A new year is a transition. We reset our goals, make grand plans, and aim to be better people. For many of us, that means being more conscious of our physical and mental well-being. Though leading a healthier life can be difficult, some changes have huge effects, with the added benefit of being fairly simple to achieve.
Rather than setting a new year’s resolution that is nearly impossible to keep, focusing on these activities will have you leading a much healthier life in 2023.
Okay, it may be a cliche to make “exercising more” your New Year’s resolution, but it is one of the most impactful choices you can make for your overall health. This doesn’t mean that you need to go sign up for a gym and personal trainer—though those may help if you have the means.
A simpler approach is just to incorporate more movement into your days. Take walks during breaks and avoid sitting down for too long. Use the stairs occasionally, rather than the elevator. Even small bits of exercise add up quickly.
In recent years, more experts are discovering just how much our guts affect our health. The gut microbiome has links to conditions like depression, anxiety, immune deficiencies, and dementia.
Many factors influence the microbiome, but diet plays one of the largest roles. By adding more probiotics and prebiotics into your diet, you can strengthen your gut health and fight against a range of chronic issues. Yogurt and other fermented foods are great sources of probiotics, while oats, cereals, and garlic provide plenty of prebiotics. Aim to add your favorite ones into your diet at least a couple of times a week.
While it can be difficult to carve out time in a busy schedule for a hobby or leisurely activity, doing so can have dramatic effects on your physical and mental well-being. Taking time away from daily stressors and enjoying yourself has ties to lower blood pressure, better perceptions of physical function, positive psychosocial states, and lower levels of depression.
Essentially, this means that a hobby can help boost your mood and improve your body’s function at the same time.
Poor posture is a problem that affects pretty much everyone at some point in their lives. Practicing ideal body alignment prevents your joints and muscles from experiencing excess stress, which lowers the risk of injury.
Good posture can also boost your mood and productivity. Making a habit of standing up straight takes time and conscious effort, but is well worth the commitment.
Alcohol plays an interesting role in many people’s lives. Drinking at bars or with friends helps fill a need for social interaction, but can also encourage dangerous habits like binge drinking.
Mindful drinking is essentially the concept of being intentional with your decisions around alcohol. This helps fight issues like addiction or binge drinking without cutting drinking out entirely. It might also save you some money!
Sleeping more is often far easier said than done. However, getting an adequate amount of restful sleep can have miraculous effects on your health. Poor sleep quality or a lack of sleep can lead to issues that affect all of your body’s major systems, including your respiratory, cardiac, and neurological functions.
If you want to shoot for this positive change in 2023, try different sleeping positions, heading to bed at the same time every day, creating a more comfortable sleeping environment, or limiting your caffeine and alcohol consumption.
You should have a quality skincare routine, but not just because it helps your skin look soft and dewy. Your skin protects your body in many ways. After all, it’s the first barrier against bacteria and other hazards.
Taking care of it involves avoiding direct sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) rays that age your skin and cause cancer. Use warm instead of hot water in the shower and apply moisturizing creams regularly. Humidifiers can be particularly helpful if you live in a dry environment.
That’s right, listening to more music can actually make you healthier. Studies of music’s effects across fields like music therapy, music education, and simply listening during daily life have found some pretty significant results.
For some people, listening to music is a practice in mindfulness that boosts their mood and helps fight depression and anxiety. In other cases, intentional music listening can reduce the perception of pain, lower agitation, and improve cognitive processes. If you sing along, you’re also combating lung and heart conditions and even improving your posture.
Chances are, you’re not drinking enough water. Staying properly hydrated is integral to regulating body temperature, preventing infection, keeping joints lubricated, delivering nutrients, and generally making sure your organs function properly. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated and experiencing the symptoms of not having enough fluids.
Drink water throughout the day, not only when you’re thirsty. You should also try to stay away from sugar-sweetened drinks like sodas and energy drinks whenever possible. Not only are these beverages more harmful to your health, but they often contain caffeine and other ingredients that worsen dehydration.
If you’ve been on any health blogs or news sites in the past few years, you’ve probably seen someone talking about the Mediterranean diet. This meal plan consists of foods that you might find in the Mediterranean, like fruits, vegetables, grains, olive oil, and low to moderate amounts of eggs, dairy, fish, and poultry.
The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets you can follow because it is high in nutrients and low in sugar, sodium, and refined carbohydrates. Plus, following this diet prevents heart disease and stroke while also fighting obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.