Simple Changes To Make for Better Health and Wellness in 2019

 

If you’re like me, when New Year’s rolls around, you find yourself dreading the thought of making a long list of resolutions that you know you probably won’t keep long enough to improve your life. After a few weeks, all those resolutions fall by the wayside and you get back to your regular routine whether good or bad. This year, I decided to do something different. Instead of making resolutions, I decided to keep things simple and focus on three things (so as not to overwhelm myself) and really try to improve those areas. I find with longer lists, we tend to get overwhelmed and end up biting off more than we can chew. So, I chose three things that I would like to change the most and I felt like would result in more personal health and happiness for me, and am going to focus on those.

I’m going to focus on consuming less caffeine, eating a more plant-based diet by eating vegetarian meals twice a week, and meditating daily, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. I feel like these goals will help me align with where I want to be moving forward.

I’ve compiled a list of things that you can do as well to work toward healthier habits, and I would also suggest choosing three (but no more than five) to focus on and really integrate new healthier habits into your life.

Get more sleep

It’s no secret that getting proper sleep is essential to being healthy. Our sleep impacts everything from our ability to focus to our weight. Getting the all-important REM sleep, which stimulates the brain regions used in learning. However, many of us are not getting the minimum 7 hours per night of sleep that we need for optimal health. This is due to many factors, but it is truly not negotiable. The effect of not getting enough sleep or poor quality sleep can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Making sure you get enough sleep on a regular basis is crucial. If your sleep routine is less than stellar, examine what factors are preventing you from getting good sleep and take the steps to fix them.

Check out this article for tips on getting better sleep.

Drink more water, less caffeine

Whether you are a coffee lover like myself or not, the statistics don’t lie. Most people are not drinking enough water, leaving us dehydrated. We have a habit of drinking a lot of beverages that are likely to dehydrate us, including caffeine which is a diuretic. Our bodies are comprised of 75% water and our brains are 85% water, so many times if we’re feeling lightheaded we think we need to eat, but in actuality, our body is signaling that we need to drink some water. 2

One of the main reasons why people don’t drink enough water is that they don’t like the taste. If that applies to you, invest in a water bottle with a fruit infuser and add your favorite fruit flavors to spark up your water. Healthy doesn’t have to mean boring.

Make your meals special

Like it or not, eating on the run has snuck its way daily life. We eat in the car, while walking, working and sitting at our desks, all while not really appreciating or enjoying our meal time or the food we’re eating. In order for our brain to process that we’ve eaten a meal, make it special by sitting at a table, taking a break from whatever activity you were doing before to focus solely on eating your food. Savor each bite and use the 20/20 rule- chew each bite 20 times and try to make your meal last at least 20 minutes. Eating with family and friends is a great way to catch up and is an amazing stress reliever as well.

Eat more produce

Many studies have shown that eating less meat and more plant- based diet leads to increased energy, and better health outcomes. Not only that, but a study conducted by, shows that Americans eat much more meat than we need daily, consuming on average oz.  In 2019, make it a priority to find alternative sources of protein and substitute those for meat-based proteins. Incorporating beans, lentils, chia seeds, greek yogurt, spinach and other non-meat sources of protein will boost your health dramatically. Aim for 2-3 days per week for best results.

Meal prep

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but if you are looking to make significant changes to your health, it all starts with what you put into your body. The easiest way to ensure you’re not going to grab a bag of chips or run through the drive through is to meal prep weekly. It takes about 1-2 hours but provides you with an easier alternative than prepping each meal immediately beforehand. Not to mention, it’s cheaper and more likely healthier than trying to figure out what you’re going to eat on the fly. Choosing a couple of vegetables, whole grains, one or two proteins, as well as cheese, beans and placing them all ready to go in containers for easy to grab lunches and dinners will make any diet plan breezy.

Develop a self-care plan

Finding the time for a self-care routine can be challenging, but it’s so worth it! Whether it’s a bi-weekly massage, spin class, or making time to see a friend, find those things that feed and nurture your spirit and do them regularly. Your mental health, as well as physical health, will improve, and your productivity at work as well.

Digital Detox

In the fast-paced world that we’re living in, it can be tempting to constantly be checking on social media, email, and your various timelines. We are all connected, but sometimes we just need to take a break. Whether it’s deciding not to answer emails after a certain time, or taking several days away from social media, come up with a plan to separate from digital stimulation and focus on something else. Your eyes, and your brain will thank you.

Get to Tapping

If you’re not familiar with tapping, you should be. Formally called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Tapping Therapy, it’s credited with a multitude of health benefits including reducing chronic stress, improving joint pain, decreasing fatigue and increasing energy, as well as wards off depression and anxiety. It basically involves tapping near endpoints of energy meridiens which reduces tension and improves focus. The technique has its roots in traditional acupuncture and involves tapping along particular meridiens to promote mental and physical healing. For more information on tapping including how to do it correctly.3

Ultimately, making small changes will pay great dividends. It’s extremely hard to change all of our habits at once, but if you dedicate to just focus on one or two changes initially, then build from there, the improvements to your mental and physical health will be well worth it.

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