Every year, you get to excitedly cross off the last few days on the calendar as you inch closer to a fresh start.
But what if that “fresh start” doesn’t promise anything new?
If you’re tired of the date changing while you remain the same, it may be time to focus on yourself this year. If you want to make 2021 better than its predecessors, read on for four ways to focus on your health and well-being in the new year!
#1 Seize the Day
The early bird gets the worm, but what do you do if you’re more of a night owl?
You can’t transform your sleeping habits all in one night, but making an effort to wake up just a little bit earlier can be a wonderful adjustment for the New Year. Some positive side effects of having ample morning time include:
- Improved circadian rhythm – When you (consistently) wake up early, you set your body up to experience deeper, more restful sleep later on. A good night’s snooze can do wonders for energy levels, emotional regulation, and cognitive functioning.
- More sunlight – Getting up earlier is especially helpful during dreaded daylight savings time when the sun seems to set the minute you’ve begun your day. Sunlight has been shown to boost levels of serotonin in the brain and combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in those who suffer from winter-time blues.
- Alone time – No matter how much you love your family and friends, it’s always good to spend a few hours to yourself each day. Waking up early will provide much-needed alone time with the added benefit of peace and quiet (two words you may have forgotten altogether if you have kids).
If you’re struggling to get out of bed in the morning, you may want to invest in an alarm app, like Sleep Cycle, that analyzes your sleeping habits to wake you up when you’re closest to wakefulness, rather than in the depths of REM sleep. This can alleviate grogginess and further exhaustion during the day.
#2 Nurture Your Passions
Resist the urge to cast passions aside, even in the busiest of times. Whether you use the weekends, an hour or two after work, or even some much-needed vacation days, making space in your schedule to enjoy hobbies can have a lasting effect on your mental and emotional health.
Here are a few easy ways to dive into and prioritize this aspect of your life:
- Joining a club or online community for your hobby
- Using a goal-setting app to make strides in your chosen activity
- Taking a class to build on a skill you have
- Looking into freelance work to turn your passion into a side hustle
#3 Eat Right and Exercise
Taking care of your physical health—in addition to mental and emotional health—is a major step toward improved well-being.
Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise each day is a great way to take care of your body. Of course, you don’t have to become a personal trainer or fitness guru, but try to squeeze in some (fun!) activity whenever you can.
Start to implement these changes in your daily life until they become second nature:
- Take your dog for a walk
- Play with your kids at the park
- Use a natural supplement, like an organic CBD tincture, for joint and muscle pain
- Eat at least one serving of fruits and vegetables with each meal
- Add a multivitamin to fill dietary gaps and support health
#4 Put Your Needs First
When your long to-do list includes making lunch for the kids, picking up your husband’s dry cleaning, and driving the whole gang to soccer practice, it can be tempting to forget about your own needs.
Start setting clear boundaries with the people in your life. No, this doesn’t mean letting your kids fend for themselves. We’re talking about all of the other obligations you agree to that you don’t really want to do. Ask yourself these questions before committing to a situation you may be on the fence about:
- Will this improve my life?
- Am I going to regret doing this?
- Do I truly want this, or am I trying to please someone else?
- Is this making me feel good?
New Year, New You (But For Real This Time)
Improving your overall health doesn’t have a quick-fix or fast forward button. It takes time, dedication, and a ton of self-love to achieve a higher sense of well-being.
Fortunately, you’ll have plenty of motivation to set out on this incredible journey. Once you start to see the positive effects of these healthy choices, it’ll be that much easier to keep making them—until they don’t feel like choices at all!