The new year can be an exciting time — the promise of new beginnings and fresh starts. It’s also a good time to recommit to your health and well-being. Creating health resolutions is easy enough. Sticking to them past the month of January, however, is another story.
These are the resolutions health professionals wish you would make and keep in 2018:
- Practice mindful eating – In these days of technology and devices, it’s common to eat with your eyes glued to a screen. Unfortunately, distracted eating often leads to overeating. Slow down and pay attention to your food, pausing to put down the fork or spoon between bites. It’s easier to notice when you feel full, plus you’re more likely to enjoy the foods you eat. Resolve to cut down on guilty pleasures, but don’t prohibit them completely. Enjoy your cravings once in a while, and it will make staying on track the rest of the time easier.
- Chill out and rest up — According to Johns Hopkins sleep expert Rachel Salas, M.D., when it’s time to sleep, it’s time to chill – literally. Lowering the thermostat to 68 degrees or colder before you tuck into bed can help you sleep better. Darken your room by drawing the curtains or dimming the display on your alarm clock to really get that quality sleep. If vowing to get eight hours of sleep every night is totally unrealistic, tell yourself you’ll go to bed 15 minutes earlier than your usual bedtime. Keep shifting that number earlier and earlier. If you keep doing it, eventually you will be going to sleep at an hour that makes better sense for your life.
- Be grateful — Take some time at the beginning or end of the day to reflect on what you’re grateful for. Reminding ourselves of the small, everyday positive aspects of our lives helps to develop a sense of balance and perspective that can enhance well-being. Research has shown that those who regularly journal what they’re grateful for sleep better, work out more, and visit the doctor less. If keeping a journal isn’t for you, you can download gratitude-centric apps for your smartphone.
- Find 30 minutes a day to walk — Getting the recommended 30 minutes of exercise each day can be as simple as taking a walk. If you’re very busy, take three 10-minute walks throughout your day. Make it fun! Grab a partner at work to get you through your lunch routine, or have a friend or family member meet you for an evening stroll. Instead of worrying about working out during the week, focus on accumulating more steps during your day-to-day activities. Even 500 extra steps for five days can lead to significant changes. You can schedule breaks during the day to stroll around the block or walk to your coworkers’ desks instead of emailing. This way, you’re focusing on overall wellness rather than just shedding pounds. Making small, daily changes such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator may seem minor, but they can make a big difference for your heart in the long run.
Happy, Healthy, New Year from all of us at VIP Surg!