Every 365 days like clockwork, as we tick closer and closer to the start of a brand new year, we find ourselves evaluating our priorities and crafting our New Year's resolutions. Whether it's quitting smoking, getting more sleep, eating less junk food, or anything in between, the common denominator is almost always a health goal. Let's face it, we all want to be healthier, happier, more energetic, less stressed, or more in shape, and the start of a new year is the perfect time to set goals for a Healthier You.
If you've tried and failed at your resolutions time and time again, it may be time to take stock of your habits and learn some tips and tricks to help you achieve next year's goals. What you may not know is that many of your health goals actually work together, and in order to succeed in one area, you may need to step up your game in another. And if your resolution is to improve your mental or physical health, a more holistic approach may be just what you need, as your health hinges on so many factors, from diet and exercise to self-care and adequate sleep.
Making the resolutions is easy, it's keeping them beyond January that's the tricky part. So as we ring in 2019 together, let's set ourselves up for success by following these 8 tips for a happier, healthier year.
1. Drink More Water
An adequately hydrated body is a happy one, and you'll notice the difference right away. You'll likely have more energy, fewer hunger cravings, an improved metabolism — not to mention better skin! People often overlook dehydration as being the culprit behind why they're so tired or sluggish, but this one adjustment could go a long way to set your mind and body up for success in all your other goals. As a general rule, you should be drinking half of your body weight in fluid ounces every day. So, for example, if you weigh 150 lbs, you should be drinking 75 fl. oz. of water daily.
2. Exercise Regularly
Exercise can not only transform your body and increase your strength, but it can also be key to improving your mental health, lowering your risk of certain diseases, and promoting cardiovascular health, adding years to your life. There are ways for people of every age and ability to get adequate, regular exercise, so this year make it a point to find ways you like to get your body moving and turn those into healthy habits. Simply making an effort to move your body every day, whether that's going to the gym, taking a yoga class, or even walking your dog in the mornings, is a great start.
3. Plan Your Meals
Instead of scrambling to throw together dinner at 5pm, or rushing out the door for work only to realize that you forgot to pack a lunch and will have to eat out again, take some time once a week to plan out your meals. For example, if you work or go to school Monday through Friday, it would make sense to meal plan every Sunday and pick up everything you need from the grocery store so that you're prepared for the week ahead. Meal planning goes a long way to help you stay on track no matter how busy your schedule.
4. Get More Sleep
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC), most Americans aren't getting nearly enough sleep. Improving your sleep will not only give you the energy you need throughout the day to perform well at work or get that early morning workout in, but adequate sleep is also associated with an improved diet and increased weight loss. When you're tired, you often make unhealthy food and lifestyle choices, feel excessively overwhelmed or stressed, and have a harder time motivating yourself to get active. Rest up for a minimum of seven hours every night, as recommended by the The National Sleep Foundation, to ensure that your mind and body are in optimal shape to achieve the rest of your goals this year.
5. Schedule Screenings
It's no secret that the number one way to maintain your health is with preventative care, so be sure to attend regular check-ups and exams with your primary care physician, who can make recommendations and schedule screenings based on your age, gender, lifestyle, and overall health risks. This can make all the difference in detecting and addressing problems before they start.
6. Wear Sunscreen
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should apply SPF 30+ sunscreen on exposed skin every two hours that you're outside. This is something to make a habit of no matter the weather or season, as the sun's rays can penetrate your skin even in the middle of winter. Not only will this significantly lower your risk of skin cancer, but it will help keep your skin, the largest organ on your body, healthy and strong. Work this into your morning routine by incorporating an SPF moisturizer that you can quickly and easily apply to your face, neck, and hands before leaving the house.
7. Take Some Time for Yourself
This year, be sure to also acknowledge the importance of your mental health by taking some time to de-stress. Whether you enjoy meditation, extra long baths, or reading before bed, set aside an hour every day to do something that makes you happy. It's time we stop looking at self-care as an afterthought and make it a priority, so make it a resolution to schedule some You-time this year.
8. Practice Mindfulness
Being mindful simply means being aware of what's happening and what you're feeling at any given time. Round out your healthier lifestyle this year by being more present in your daily life. Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings, live in the moment, notice what's going on around you, and do all things with intention.
Keep your New Year’s resolutions going strong. Find a Swedish doctor to be your trusted partner in health.