How to Prioritize Your Health this Year
Another year gone, and it’s time to start fresh! The beginning of a new year is a great opportunity to set new goals, make progress on existing ones, quit bad habits, and create helpful ones!
Whether you want to make big New Year Resolutions or simply focus on small positive changes you can maintain, now is a great time to focus on YOU and living an overall healthy balanced life.
Here are a few tips for prioritizing your health this upcoming year:
Make Time for You
Life is often overwhelming, busy, and chaotic with work, school, family obligations, holidays, etc.
It can be challenging to find time for yourself. But it’s essential to make time for self-care because mental health affects every other aspect of health, too.
Ignoring the stress in your life or putting off dealing with anxiety can trigger many different health problems, including inflammation, depression, headaches, heart disease, digestion problems, weight gain, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system.
Check your schedule to find around 30 minutes, in the morning, during lunch, or before bed, to spend time alone.
Go on a walk, try meditation, journal, or read. Check out these 14 Ways to Relieve Anxiety and Stress for some ideas.
Prioritize Healthy Connection
Healthy relationships and social connections are fundamental needs for our overall well-being. When considering your priorities and what is important to you, think about your relationships.
Are you a people pleaser? Do you need to consider setting more boundaries?
Sometimes, we say “yes” too often and need to learn how to say “no” when something doesn’t serve our well being or current goals.
Consider delegating some responsibilities and setting expectations in your relationships so you can have more time for yourself.
Or, perhaps, you want to be more vocal about your appreciation for your friends, spend more time with friends, and make an effort to strengthen your connections with them.
Meet friends for coffee, schedule dinner with your family, or seek out social groups to join to meet new people, like book clubs, volunteer groups, cooking classes, or gyms.
Research has shown that social support and feeling connected to others helps improve cardiovascular health, maintain a healthy body mass index, controls blood sugars, and improves overall mental health.
Try Healthy Snacks
Of course, one of the most vital parts of prioritizing your health is focusing on nutrition.
Snacking is a great way to stay satisfied, energetic, nourished and to keep our blood sugar balanced throughout the day. So, consider trying new recipes for healthy snacks to keep around the house.
Some of my favorite snacks are Energy Bites, for which you can find several recipes here. Also, feel free to check out these recipes for fun ways to get your kids involved with you in the kitchen so you can teach them about the importance of nutrition as well.
Also, embrace seasonal produce (for Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter) when trying new recipes! You might find a favorite meal that has a permanent place on your weekly menu.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep touches every other aspect of health and is often forgotten amid a hectic life.
Like eating and drinking, sleep is an essential function that your body needs to survive and function properly, and a lack of sleep, or sleep deprivation, can have several consequences.
So, when prioritizing your health, consider how often you sleep and how much good quality sleep you get.
If you need more, check out this article for Natural Remedies for Better Sleep or this one for 13 Tips For Improving Your Sleep.
Overnight isn’t the only time you can rest, though. Napping can be a great way to spend time alone, relax, and reduce fatigue. It also has other positive effects, such as improving cognition, memory, and alertness, boosting immunity, and improving mood. But napping can be negative, so check out this article for the Do’s and Don’ts of Healthy Napping.
Find Small Ways to be Active
Here’s another fundamental aspect of health that is easily pushed to the side.
Exercise aids in improved mood, burning calories, losing weight, building muscle, boosting self-esteem, sleep quality, energy, and reducing the risk of several diseases.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults aim to be physically active for at least 150 minutes each week, which can be half an hour five days a week.
But exercise doesn’t have to be a big, overwhelming event you can’t face. It can be smaller activities that you enjoy. Check out this post for fun ideas to be more active without a formal workout program.
Also, one of my favorite ways to be active is to get outside more, which brings me to our sixth and last tip for prioritizing your health this year!
Spend Time Outside
There are several benefits of getting outdoors and breathing fresh air. Some health benefits of regularly spending time outside are an improved mood, lower risk of diseases, and boosted immunity.
How we interact with nature and how much time we spend outside, both exercising and just enjoying all it has to offer, will reflect in our health status.
During this new year, prioritize your health by stepping outside and enjoying Mother Nature.
Go hiking, kayaking, meet friends at the park, take your dog on a walk, or simply sit on your front porch in the morning to hear the birds chirp.
Get more tips for spending time outside by checking out our guides for getting outside in the Summer and in the winter.
You likely do not need significant, overwhelming changes or lofty goals you might not reach to make this a GREAT year.