2015 is almost here, and now is a great time to start off on the right foot by setting some healthy (and attainable) goals for yourself. While about 75% of people tend to stick to their new year’s resolutions for at least a week, less than half are still on track with their goals six months later. At Freedom Home Care, we encourage you to try at least one of these resolutions for 2015, and make it a healthy new year!
1. Lose weight- the healthy way. First, it’s important to remind yourself that you can’t expect overnight success. Stay away from the quick cures, and instead look for small, realistic lifestyle changes you can manage. Try incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables into your daily meals. When you have an urge for soda or other sugar – filled drinks, opt for a large glass of water instead. Remain active by taking daily walks, or doing chair exercise at your own pace. Lastly, plan for bumps in the road. Use a food journal to keep track of what you eat and have a support system in place. It can be easy to make excuses after a few weeks, but having someone there on a regular basis to get you through those rough times is key.
2. Stay in touch with old friends and family. Studies have shown that it’s good for your health to reconnect with those old friends and family who may have fallen by the wayside. In fact, a lack of social bonds can damage your health as much as alcohol abuse and smoking, and even more than obesity and lack of exercise, according to a 2010 study in the journal PLoS Medicine suggests. It can be easy to rejuvenate your relationships with friends and family, with a simple phone call or even by reaching out online with an email, or via Facebook, plus making time for in-person visits.
3. If you’re a smoker, QUIT. Fear that you’ve failed too many times to try again? Talk to any ex-smoker, and you’ll see that multiple attempts are often the path to success. Try different methods to find out what works. And think of the cash you’ll save!
4. Reduce your stress. While studies show that short bouts of stress can actually give us an energy boost, chronic stress can increase your risk of—or worsen—insomnia, depression, obesity, heart disease, and more. Little sleep, no exercise, poor diet, and not spending time with family and friends can contribute to stress. Relaxation, sleep, socializing, and taking vacations are all things that we deserve and need to keep stress levels down.
5. Volunteer. We tend to think our own bliss relies on bettering ourselves, but our happiness also increases when we help others, says Peter Kanaris, PhD, coordinator of public education for the New York State Psychological Association. And guess what? Happiness is good for your health. A 2010 study found that people with positive emotions were about 20% less likely than their gloomier peers to have a heart attack or develop heart disease. Other research suggests that positive emotions can make people more resilient and resourceful.
6. Never stop learning. No matter how old you are, there’s always something more to learn. Teaching yourself a new skill, or about a new topic that interest you can help boost your brainpower and memory, along with improving verbal and social skills. Several studies have linked higher educational attainment to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
7. Cut back on alcohol. Drinking alcohol in excess affects the brain’s neurotransmitters and can increase the risk of depression, memory loss, or even seizures. Chronic heavy drinking boosts your risk of liver and heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and mental deterioration, and even cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, and breast.
8. Get more sleep. Don’t feel guilty about taking naps! A good night’s rest can do wonders for your mood—and appearance. But sleep is more beneficial to your health than you might realize. Sleep is crucial for strengthening memories (a process called consolidation). A lack of sleep has been linked to a greater risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
9. Travel. When everything becomes familiar and too routine, we can get stuck in a rut. Traveling can rejuvenate you and allow you to tap into life as an adventure, and make changes in your life without having to do anything too bold or dramatic.
Freedom Home Care wishes you the best for a happy and healthy new year in 2015!