Normally after a holiday season of indulgence, improving your health becomes a priority. This year more than ever, health will be top of mind as we work towards ending this pandemic for good. For most of us, resolutions are hard to stick to because they require a major shift from the way we normally operate. As we all try to balance staying healthy and safe during a pandemic, among other things, let’s go easy on ourselves in 2021. Instead of creating a list of goals for yourself, enter 2021 with a New Year’s mindset to do what you can, when you can to improve your health one small lifestyle change at a time. Westmed’s Behavioral Health team has put together a list of suggested lifestyle changes you can make today!
Incorporate More Movement Into Your Day
Moving your body is key to maintaining both physical and mental health. As Dr. Sandy Marantz says “move your body, change a thought.” Going for a walk, doing an hour of yoga, or even stretching for 5 minutes can do wonders to improve your mood and outlook.
Did you know that reading increases your vocabulary and helps you keep your mind active? Some studies report that reading fiction and exploring intricate characters leads to deeper empathy and social relationships. Other studies have shown that reading may even help to reduce stress. Most healthcare practitioners recommend you turn off your screens at least an hour before bed time to help you fall asleep. Why not pick up an inspirational story to help you get in the right mind frame for a good night sleep?*
Look After Your Emotional and Mental Health
If you are struggling with something, it’s a good idea to talk to someone you love and get those feelings out. A good conversation and deeper connection can go a long way to making you feel supported and validated. If you’re feeling a little isolated, it could also help to write down your feelings or find a behavioral health provider to help you find healthy solutions to manage your problems and your thoughts.
Dr. Sandy Marantz also suggests you create a “gratitude attitude”, by sitting comfortably in a chair, taking deep breaths until you feel relaxed and then writing down ten people and ten things you are grateful for. It’s helpful to do this twice a day if you can, in the morning and before you go to sleep. It is crucial for everyone to focus on what they have in life, and not focus on what they don’t have. If you start your day and end your day with gratitude you will remember the good people and things in your life and not focus on the opposite.
Get a Little R&R
Despite being able to work at home, many people are experiencing burnout. One thing you can do to boost your immune system and wind down is seek out time for rest and relaxation. It doesn’t always have to mean getting 10 hours of sleep. Sometimes a good bath or ten minutes alone with a cup of coffee or tea, is enough to help you feel rejuvenated. Try to find time each day to set aside for yourself. Also, creating a consistent night time routine and bedtime, will help signal your body that it is time for bed. According to Westmed Psychologist, Dr. Melinda Massoff, ensuring you have enough restful sleep is the ultimate form of “self-care.”
Do Something Kind
Doing nice things for others, can help put you in a good mood and being in a good mood actually boosts your serotonin levels. While you’re doing that kind act, you are helping someone out and also helping yourself. During these days of limited social contact, it never hurts to reach out and help somebody – you may just make someone’s day or maybe even their week!