuse lavender essential oils, which help promote good sleep. Drinking chamomile tea before bed and reading by candlelight also helps get your body ready for sleep. Remember, adequate sleep results in significantly improved holistic health and wellness.
Discover What Regulates Your Nervous System and Reduce Your Stress
When you’re chronically stressed and your nervous system is consistently dysregulated, this is very bad for your health. It’s key to figure out which self-soothing techniques work for you, so you can learn to reduce your stress and regulate your nervous system. One of the healthy habits you adopt this year should be to get in the habit of self-regulating your nervous system when you’re stressed. Part of this is assessing what your triggers are so you can take the necessary steps to avoid them.
Getting enough sleep is a good place to start because adequate rest allows your body to heal itself. It would also help to minimize stress by adopting the following healthy habits:
- Avoiding excessive caffeine intake
- Planning your days with a more organized to-do list and up-to-date calendar
- Setting realistic goal
- Finding a creative outlet such as one of these ways of expressing creativity
- Go for a walk outside in nature each day
Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption
Moderation is key when it comes to alcohol consumption. If you have a habit of reaching for a drink a little too often, taper it down. There are many health benefits of sobriety, so reducing your alcohol consumption is definitely one of the best healthy habits you could adopt.
Excessive alcohol consumption can result in weight gain, addiction, dependency, relationship problems, poor job performance, excessive dehydration, liver disease, impaired judgment and depression.
Drink More Water
Drinking more water is great for your health. Staying hydrated with at least 8 cups of water per day equates to proper cell, organ and brain function. Besides, water is essential for eradicating toxins in the body.
When you don’t drink enough water, you could experience the following symptoms of dehydration:
- Dry skin
- Chapped lips
- Mobility issues such as stiff joints while walking
- Sugar cravings
- Brain fog
If remembering to drink enough water is a struggle for you, set a reminder on your phone to drink water every hour.
Be More Physically Active Each Day
Daily physical activity is one of the crucial healthy habits you need to adopt if you want to stay healthy. Diet and nutrition must be complemented with a consistent exercise regimen. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, now is the time to get up and move. It doesn’t have to be a hardcore workout. You can start with baby steps each day such as:
- Walking the dog each day
- Playing with the kids outside
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Going on nature walks while listening to an audiobook
- Parking further away to get more steps in
Any type of activity is better than being a couch potato. You can do simple activities like walking, running, swimming, doing a guided workout on YouTube, or simple weightlifting. All of these physical activities will help burn calories, improve muscle strength, boost endurance, improve your mood with endorphins, and make you physically stronger and healthier.
Find an Accountability Buddy
If you truly want to live a healthier lifestyle, find a good support group to keep you in check. Surrounding yourself with healthy individuals or finding an accountability buddy with like-minded health goals can motivate you to follow through on the healthy habits you’re trying to adopt.
Besides, having someone to report your progress to can encourage you to be more accountable for your choices and actions. Talking to one another will also help inspire both of you to stay on track.
Avoid Excessive Sugary Treats
Do you have a habit of treating yourself with a sweet treat after completing a task on your to-do list? It can become a bad habit to grab a tasty treat after your workout because you feel like you’ve earned it, or to reach for the cookies after finishing a tiring work project. Unfortunately, always rewarding yourself with sweets can cause many health problems since sugar is addictive.
If you want to reward yourself, think of something else like a rewarding experience such as watching a movie or going for a pedicure. Treating yourself and rewarding yourself for accomplishing something is not bad, but making healthier choices can make a big difference in your life.
Enjoy the Great Outdoors More Often
One of the healthy habits many people swear is linked to happiness is spending more time outdoors and among nature. Studies show that communing with nature has the power to alleviate stress, reduce anxiety, boost immunity, promote a positive mood, and encourage good sleep.
Besides, staying outdoors means breathing in the fresh air and enjoying some much-needed vitamin D. You need vitamin D to strengthen your bones and boost immunity. You can try the following outdoor activities:
- Hiking a nearby trail
- Biking in the neighborhood
- Playing frisbee in the park
- Gardening in your yard
- Swimming at a nearby lake or at the beach
- Walking around the neighborhood
Minimize Your Screen Time
Whether it’s your TV, tablet, phone, or computer, you must set specific times to stay away from your screen. Excessive screen time can lead to headaches, dry eyes, vision problems, and trouble sleeping. For best results, practice the following:
- Take regular breaks when working from your laptop
- Use a blue light blocking device or special blue light blocking glasses
- Adjust the brightness and contrast of the monitor
- Take breaks from the screen to read a book, go for a walk, or journal by candlelight
- Cease using devices an hour before bed
Take Supplements or Modify Your Diet if You’re Deficient in any Vital Nutrients
A blood test can reveal if you have a nutrient deficiency, and if you want to get healthier, it’s important to be on top of any deficiency problems. Ideally, you should get all of your vital nutrients from the food you eat. However, many factors (including your genetics) affect digestion and absorption. If you are stressed out, you could have nutrition gaps in your diet, so a high-quality multivitamin supplement may help.
You may need added vitamins and nutrients in the form of supplements if you have a nutrient deficiency, trouble absorbing a certain substance, certain health risks or dietary limitations. For example, people who are lactose intolerant or are prone to osteoporosis may need a calcium and vitamin D supplement. For best results, speak with your doctor to find the best high-quality supplements for your unique health needs.
Schedule Age-Appropriate Regular Health Screenings
As you age, your health will change because the body slows down, and some organs no longer function as optimally. This is part of the natural cycle of life. Thus, regular health checkups and annual physicals are crucial to maintaining optimal health.
One of the healthy habits you adopt should be to become more responsible when it comes to scheduling regular health check-ups for yourself.
If certain cancers or diseases run in your family, you’ll need to schedule the appropriate screenings and be responsible for your health. For example, if breast cancer or colon cancer runs in your family, you should schedule a mammogram and colonoscopy, respectively, at least once per year.
How To Stay On Top Of Your Health
If you want to stay on top of your health, find out if you’re genetically at higher risk of certain cancers or diseases with an at-home DNA test such as CircleDNA. The CircleDNA test will even inform you of other health concerns to be aware of, such as a genetic likelihood to be sensitive to certain foods or have a higher need of certain nutrients.
When you’re armed with the type of information that allows you to prevent health problems you’re genetically susceptible to, you’ll be able to take better care of yourself.