By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
Many people resolve to make lifestyle changes for the better, whether that’s to get more sleep, lose weight or to have more time to do the things they love.
Every year brings new opportunities to learn and move forward, so let’s make 2020 your year! Here are nine resolutions that will boost your health this year, and for the rest of your life. Rather than rushing to try to make them all happen in the first few weeks of the year. Maybe take on one or two each month and see how it goes.
Many people start off their year committing to more exercise. Make exercise fun and plan to fit it into your life regularly! All too often I see people committing to an intense exercise program that they don’t enjoy and are unlikely to keep up over the long haul. Book fun exercise classes, allocate a regular time that will work in the long-term and mix it up.
Include juices to up your fruit and vegetable game easily. Make sure your main meals contain some color and work on eating the rainbow consistently throughout the day. You can have fruit and vegetables for breakfast, green smoothie for mid-morning tea, salad for lunch, a juice for afternoon tea and vegetables at night and you will have it sorted in no time. Add healthy proteins and healthy fats to these meal bases.
If you smoke, kicking this unhealthy habit is important for good health. Did you know that increasing your vegetable intake can work against nicotine cravings and making quitting easier?
If you drink excessively it might be a good idea to try a dry month to give your body the rest it deserves. Making fun mocktails at parties and enjoying alcohol-free drinks is highly recommended; nominating yourself as designated driver can also make it easier to resist those drinks.
This is probably one of the most common New Year’s resolutions (38 percent of people in the U.S. set this goal each year). So often people make it a priority and by February the habits are slowly falling by the wayside. Commit to a few healthy principles and keep it going for the long-term; if we try to make too many changes all at once sometimes it can feel all too hard.
Try making some smaller changes to your dietary habits, such as eating more fruits and vegetables daily. Wait until you’ve adjusted to this new healthy habit before making another healthy change — remember to be patient with yourself and the results.
This can be a great way to jump-start healthy habits, cut the cravings, reduce your appetite and learn more about plant-based nutrition. Drinking juice is a great way to reenergize your body and refuel after the holiday season.
Running around after everyone else can become exhausting particularly if we are not refueling our own energy emotionally, physically and spiritually. Making a regular date with yourself must be a priority whether it’s going to a hobby class, committing to exercise or taking time to just relax!
A little stress here and there is not a problem — in fact, it can be fun when it’s good stress over something new or exciting. But over-the-top chronic busyness and keeping up with deadline after deadline can be too much. This level of stress can cause fatigue, insomnia, exhaustion, anxiety and even depression. Committing to meditation classes, practicing yoga and other forms of stress management can really help to reduce those levels of stress hormones that can cause havoc on your health.
Spending time with people that you care about should be a big priority. It is estimated that 50 percent of people vow to spend more time with family and friends and plan to appreciate their time more. When experts review healthy habits of people who live long and healthy lives, community and time spent with loved ones plays an important part in long-term wellness. Studies suggest that social connections are as important as not smoking for life expectancy.
Without adequate sleep everything becomes harder. Nothing can replace sleep no matter how many lattes you down. Sleep is where hormones are regenerated, tissues are restored and repaired and true energy is manufactured. Without enough sleep your immune system will be suppressed; you’ll be chronically tired, moving toward long-term poor health and reducing your own life expectancy. Resolve to work on getting more shut eye this year!