2021 has been a year like no other. As we cautiously emerge into a world still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, it is vital that we prioritize our health and wellness so that we may enter into the New Year better, smarter, and stronger.
And the best part is, it doesn’t require big, drastic changes, but small, positive ones.
Here are three simple health and wellness goals to help you power into 2022:
Drink more water
Yes, you’ve heard it numerous times before, but water is vital to our health because it makes up around 60% of our body weight. Digestion, absorption, circulation, saliva production, nutrient transfer, and temperature regulation are all functions of our various physiological fluids.
During the day, fluid loss happens continuously through breathing, urine, stool, and skin evaporation. When we don’t ensure that our intake matches our output, we become dehydrated.
Water carries essential nutrients to all of our cells, including muscle cells, which helps to delay muscular fatigue. It also aids digestion, weight loss, detoxifies, and hydrates our skin. According to The Better Health Channel, women should have around 8 cups or two litres a day and men about ten cups or 2.6 litres.
As we adapt to new ways, it is normal to feel some negativity about the future, but this ultimately breeds stress in our bodies. We tend to pick up unhealthy habits in the process, such as mindlessly scrolling on social media to establish a stronger sense of connection with our peers and loved ones or stress-eating to alleviate the boredom of staying indoors.
It’s perfectly natural to feel sad, anxious, scared, furious, or any other emotion you’re feeling right now. The pandemic’s stress makes it even more necessary to practice self-care; continuous stress on your body can lead to major health problems like:
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
- and other ailments, including mental disorders like depression and anxiety, over time.
Here are some simple ways you can practice mindfulness:
- Check in with your body– what do you notice? What areas of your body are tense? Do you suffer from aches and pains? Do you get a heavy or light feeling? Bringing your attention to your body helps you refocus on the present and provides you with the information you need to effectively care for yourself.
- Practice gratitude: take a moment to focus solely on what is positive in your life right now.
- Watch your thoughts: What happens when you stop what you’re doing and observe your thoughts? You may be surprised at what you find.
- Mindful eating: We often sit down to a meal while scrolling through our phones, watching the telly, or reading a book; however, research has shown that when we eat mindfully, we digest our food more effectively, allowing us to absorb more vitamins and minerals and improving overall digestive health.
- Be an active listener: Often, when someone is speaking to us, we are already constructing a response in our heads before letting the person finish his or her sentence. Not convinced? Try it out: next time you have a conversation, pay full attention with your ears, heart, and intuition, and decide whether the quality of your discussions change.
- Focus on your breath: How are you breathing right now? Take 5 deep belly breaths and concentrate on inhaling and exhaling. Do this exercise three times and repeat it throughout your day to stay grounded and help you stay focused.
As much as possible, stick to your routines
All of us, to some degree, have been thrown off of our typical patterns. And it’s perfectly natural that during this period, we establish some unhealthy habits when we’re worried, such as staying up late or binge-watching Netflix all day.
Even if you don’t usually thrive on structure, having a routine might be beneficial in times of uncertainty, stress, and unpredictability. Adding order to your day can help you feel more in control. It can also help you focus, organize, and be more productive.
It’s important to remember that having a routine is about more than just your day-to-day duties and job; you should also schedule time for self-care. So consider your usual schedule and, if possible, stick to it. For example, stick to a consistent wake-up and bedtime plan, replace your gym routine with at-home workouts, and maintain your study timetable.
You’ll find that your stress levels will fall, your health will improve, and you’ll enjoy a better nights’ rest.