With the new year right around the corner, this is the perfect time for you to start thinking about what you’d like to accomplish in the next year. Focusing more on your health is a great goal to set. Below are four simple wellness tips that can help you become a healthier version of yourself.
It’s no secret that smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your body, yet many people continue to do so daily. If you’re one of them, make 2020 the year you finally say goodbye to cigarettes (and vaping, if you vape). While the addictive nature of nicotine makes quitting a challenging process, it is possible. You just have to find what works for you. I tried quitting several times, but it wasn’t until after my dad passed away from a heart attack that I realized I needed to quit permanently. I wanted it to stick this time, so I got professional help. I signed up for a program that was five days and involved electric shocks and a few other quite aversive techniques. It was intense, but it worked. I haven’t picked up a cigarette since. While such programs aren’t right for everyone, there are many quitting aids available, as well as tips and resources from the American Lung Association. Your doctor can also provide you with help and local resources to help you quit.
Drink More Water.
Most health experts recommend that adults drink eight 8oz glasses of water a day, but approximately four out of five Americans don’t meet this recommendation. One of the reasons is because many people believe that “water” means “liquids” in general, which isn’t true. We’re made up of up to 75 percent water – not soda, milk, coffee, energy drinks, or even healthy green juices. So, if you’re one of the many that isn’t getting enough water, try slowly increasing how much water you consume. You can get a fun reusable bottle to help you track how much water you’re drinking and keep you motivated.
Try Plant-Based Meals.
I went vegetarian over 32 years ago because of my love for animals and the natural world, but I understand that for many, the idea of giving up meat seems impossible. However, incorporating plant-based meals into your diet is not only easy but also great for your health. Eating less meat, particularly red meat, can help reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. It can also help improve mood and hormonal health. Try reducing your meat consumption by trying things such as Meatless Mondays. If committing to fully plant-based meals is too difficult for you, try eating half the amount of meat you would normally eat and replacing the rest of your plate with some tasty vegetables.
Believe it or not, your mental health has a tremendous impact on your physical health. Just as it’s important that you take time to go to the doctor, eat right, and exercise, you must also make time to take care of your mind. A simple way to do this is by implementing meditation into your daily routine. As little as ten minutes can make a huge difference. Allowing your mind to unwind calls all the organs, your breathing becomes more relaxed and regular, heart rate decreases, and cortisol levels drop. A quick meditation session is a great way to start and end your day.
The new year is a great time to work on self-improvement, but remember to not get stuck chasing perfection. No one is perfect after all. Often, resolutions leave us obsessing over weight loss or other “wellness” activities. As a result, we forget that we are trying to become the best version of ourselves and start chasing unrealistic narratives we see on social media. Embarking on a wellness journey should be enjoyable and make you feel better — mentally, physically, and emotionally. If this isn’t the case, take a step back and reassess the goals you are chasing after. And don’t forget, life is short, so take a moment to enjoy all the little things along the way.