With the New Year approaching, everyone is beginning to plan out their resolutions. These last few years, however, many people have seen life change drastically in an everyday sense. So instead of piling on more commitments and stress this year by encouraging New Year’s promises to oneself, which are often broken anyway, we have provided a list of wellness tips to carry you through 2022 on a mindful and stress-free note. The only commitment you need to make is to do your best and to show up for yourself when you feel you can!
Reduce Your Stress
According to this poll from The American Psychological Association, the average stress level for adults clocked in at 5.6 on a 10 point scale with 10 being the highest. High levels of stress can have negative effects on multiple bodily functions, such as the endocrine system, cardiovascular system and digestive tract among many others. Try to relieve your daily stress levels this year with small changes like taking a short walk, meditating, reducing your caffeine intake, exercise and (most importantly) cutting sugar out of your diet. Something as simple as 30 minutes of brisk walking per day can help improve your sleep schedule, lower stress and even trim your waistline.
Limit Your Sugar Intake
It is no secret that sugar is linked to weight gain, diabetes, acne and even heart disease. We all love the occasional sweet snack to satisfy a craving, but according to this study done by Harvard, the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of hidden added sugar per day. Often these sugars are disguised in jarred tomato or pasta sauces, beverages, soups, prepped meals and dressings. This year, try to be conscious of what you are putting in your body, and make healthy trades or substitutions if a product contains more than The AHA recommended daily amount of sugar (6 teaspoons). If you really enjoy sweets and don’t want to give them up, SweetLeaf has a host of sugar alternatives to help you enjoy your favorite snacks as a healthier option.
Make the time to move your body in a way that makes you happy. There is no need to jump off the couch and book a new gym membership just to adhere to New Year’s Resolution pressure. Exercise can be a wonderful tool to keep your body healthy, but this year we encourage you to simply find a way to move your body that you enjoy. Go for a light jog, try a yoga class or go for a hike if your area permits it. Watch an online tutorial, do some light stretching or even have a living room dance party with your family. Whatever activity you choose, find some joy in it and use it to celebrate what your body can do for you!
Grin a Little
Make a commitment to smile more. Find joy in the little things in life. Watch a comedy or look up funny dog or cat videos on YouTube for a good laugh. Life is constant and can be full of stress, so give yourself a little break and find the time for a smile or laugh. If you need a good reason, SCLhealth.org has even backed up the benefits of a smile with science. “When you smile, your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides that help fight off stress along with other neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and endorphins.” We encourage you to crack a smile and see how you feel later.
Make Time To Read More
Take the time to nourish your brain by picking up a good book. Even if you only read a couple pages per day from the newspaper, a novel or an online article like this one about the benefits of reading can help in more ways than one. The one thing no one can take away from you is knowledge, so soak up as much as you can this year. Who knows, you might learn something surprising!
Set Aside Time For Self-Care
Give yourself the grace to slow down and practice self-care. Take a nice long bath, reorganize something in your home, make your bed, sit down and enjoy a hot cup of tea, or treat yourself to some alone time. Whatever your self-care preference is, make sure you are setting aside enough time for yourself this year. Remember that you can’t show up for others unless you can show up for yourself too.
Ditch The Diet
Instead of a diet this year, simply try to incorporate more whole foods, fruits and vegetables into your daily meals. Still eat the foods you are craving or enjoy, but add something wholesome and nutritious to round out your meals and make them as healthy as possible without forcing yourself into a New Year’s resolution diet that doesn’t fit your lifestyle.
Do Something Fun
Make the time to learn a new skill or take up a fun hobby. Sometimes you need a fun hobby to offset the demands of a busy job or a hectic home life. Adult coloring books, meditation, building puzzles, learning a new language and DIY crafting are all wonderful options to keep your mind engaged. Here is a fun list of low-cost hobbies you might enjoy!
No matter your goals this coming year, it is important to be mindful of both your health and your happiness in the months to come. Use these tips to care for your body and your mind this year, not out of guilt, but out of appreciation for what they are capable of. It’s time to celebrate everything you can do!
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