Not everyone likes to make New Year’s resolutions, and that’s ok. Just because a new year starts doesn’t automatically mean you must declare a new you and then proceed to embark on changing who you are.
But if you are looking to make some changes in your life, the little things will add up and make all the difference, not the big sweeping gestures that are unrealistic for you and your lifestyle.
This post looks at some changes you can make that offer you health benefits going into 2024. You can start today, not wait for the ball to drop on New Year’s Eve.
Don’t join the swathes of people who sign up for that gym membership they don’t want or need simply because they feel they need to. Get up, get out, and go for a walk, or add more movement to your day if you cannot walk.
Guidelines state that you need to engage in physical activity that raises your heart rate slightly for 30 minutes daily, 5 days a week. These 30 minutes don’t need to be together or all at once, but you should aim to move enough to get slightly out of breath for at least 30 minutes each day.
This can be walking, running, swimming, dancing, gardening, or anything else you enjoy. If you can’t be too physically active, look into chair-based exercises, aqua aerobics, or gentle stretches to keep your muscles moving and mobile.
Visit Your Doctor
Health comes in many different ways, and part of ensuring good health is visiting your doctor at least yearly to get your annual physical. This allows your doctor to get a measure of your health and fitness. And it also gives you the opportunity to discuss any concerns you might have, such as aches, pains, lump bumps, or changes to your health. Whether you need to book in for hip replacement surgery to reduce hip pain and restore full mobility, or you need to discuss mental health concerns you might have.
You will likely feel better getting your health concerns checked out, and it can be a weight off your mind, giving you the freedom to move forward.
Practice Self Care
Self-care allows you the opportunity to put yourself first, even if it’s just for a short period of time. Burnout is a real issue in the US right now, and since the pandemic, more people have been suffering the effects of burnout than ever before. To stop this in its tracks and enable you to support your health, you should be looking at ways to include self-care in your daily routine or every week.
Self-care can be absolutely anything and everything that boosts your mental health and gives you an outlet to do something beneficial to yourself. It can be turning off your phone and having a digital detox for a few hours or even days. It could be diving into that new book you have been wanting to read, heading off to the cinema to catch the latest release, or hitting the gym to clear your mind. Self-care looks different to different people, but effective self-care means doing something for yourself that nourishes your body and your mind and helps you to feel good about yourself.
Improve your Sleep
If you aren’t getting good quality sleep, then your health will suffer, and your energy levels will be flagging. Your body needs sleep to help it process the day’s events and repair itself, ready to take on the following day on. A lack of sleep means that your body isn’t able to recuperate and support you how you need it to.
Aim to get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, remove electronics from the bedroom, avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine before bed, and create a sleeping atmosphere that encourages sleep to help you relax and wind down each night. Use sleeping aids such as lavender, chamomile, melatonin, valerian root, and magnesium.
Quit Bad Habits
If you start today in rectifying and eliminating bad habits from your life, then you already have a head start come New Year. Bad habits that are harmful to your health include;
- excessive alcohol consumption,
- taking illicit or prescription substances, or
- engaging in illegal or dangerous behavior.
Look at what aspects of your life and habits that you don’t like and want to stop and address when and why you engage in them. When you identify your triggers or patterns to your behavior, you can look at how you can start stopping your reliance on them. Talk to someone about the changes you want to make and get them on board and supportive to help you through this time. Talk to your doctor or get professional help if you think you need it and give yourself small incremental goals to work towards and incentives to get there. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and quitting bad habits will take time, dedication, and determination from where you are to where you want to be.
Being social is part and parcel of being human, and social contact is something most people instinctively crave. Isolating yourself can help to impound your worries and build stress, so get out and connect with others who are on the same wavelength as you and can help to boost your mental health.
You can talk to family and friends more, join in-person or online groups and classes, volunteer at your local community center or charitable organizations, or make a point to get outside more and engage in social activities in your local area. Doing this can help you find something you enjoy and find others to connect with thanks to a shared common interest.
Improving your health can be done in many different ways and doesn’t need to be put off until January 1st. Make a list of the changes you want to make and start today. Be it getting those niggling health concerns checked out, improving your diet, fitness levels, or sleep, or simply vowing to be more socially active, commit to it, do it, and reap the benefits now.