It’s January 2021 and aren’t we relived that it’s a new year? One of the most important lessons we learned in 2020 is that our health is the most valuable asset and it needs to be nourished and protected more than ever. New Year creates a space for a reset and is a perfect oppourtunity for a fresh start and making changes. You can use these tips to guide you get started in a path to nurture your body, mind and spirit.
When forming healthy habits, regardless of what your goals are: focusing on making small changes on improving the quality of your diet, boosting your immune system, moving more, detoxing, spending more time in nature or practicing mindfulness techniques, these tips should motivate you enough to take the first step.
- Treat Food As Medicine. Food is much more than just fuel and calories. Start eating more whole and real food ingredients from mother nature and avoid ultra-processed and packaged foods. Incorporate a variety of colorful and seasonal fruits and vegetables into your daily routine. They provide a variety of nutrients with strong medicinal and health promoting properties. Remembering, mother nature has provided so much for our health.
- Avoid sugar. Most people don’t realize or think about how sugar is a part of their daily diet. Sugar consumption has been linked to many chronic diseases and obesity, plus sugar is our immune system’s enemy. Avoid simple sugars as much as possible. Educate yourself about where sugar is hiding in your diet. Unfortunately, added sugar is everywhere in the food supply. Salad dressings, milk, yogurt, sauces, baked goods, fortified cereals, frozen foods, energy drinks, protein bars and even some nut butters are all loaded with sugar. If you are buying anything with a long list of ingredients, it most probably has added sugar.
- Stock up on whole and healthy foods. A healthy kitchen equals healthy meals. Whole foods don’t come in a box with a list of ingredients which you can’t even pronounce. Remember, cauliflower or blueberries don’t have an ingredient list. If you have smart staples and nutritious ingredients in your refrigerator and pantry, you will eat healthier.
- Movement is medicine. Move your body as much as you can. If you are not active at all, start by taking small steps in increasing your physical activity. Start by incorporating a 5-7 minute walk or a short home workout session at any time that fits your schedule. Moving and regular exercise affects your body’s overall balance. It improves your metabolism, your immune system, your stress response, your mood and your sleep.
- Spend time in Nature. Getting out in nature can have incredible benefits. Allow yourself to spend as little as 10 minutes a day in nature to disconnect and fully be. Several studies have shown that time in nature and being exposed to natural light, has measurable positive effects. You can read more about benefits of spending time in nature and how you can incorporate daily nature practice into your life here.
- Make sleep a priority. Sleep is the time when your brain rests and cleanses. In addition, it’s during sleep that your body restores, repairs and detoxify itself. Cultivate a bedtime routine for a restful sleep. Getting adequate sleep plays a more vital role in our health than many people know. Long-term sleep deprivation can effect your mental health and put your physical health at real risk. Science has linked lack of quality sleep to poor immune system function, mood disorders and cardiovascular disease. Aim to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep.
- Practice mindfulness by creating space for yourself. Give yourself a break by giving yourself short periods of time to breath and to think. Start by taking just a few moments daily to breath and notice the sensation of your breath. Incorporate short yoga and guided meditation sessions into your daily routine, even if it’s only for 2 minutes. There are series of evidence suggesting that mindfulness improves our mood, increase positive emotions and reduce anxiety and depression. Additionally, mindfulness may improve the immune system and play a role in fighting some types of cancers.
- Be kind to others and yourself. Be as kind as you are to others to yourself. The biggest challenge we normally face is that most of us focus on being kind to others and forget to be kind to ourselves. No matter what, be a sunshine by spreading kindness into other peoples’ live and your own. Your body and soul will appreciate. it. This is the perfect time to recognize the value of being kind. The kinder we are to ourselves, the healthier we’ll be- Dr. Tom O’Bryan.
- Watch your thoughts. Our thoughts and our words have a profound effect on our energy, health and productivity. They can certainly hold us back from achieving our goals and reaching optimal health or help us get there. You can eat all the healthy organic foods from the farmers market, eat all greens, do the yoga and Pilates but if you don’t take care of what passes through your mind and heart, you are still unhealthy. If you are stressed and anxious with negative and low energy thoughts and conversations, your body isn’t going to function at its optimal level.