Unprecedented events of the past year have taken a toll on all of us. The strain has shaken our financial, physical and mental well-being. The upheaval will not last forever, but we will be dealing with the aftermath for a while to come. Now as much as ever, it is important to make maintaining a healthy lifestyle a priority. Here are basic tips for improving your health and wellness in 2021.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Diet does not necessarily mean limiting what you consume. It is about eating the right things at the most optimal time. A well-balanced diet, consisting of proteins, fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and healthy fats, keeps both the body and mind performing well.
It is important to get the right nutrients and limit empty fat and sugar calories. Your metabolism functions best in the morning, so start out the day with a big breakfast, followed by a healthy midday meal and then a small dinner not too late in the evening. Have healthy snacks on hand when your body needs fuel between meals.
Supplement Your Diet
It may not always be easy to find time to shop for and prepare healthy meals. Vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables may be hard to come by during parts of the year. Vitamin supplements are a good way to make sure your body is getting sufficient levels of the right nutrients. A healthy lifestyle program like Thrive Experience is also an effective way to fill in diet nutritional gaps and keep your mind and body operating at peak performance.
Your body needs to stay hydrated to help keep all the body systems working correctly. Water transports nutrients and oxygen to cells, flushes bacteria from the bladder, aids in digestion, cushions the joints, stabilizes blood pressure and heartbeat, and regulates temperature. Generally healthy people should drink 4 to 6 cups of water per day. Individuals who are exercising should consume more than that.
Maintain a Sleep Routine
Sleep helps the body repair and recover. Lack of sleep increases risk of weight gain and heart disease. Not getting enough sleep can also lead to problems with memory, thinking and depression.
It is important to establish a consistent bedtime and waking up routine. Get an average of seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Experts suggest you get a better night’s sleep by minimizing alcohol or caffeine consumption late in the day, as well as limiting exercise and use of electronics just before bedtime. As part of your bedtime routine, include a relaxing activity to help your mind wind-down, such as reading, journaling or meditation.
Regular exercise is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Physical activity facilitates reduced risk for heart and other diseases, stress relief, a healthy body weight, better sleep and cognitive improvements. The Centers for Disease Control recommends adults get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity each week, but many people are just not going to reach this goal. You do not have to be a fitness fanatic. The most important thing is to get yourself moving. Sitting for long periods of time is not good for you, so at a minimum break from watching TV or sitting at a desk and get up to walk around the room.
Practice Good Hand Hygiene
Good hygiene is important when it comes to fighting disease. Keep up the healthy practice of frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. In addition to removing viruses, hand washing takes care of bacteria and other harmful substances that you may have touched with your hands.
It is important to take preventative measures with annual checkups, health screenings, lab work and immunizations. Make getting back on track with doctor’s appointments part of your 2021 health and wellness goals.
Sometimes just tracking what you are doing to stay healthy is the motivation that keeps you going. There are various apps, many of which are free, that you can use to track your daily movement, sleep, heart rate and even diet.
Manage Mental Health
Mental well-being is just as important as physical health, especially when many people are experiencing feelings of fear, anxiety, sadness, and uncertainty. You need to find ways to manage stress. Let go of some obligations. Put away your phone for a certain amount of time each day. Limit exposure to social media. Review how you spend your time and adjust your work-life balance if it causes stress or burnout.
It is not realistic to eliminate all stress from your life, but try to minimize it. If you find yourself overwhelmed or unable to cope, take deep breaths, relax, and do not be afraid to ask for help or speak to someone.
2020 knocked everybody for a loop. Use these achievable tactics for improving your health and wellness in 2021.