It’s a new year, which means the chance to start fresh and add healthy habits to your regular routine. We’ve all made the big resolutions – lose 20 pounds, workout every day, re-organize your entire life…you know the type. Resolutions that are so ambitious it’s hard to know where to begin.
But, don’t get discouraged! Consider implementing small, healthy changes into your daily ritual. Starting small can lead to bigger changes down the road. And you may be surprised at how much better you feel by making even minor adjustments to your physical and mental health routines. Here are five small, but impactful habits to consider picking up this year.
Make a move: Getting to the gym every day is not realistic for everyone. Between work, family and friends, the gym often gets pushed to the back burner. But that’s okay! You can still make a positive impact on your cardiovascular health by adding a little more movement to each day. For example:
- Every hour, take a lap around the office – You’ll burn calories and keep your circulation in good form.
- Lengthen your commute – If you drive to work, consider parking in the back of the lot. If you take public transport, try getting off a stop early so you’re forced to add extra walking to your daily transit.
Go green: Saying you’ll eat healthier this year is vague. Give yourself a tangible goal by resolving to include one vegetable or fruit at each meal and snack.
- Top your morning oatmeal with blueberries, include a side salad brimming with veggies at lunch, pack carrots for a snack, and for dinner, top your pizza with tasty treats like peppers, tomatoes, onions and mushrooms. You’ll save calories and add plenty of vitamins to your diet by going green!
Say “Om”: Improve flexibility and take a mental break by practicing yoga or light meditation. You can find helpful DVDs and books to explain how to practice yoga poses and meditation. You can easily and quickly do this in your home, or even at the office, when you’re feeling stressed and need to take a mental break.
Keep friends close: Research by the Mayo Clinic suggest friendships are an important element of a healthy lifestyle. Friends help you celebrate the good times and support you during the bad ones. Friendships also help reduce stress and improve your self-worth. But as we get older, maintaining friendships can be challenging. So start small and make an effort to schedule get-togethers with friends once a month, or keep in touch with regular emails or phone calls.
Listen to Julie Andrews: She was onto something when she sang about her favorite things in the Sound of Music. We often get so busy we forget to include the little things we find special in our daily lives.
- In an ideal world, if you love art, you would go to an art museum every week, or take a painting class. But in the spirit of starting small, try something easy, like hanging up a calendar in your office that features paintings from your favorite artist. Just focus on finding little ways to incorporate your favorite things into your every day – a guaranteed happiness boost!
As a Healthy Blue Xtras member, you can save money on many health and wellness tools at retailers across Michigan. And, for more ideas on how to make 2013 your healthiest year yet, visit AHealthierMichigan.org.
Photo credit: Freelance Folder