In preparation for the New Year, many people make overly ambitious resolutions with only a few sticking to their guns. The key for sustainable resolutions is to aim small, and make specific and realistic goals.
Schedule an annual check-up appointment
Seeing a doctor to monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and more, should be non-negotiable. It gives you a general view of how your health is doing. Regular check-ups are necessary even if you feel healthy.
Whether you are planning to lose weight or not, eating clean can have an impact on your overall health. Eating clean is not about lowering your calorie intake but more about being mindful of the food’s pathway between its origin and your plate. That means embracing whole foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains, plus healthy proteins and fats. It also means cutting refined grains, additives, preservatives, unhealthy fats and large amounts of added sugar and salt.
This does not necessarily involve going to the gym but at least not spending a lot of time sitting — in your car, at your desk or on the couch. Move your body every day for example, walk or cycle to nearby shops, instead of driving the car, do the housework and use the stairs instead of the lift or escalator. Choose activities that suit your lifestyle considering your budget, physical abilities and amount of free time.
Get enough sleep
A good night’s sleep is just as important as eating healthy and exercising. Poor sleep is strongly linked to weight gain, poor concentration and productivity, disturbed metabolism and immune function.
Adopting good sleep hygiene on a consistent basis can encourage better sleep. For example;
- Stick to a sleep schedule: Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule during weekends to no more than one hour. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
- Pay attention to what you consume before bedtime: Avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime. Also, limit nicotine, caffeine and alcohol intake. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off, and even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.
- Limit your daytime naps: If you choose to nap, limit yourself to up to 30 minutes and avoid doing so late in the day.
- Improve your sleep environment: Keep your room dark and quiet.
- Avoid prolonged use of light-emitting screens just before bedtime
Cut your stress
Easier said than done! In fact, short bouts of stress can boost your energy and memory. However, too much stress can be detrimental. It can weaken the immune system, cause high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, anxiety and even heart disease. While it is impossible to eliminate all negative stress from your life, you can control the way you react to it.
Take care of your mental wellbeing
Mental wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing.
- Identify your mood triggers: Understanding what affects your mood positively or negatively can help you take steps to create or avoid these situations respectively.
- Relax: It is important to make time for yourself and relax. Do something you like, even for 5 minutes a day! Relaxation techniques are various, including yoga, meditation, mindfulness or a good massage session!
- Build healthy relationship with people: Spend more time around positive supportive people. Make time for family and friends. Socialize in real life not on the web!
- Learn to accept yourself: Not comparing yourself to others, acknowledging what you are good at, and challenging unhelpful thinking patterns are all keys to enhancing your self-esteem.