The end of the year can be joyous. It allows us to look back, giving thanks for the good things and moving past hardships and difficulties we faced during the last 12 months. The end of the year can also be stressful, especially when conversations surround New Year’s Resolutions rise. There is the pressure to make the perfect pledge, one that will change your life and make you proud upon reflecting this same time one year from now. In fact, there is so much pressure on making some significant changes that those in the mental health industry are advising individuals to bin New Year’s resolutions altogether.
Instead of trying to make a drastic change, what if you just make a few simple ones to improve your health? Making these small resolutions now could help you to incorporate them into your lifestyle going forward. The benefits of turning these resolutions into habits and then routines include longer life, fewer trips to the hospital, and improved quality of life. Here are a few resolutions you can make to boost your health during 2020:
Be More Active
This does not mean you have to run a marathon or train to climb Mount Everest. Being more active simply means increasing the number of active minutes throughout your week. According to the American Heart Association, individuals should aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week. Short term benefits of this include better sleep, improved mood, and more energy. Long term benefits include a stronger heart and the possibility of preventing disease. Being active can low an individual’s risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and stroke.
Moderate aerobic activity can include walking, taking the stairs, and doing chores such as vacuuming and gardening. For those with busy schedules, it can be easy to incorporate this type of activity without going out of your way for the most part. Individuals can choose to take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Public transportation and driving can be replaced by walking or biking.
Clean up Your Diet
Focus on the quality and quantity of the foods you are eating in 2020. This means increasing the number of whole foods you consume while lowering those that are processed. Whole foods are those that the earth produces naturally. They are nutrient and vitamin-rich, meaning they support the growth of good cells and aid in proper organ function. This group includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, meat, seafood, and some dairy products.
Like getting more exercise, eating whole foods can lower your risk of disease. It can also decrease the likelihood of developing cancer and type 2 diabetes. Consuming an overabundance of processed foods can actually lead to some of these health issues. These products, housed in the internal aisles of most groceries and supermarkets, are high in sugar, fat, and sodium. They generally contain preservatives and additives that the body has trouble processing. Diets high in processed foods can lead to early mortality and health complications.
If making dietary changes is a New Year’s resolution you are planning to stick to moderation will be the key to sustainability. Try swapping out a few items instead of overhauling your diet at once, click here for some ideas on healthy, whole food alternatives to your favorite processed snacks.
Keep Up with Immunizations
No one likes getting vaccines but failing to do so can be so much worse. In 2020 make it a point to keep yourself and your family up to date on immunizations and vaccines. Vaccines can stop you from contracting deadly diseases including measles, polio, mumps, chickenpox, whooping cough, diphtheria, and HPV.
Failing to get vaccinated can cause an individual to contract one of the above diseases which can lead to amputation of an arm or leg, paralysis of limbs, hearing loss, convulsions, brain damage, and, in serious cases, death. For information on what immunizations are needed at each stage in your life, click here.
Recent world events have increased transparency on mental health and the importance of finding support and treatment for those struggling with depression and anxiety. One way to keep these issues managed and at bay in 2020 is through practicing gratitude. In a number of studies, it was found that analyzing an individual’s current state and being grateful, when coupled with regular therapy, can increase an individual’s mood and outlook on life.
Practicing and acknowledging mindfulness can be easily incorporated into any lifestyle through journaling and list-making. For more ideas on how to practice gratitude click here.