The beginning of the new year is a time to examine and consider the lifestyle changes that will help us prepare for the future.
Taking care of ourselves, both physically and mentally, is vital to our health. With the COVID-19 pandemic showing little sign of abating any time soon, this is more important now than ever.
But what simple health and lifestyle changes can we all make to help us stay mentally and physically healthy in 2022? Newsweek asked diet, fitness, psychology and health experts for their top tips as we head into the new year.
Stacking Habits and Breaking Bad Habits
Debbie Petitpain, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says Newsweek One helpful approach is to start adding a new habit to a ritual you already perform—this is called “habit stacking”.
For example, while making coffee, you can drink a large glass of water to start the day. In addition, you can break a bad habit by making a few changes to existing habits.
For example, “if you usually walk from work and go straight to the kitchen for a snack, change the door you go through and which room you enter first,” says Petitpain. “Maybe you walk around to the back door and into the bedroom to change into comfortable clothes or go into the garage and head straight to greet your excited pet.”
If it’s your habit to pour an alcoholic drink right after you finish your dinner, try going out and taking a quick 10-minute walk instead, even if you have to temporarily undo washing your face.
“If you have a habit of lying in bed and scrolling your phone instead of sleeping more, turn off the device when you lock the door or leave the children,” she says.
Focus on the behaviors you can control, not the results
According to Petitpain, we should be very specific when setting goals and have realistic expectations.
“For example, instead of saying, ‘I’m going to eat healthier,’ say, ‘I’m going to add a vegetable to every lunch and dinner.” It’s easy to tell if you’ve hit the second goal. Set a day in the month to evaluate how that goal is progressing and make adjustments as needed,” she says.
“Your goals should focus on behavior you can control, not the outcome you want. For example, instead of ‘I’m going to lose 5 pounds this month,’ say, ‘I’m going for a walk. 10 minutes after working Monday through Friday.'”
“You know the rhetorical question, ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’ It’s important not to bite more than you can chew. If you try to start too many new habits at once, you won’t get into the habit of maintaining the foundation and it’s easier to feel overwhelmed. , schedule regular checkups with to track — and adjust — your progress, and remember that ‘better’ is a journey, not a destination.”
Keep the changes simple — and go to bed early
Lydia Di Francesco, a health consultant, personal trainer and mental health advocate, tells Newsweek Her entire wellness philosophy is founded on the principle of “keeping things simple.”
“We have a tendency to complicate things while at the same time wishing for that miracle pill to make our dreams come true,” she says. “The bad news is that there is no magic pill, but the good news is that there are some simple habits you can do that have a huge impact on your overall physical and mental health.”
Di Francesco says the “number one tip” she shares with everyone is to go to bed by 10:30 p.m. at the latest.
“Long enough, good quality sleep It’s one of the most underrated healthcare strategies, she says. When we sleep, the body repairs and restores itself. Sleep also activates hormonal processes that impact our activity levels during the day. “
“If you go to bed later than 10:30 p.m., start pushing your bedtime by 15 minutes until your time is up. You also want to prepare your body for sleep. To do this, dim the lights during the day. home around 9 p.m. This signals you Your body is at night, starts producing melatonin and makes you sleepy. Also, stop major activities around this time. If you like , do some relaxing activities, such as reading, journaling, taking a bath, or meditating.”
Another easy habit to incorporate into your daily life — and one that’s beneficial — is to take a walk outside.
“This doesn’t have to be a long walk; 10 to 15 minutes is great. If you can do more, even better,” says Di Francesco. “Walking in the morning before work keeps you awake and energized to start the day, however, walking any time is beneficial.”
“Research shows that walking lowers cortisol (your stress hormone), lowers blood sugar, and makes you more creative. If you can’t walk to walk, that’s okay. Just do it. another activity while walking, such as making a phone call, listening to a podcast or audiobook, or even listening to meditation — just make sure to keep your eyes open!”
Start practicing self-compassion
Licensed psychologist, yoga teacher and wellness speaker Justine Grosso tells Newsweek that starting to practice compassion is a small way to combat self-criticism in the new year.
“This is especially important because self-criticism has been linked to social anxiety, depression and trauma-related disorders,” she says. “Developing a compassionate stance towards one’s goals for the New Year is also particularly important given how much pressure there is to adopt new habits and make changes at this time of year. “
“Compassion gives people space to have big emotions or make mistakes, without making it an inherent flaw of character.”
Exercise and eat a balanced diet
Nordine Zouareg, a high-performance coach and former Mr. Universe, say Newsweek that we can strengthen our body well-being by exercising for at least 20 minutes a day while eating healthy and balanced meals.
“I usually prescribe a combination of strength training, cardio, and flexibility
“He said ‘Yoga is also one of my favorite ways to bridge the gap between mind and body. When it comes to nutrition, I recommend small, healthy and balanced meals consisting of 40% biological value protein, 40% low/medium glycemic index carbohydrates, 20% good and clean fats (mono-saturated oil) and at least 8 large glasses of watering per day. “
When it comes to boosting your emotional well-being, Zouareg says meditation, spending quality time with family, listening to music, reading, writing, walking in nature and going on vacation are all good options.
“Checking in on your mental health is a must if you want to achieve high performance and produce optimal productivity,” he says.
https://www.newsweek.com/simple-health-lifestyle-changes-healthier-feel-better-2022-1662244 Simple lifestyle changes you can make to feel better in 2022