Healthy Habits for the New Year

Many of us are looking at 2022 to be healthy and prosperous. An excellent place to start is by creating some new healthy habits. A new year = a new start — isn’t that how it goes? There is never a good or bad time to start, but the new year is always motivating, so take advantage of any renewed sense creating a healthier lifestyle that you may have.

Habits can be hard to form, which most have experienced. There is an ongoing debate on how many days or how long it takes to develop a habit fully. Many health experts believe that 21 days is the magic number to form a new habit. However, depending on the bad habits you are trying to break, it could take longer. But we all start somewhere, and that’s what counts. The following is a list of 6 healthy habits perfect for the new year or anytime that you feel motivated to start.

MORE SLEEP  

The first of many healthy habits is to get more sleep! It is no secret that getting more sleep is attached to various positive health benefits. For some, falling asleep may be difficult, which is why so many people don’t get the suggested 8 hours. Trying to wind down earlier than you may normally do can be beneficial in allowing your body to have an easier time relaxing and falling into a deep sleep. Some other good habits to promote a full night’s sleep are limiting your caffeine intake, turning off-screen time on electronic devices an hour before bed, and setting a “bedtime alarm” to help you become aware that it’s time to start winding down. Consider these suggestions, which will help calm and settle your mind to get more sleep.

SWAP PHONE TIME FOR ME-TIME 

Most people hop on their cell phones at the start of each day and continue throughout the day right up to bedtime. Even if their plan is only to check their phone for 5 minutes at a time, they usually end up scrolling for hours. Unfortunately, not everything is seen while scrolling positively impacts us, and we don’t even realize how counterproductive it can be. A lot of the content available to us can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety, which is why it’s essential to take the time and disconnect from your phone and set time aside for you. Even if it’s just a few hours each day, disconnecting from your device can do wonders in your wellness, productivity, and overall mental health. The more time you spend away from your phone, the more time you will have for things that matter to your healthy habits. Scheduling specific time to scroll on your phone to do something self-care-related, like getting some fresh air, doing physical activity, or reading a book, will soon become a new habit. Consider turning your phone not to disturb, which makes disconnecting even easier.

EAT MORE WHOLE FOODS   

Have you ever heard the term “you are what you eat?” As we go through the everyday hustle of life, it’s easy to fall into the fast-food convenience. Frozen dinners and phone apps that provide meal deliveries have made unhealthy eating far too easy. Because food is energy and provides you with the fuel and nutrients you need, it’s one of the fundamental factors to being healthy. If you have a habit of eating on the run, try planning your daily meals a day so that you can prep anything you will need. The next step to eating healthier is eating more whole foods, which is anything that has not been processed. Avoid anything in cellophane bags and is loaded with fat and salt. Try limiting your intake of unhealthy foods this year and insert more whole foods into your daily diet, such as grains, legumes, lentils, fresh fruits, and vegetables. You can achieve this new habit of healthy eating quite easily if you are prepared and create a weekly meal plan, meal prep, and try new seasonal produce.

FRESH AIR  

Even in the winter, fresh air can work wonders on your mood and mental focus! Whenever possible, it’s beneficial to go outside and get some fresh air. Consider a short walk, outdoor meditation, or just sitting in your yard. Just a few minutes is all that is needed to enhance your mood and help feed your soul. It’s fun to eat lunch outside, read a book, paint the scenery, or listen to music while you soak in the fresh air. Be sure to consider the weather and bundle up if it’s chilly!

POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS

Positive affirmations are the way that your brain communicates with your emotions. A habit of saying positive things to yourself will happen quickly once you begin reciting daily affirmations; it doesn’t take long for a new sense of purpose and joy in your life to be realized once you begin. Make a list of things in your life that you would like to change for the better, then write down the affirmation you will say to yourself to make your mind and feelings sync. An example would be “I take time to care for myself each day” if you are trying to create a habit of self-care. Before you get out of bed each morning, start the day by stating a few affirmations that you want to become your reality. You can also consider writing them down and posting them on the wall that you see each morning. Or consider an affirmation journal.

Whatever new habits you want to form, deciding to change the way you think is all it takes. Habits can be harmful, or habits can be helpful; it’s up to you.   

Written by: Lauren Foster

 

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