Health & Wellness

Kickstarting New Year’s Health Resolutions

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As we anticipate the end of 2021 and look forward to starting the new year right, we are faced with the challenge of deciding whether we will make New Year’s resolutions. 

2021 was almost as challenging as 2020. In general, we spent more time indoors, more time sitting, and most tragically, less time with our friends and family. With January 1, 2022 just around the corner, there is no better time to hit the reset button and start the year off right. 

Many people say they are going to do better and be better in the new year. We have the right intentions, but for some reason or another, we are just not able to implement any of the resolutions we come up with. Well, that is about to change. 

From our childhood, we are told that if we fail to plan, we plan to fail, so let’s get beyond the intentions and figure out how to detox and start the new year off with our New Year’s Health Resolutions. If we do this, we just may start 2022 happier and healthier. So let’s get to work! 

Start by incorporating some “Slow Food” principles into our lives. Many times, when we talk about New Year’s Resolutions, we make drastic statements and tell the whole world that on January 1st, I’m now a raw food vegan. Trust me. I’ve been there, and three weeks later the sight of coleslaw made me gag. Instead, try eating fewer fast foods, and more locally-sourced whole foods. 

If you eat out often, try eating at home more. Increase the number of greens and cut back on processed foods. Foods such as greens, sprouts, fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds need to take over our plates, while fried foods, chips, and cakes should be an occasional treat. If you are trying to lose weight, apples, papayas, persimmons, and even seaweed are a good addition to your diet. 

Increase your fibre intake. As the saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. This saying does have some merit, as the apple should have been the original super food. Along with apples, try to increase your consumption of kumquats, loquats, plums, prunes, and any local foods, especially if they grow in your own backyard. 

Drink more water. If we are increasing our fiber intake, we definitely need to increase our water intake. Most people do not drink enough, so let’s drink up. We heard it said that we should be drinking eight glasses of water a day, but do we really do that? If you do, kudos to you. As for me, I’m a few glasses short, so let’s start sipping on those water bottles and keep drinking for healthier looking skin, and healthier bodies in general. 

No New Year’s Health Resolution is complete without discussing exercise. If you have not exercised in a while, make sure that you start slow. You can start by taking a stroll every day after dinner. It could be a good time to bond with your family, or you can use it as a time to reflect or plan. If you want to be a bit more intense, you can hire a personal trainer – someone who will create a plan for you, and help you achieve your goals. 

Spend time outside. Having access to the sun makes us happier and healthier, so let us not forget that this is a free pick-me-up that we have available to us outside our doorsteps. 

One of the most important New Year’s Health Resolutions you can implement is committing to getting more rest. Many people underestimate how important an undisturbed nights rest is. Not only does a good night’s sleep aid in our mental health, but it also wards off diabetes, kidney disease, and heart disease. Start by having a consistent bedtime every night, even on weekends. 

Now, this may be a tough one, but implement a screen ban in your bedroom. This is not just TVs, but also computers, tablets, and even your smart phone. At this point in the article, I am sure there is someone yelling “I’ll become a vegan who will run 20 miles a day, but please don’t take my phone away from me!” We don’t want to fall into the trap of quitting before we start, so work with me here. 

Start by putting the phone out of reach. Perhaps on the dresser the first week, then move it further and further away. The point here is to realize how screens have infiltrated our slumber, and to take the reins back, so we can be happier and healthier. 

And finally, have an accountability partner. Over the past few years, it has been drilled into us that we need to “social distance”. We have not been able to visit our friends or families in the same manner as we did in the past. However, during this pandemic, we have learned new ways to connect, so let’s take advantage of all these new advances in technology. 

Whether your accountability partner is one person, or you have a few people you have on a group chat, that’s up to you, just make sure that you are there for each other, in a loving way. Check in with each other at least a couple of times a week, whether that means asking about your meals, sharing different recipes or discussing the different exercise plans you are working through. 

When implementing changes, especially after a couple of years of living a sedentary lifestyle, please do consult your health care provider regarding any changes in your diet or your exercise patterns. This is just an extra layer of support that we all need. 

So, remember, try to start with a plan, and stick to it as best as you can. It has been a couple years since we have had a normal festive season, one where we can come together in person, to laugh and have fun together, so please don’t let the stress of monitoring your meals ruin your time with family and friends. 

These moments are precious, make the most of them. 

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