We may not feel exhausted because our minds are strong. Chronic stress, however, will take its toll on our body.
Each year, we have a list of New Year’s resolutions, don’t we? But let’s face it, how many from that list do we get to succeed in? What could be the reason behind our failure to see progress? We aim for big changes but the truth is, our list can be overwhelming. Lose 50lbs in three months, exercise daily for one hour, and so on. Well, these are not exactly impossible to achieve and some have been successful, but not you. You have to reflect on your circumstance and capability. Be realistic.
Begin by making a short list of the changes you wish for yourself. Three would be a good number. One is good enough. Having difficulty deciding on what you need to change? Here are some small changes in your lifestyle that would make you healthier this coming year:
- Drink water regularly throughout the day.
Many get their hydration from beverages like coffee, milk tea, soda, and other sugary beverages. But ask them how much water they drink and you’ll hear two to four cups. That isn’t enough. This 2023, aim to drink a glass of water upon waking up, during every meal, in the evening and make it a habit to carry a water bottle. Intentionally drink plain water even when you are not thirsty. Being well hydrated will aid in weight management, keeping food cravings at bay, promote skin health, and more.
- Eat more plant food.
Experts recommend consuming at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Many don’t get to eat that much. Some even don’t have fresh produce on a daily basis. If you are one of them, then it’s time to intentionally incorporate fruits and vegetables in your diet. Begin by having fruit for dessert or snack. Add vegetables to one pot dishes like our local sinigang. Add in more kangkong instead of having more meat. Begin with having half a cup of cooked vegetables in your meals and gradually increase the amount while reducing the animal meat. Plant food contains not only vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They also have plant chemicals or phytonutrients that reduce inflammation, pain, and more.
- Take pockets of rest throughout the day.
We may not feel exhausted because our minds are strong. Chronic stress, however, will take its toll on our body. That is why we should intentionally take pauses throughout the day. If you’ve been on your desk for a couple of hours straight or have been in a meeting for half a day, take a three to five-minute break to just close your eyes, breathe, empty your mind, pray, drink water, or even stand up and walk in place. These pockets of rest, done throughout the day will help you calm down, bring your blood pressure and pulse rate down, and help prevent stress from damaging your health. Do this instead of reaching out for sweet treats or that bag of chips to combat stress.
- Take 10-minute walks daily.
Have you been sedentary for years? It’s time to get moving but if the thought of going to the gym overwhelms you, begin with basic walking. Schedule 10-minute walks daily. That should be a whole lot easier than outright enrolling in a gym, right? If you can’t walk outside or prefer not to, there are walking videos on You Tube that you can follow inside your bedroom or living room. The goal is to get you moving and being committed to scheduling exercise, albeit in short duration. If you get this habit done, then you can progress to longer and higher intensity exercises, preferably with the guidance of a professional fitness coach.
The key to a successful New Year’s resolution is to have commitment and consistency. There will be times when you find yourself having setbacks or lapses. That is ok. Don’t allow yourself to spiral down just because you failed once. Move on and continue where you left off. At the end of the year, you will see progress. Don’t look at perfection. Look at progression.
Have a healthy 2023!