Whether you made a New Year’s Day resolution to improve a particular part of your health or you’ve realized midway through the year that your health isn’t where you’d like it to be, it’s not too late to make some changes. Improving your health not only helps you feel better now, but it can lower your risk of chronic conditions, illnesses, and injuries later in life. Read on to learn about six ways you can give your health a boost in 2021.
Reduce Technology Use
If you’ve ever said to yourself, “just five more minutes,” on social media, you’re not alone. Most people spend more time than is recommended on their phones, tablets, and computers. A lot of that time isn’t work-related. Browsing online stores, scrolling through endless social media feeds, and looking at the day’s news wastes a lot of time.
It also gets in the way of real life. You miss out on in-person relationships when you’re always using technology. To improve your health, consider taking time to turn off the TV, and walk your dog. Power down your phone, and, instead, play a board game with a friend or go grab a coffee together. Reducing technology usage will improve your mood, and allow you to sleep better.
Get More Sleep
Getting more sleep is often easier said than done. Perhaps your boss texts you late into the night and expects you to log onto your work platforms early in the day. Maybe you’re a parent whose kids are larks, and you have to stay up late in order to get household chores, exercise and quiet time to yourself. However, getting more sleep is essential to your health. Your body repairs tiny injuries and removes metabolic waste products while you sleep. Your brain clears out toxins and forms memories.
A lack of sleep is associated with an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and dementia. In the short-term, decreased sleep leads to depression, mood disorders, fuzzy thinking, impulsive behavior, appetite changes, weight gain, and other problems. Practice good sleep hygiene. See a sleep medicine specialist if you can’t seem to fall asleep or stay asleep.
You don’t have to be religious to be spiritual. Practicing inner peace can help lower your level of anxiety, reduce the symptoms of depression and help your mood. When you have meaning and a sense of purpose in your life, you’ll feel better about yourself. Some spiritual techniques include daily yoga, meditation, and prayer. You’ll gain more awareness, feel more connected, and know the value of forgiveness.
If you’re like most Americans, you most likely spend most of your time indoors. Going outside may lower the symptoms of depression. In most homes, the indoor air quality is up to five times worse than that of the outdoor air. Spending time outdoors could help you breathe easier.
Take a nature walk. Go sit on a park bench. If you want more of a physical challenge, take a hike. Go swimming, skiing or boating. Find a beautiful place, and watch the wildlife. Bring your camera, and take photos of the plants and animals. If you’re an artist, bring your supplies so that you can draw, sketch or paint the landscape.
Try Something New
When you get stuck in a rut, it’s not good for your brain or the rest of your body. Many people underestimate the impact of sleep on your body. You can start with tracking how many hours per night your sleeping on your current mattress. If you seem to be tossing and turning all night, it might be time for a new mattress.
Mattress technology has changed drastically over the past ten years. The first thing you have to ask yourself is, do I want a foam mattress or an innerspring mattress? The most common type of mattress these days is memory foam mattresses.
Another option is an adjustable bed. You can customize your own sleep position no matter what ailment you have. The comfort of an adjustable mattress can greatly increase the number of hours you get per night, thus increasing your energy level the next day.
Long-term health, both physical and mental, is closely tied to what we eat and drink. In fact, research has shown that eating healthier, cleaner foods can improve mental wellbeing. Consider less prepackaged food and try to eat from vegetables and fruits you can purchase at the store. Consider eating vegetarian or avoiding meat for one meal a week. When you’re stressed, avoid using alcohol, drugs or tobacco as a coping mechanism as it can lead to poor habits and poor mental health.
If you are halfway through 2021 and not where you want to be- don’t feel discouraged! Every day is a new chance to improve your health and create better habits. You don’t have to implement all these things to get started, you just have to start somewhere, so find one thing you can improve on daily, and soon you will be on the road to better health.