It’s the time of year when you set new goals and create new habits. This year, after undergoing a challenging 2020 and an equally uncertain 2021 already here, a great way to kick off the year is by being your healthiest self. Below are simple habits you can implement for a healthier you, no matter where you are at in your health journey.
Get More Sleep
Sleep is incredibly important for your physical health. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health.” Here are a few important things to note from NHLBI:
- Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke
- Sleep deficiency increases the risk of obesity
- Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry or full
- Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy
- Getting enough quality sleep at the right times helps you function well throughout the day
- It is recommended that teens get 8-10 hours of sleep a day, and adults over 18 get 7-8 hours of sleep a day
Some things that personally help me fall asleep and get better sleep throughout the night is avoiding caffeine after 4p.m., reading before bed, sleeping on clean and breathable sheets, and going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but moving your body is important. Cardio in particular makes me feel good mentally and physically, whether it’s running, HIIT, or an online class. There are so many free YouTube videos, apps, and workout programs at your fingertips (it’s almost overwhelming!). Or, you could literally just go outside for a walk. Explore what is fun for you and don’t be afraid to mix up your workouts. Feel free to check out our article on at-home exercise tips and resources.
Drink More Water
I know you’ve heard this a million times, but it’s really important to drink water and eat nutritious food. According to the Mayo Clinic, women need about 11.5 cups of water every day. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that drinking water helps your body:
- Maintain a normal temperature
- Lubricate and cushion joints
- Protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues
- Get rid of wastes
Something I’ve been doing lately is drinking a big glass of water in the morning before I eat or drink my coffee. It helps wake me up and reminds me to keep drinking water throughout the day. And while we’re on the topic of eating: I’m not a professional, but chances are if you can grow it in the ground or pick it from a tree, it’s probably better for me than the candy I crave during my fifth Zoom meeting of the day. I still eat candy sometimes, but I try to reach for nutritious foods more often.
Sit Still and Write
Meditation or journaling can be a helpful tool to calm your mind and practice gratitude. See EmpowHERto’s article on simple meditation techniques for teens. Even if I have a long to-do list, I find that taking time before the day to quiet my thoughts makes me feel more peaceful and ready to tackle the day ahead.
Do you have any health goals for 2021? What new routines are you going to implement this year and what would you add to this list?
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