With 2018 just around the corner, end of the year reflections and making new resolutions are quite common to think about. Questions like “Am I happy with my life?” or “What do I need to change to improve myself?” may even cross our minds, but have you thought about your health?
Depending on the person and his or her priorities, health will be at either the top or bottom of the list. I firmly believe that health should always be a top priority and it isn’t just because I majored in health science, folks! Too often is health overlooked and taken for granted, only to be missed when a person is in bad health. It is never too late to prioritize your health and it does not have to be complicated at all.
Today, I will present you with 8 simple ways that can help you prioritize your health for the new year:
1. Make healthier eating habits
This could be as easy or as complicated as you make it. A simple change such as opting for water instead of soda when you eat at a restaurant or eating more vegetables counts as making a healthier eating habit. Start out with a simple change and then before you know it, it will become second nature to you. Other healthy habits include eating fruits instead of candy, swapping almonds instead of potato chips, and drinking water first before you eat because sometimes, when you feel hungry you’re actually just thirsty. If you are seriously considering changing your diet drastically, there are many resources that will guide you, such as plant-based diet cookbooks and different articles. You don’t have to think too hard about it, just do it!
2. Drink more water
About two thirds of the body is water, so it makes sense that we must always stay hydrated. When the body is dehydrated our skin dries out, normal bowel process aren’t maintained, and fatigue and malaise can set in. Overall, being dehydrated is not a good experience.
Drinking more water is simple: keep a refillable water bottle with you at all times. In my experience, this is the best way to stay hydrated because then you don’t have an excuse to not drink water. When I was in high school, my cross country coach had each of us carry a one gallon water jug with us to school. We had to drink water throughout our day; the goal was finish it by the time we started practice. Now this may sound extreme but with the amount of running we did everyday and how much sweat we lost, staying hydrated with one gallon of water was enough to replenish the water lost.
Drinking too much water is fatal so knowing the appropriate amount to drink each day is important. Physical activity and body composition are factors that can influence that value. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACCSM), the one size fits all recommendation of “eight, 8 fluid ounces of water a day” is no longer the standard. Instead, we should be calculating our daily water intake based on our body weight. To do this, you would multiply your weight by 2/3 (or 67%) and the value you get would be how much water you should drink daily, in ounces. For example, if a person weighed 150lbs, he or she should drink about 100.5 oz of water a day. This value would increase if the person is an athlete exercises on a daily basis.
3. Get enough sleep
Pretty self explanatory, but so hard to do especially if you are stressed. Sleep is important because it allows the body to rest, preparing it for the following day. Some ways to get more sleep is to:
- Unplug by a certain time (i.e no using your phone/tablet/laptop after 10pm)
- Reserve your bedroom for sleeping only
- Practice meditation
- Get a white noise machine to drown out any background noise. This also works if you can’t sleep in a super quiet room.
- Set a bed time and stick to it.
4. Find a fitness activity that you enjoy
Exercise is important in living a healthy lifestyle for many reasons: it can reduce risk for developing health disorders, it releases endorphins (making you feel happy, aid in weight loss, and can boost self-confidence. Even with all these benefits, it can be a struggle to find the time and motivation to actually exercise. Finding a type of physical activity that you enjoy doing will help in exercising more often. You don’t have to hit the gym to be fit, having your own dance party at home also counts as exercise! When you find a routine that works for you, you are more likely to do it everyday.
5. Practice self-care
Self-care is defined as any activity that we intentionally do to in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Exercising is a method of self-care and so are many things, like: reading a favorite book, meditating, hiking, etc. As busy as life can get at times, it is important to take care of yourself because if you are mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy, you’ll be a much happier person.
6. Surround yourself with people that make you better
In other words: don’t spend your time with shitty people. It’ll only make your life stressful and the negativity will bring you down. Instead, spend your time with people that inspire you to work harder and be better. Seeing their success and having that trust and friendship(s) will motivate you to work hard and be a positive person. It is also important to have friends that won’t be afraid to call you out, when necessary. This just shows that the friendship is the realest.
7. Be your own advocate
The best advocate for your happiness is you, not your significant other, not your friends, and not your family. You are the only one in control of your own actions, therefore, you are your best advocate. Whether it be issues at work, in your health, or life in general, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and your best interest. If you’re not vocal about what you want, then you’ll never have full control about your health, happiness, and well-being.
8. Do what makes you happy
It’s simple, do things that make you happy and spark joy. Life is too short to do things that don’t make you happy, so just find joy in everything that you do. You’ll be a happier, more positive person and that will be seen by the people you surround yourself with.
So those are my eight ways on how to prioritize your health for 2018 and hopefully in the future! I hope this inspired you to live your best self. Have a wonderful New Year’s weekend and celebrate with the people that make you happy!
See you in the new year!
What to look for in the new year:
- A giveaway
- More advice on Pre-PT
- More travel guides & packing guides