6 Ways to Kick-Start The New Year With Positivity
The beginning of each new year is an opportune time to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes into your daily routine. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone in many ways, both big and small, but with the start of 2021 comes renewed hope for the future.
Read on for five ways to focus on improving your mental health and wellbeing for the year ahead.
1. Keep a gratitude list
The simple act of showing gratitude is a powerful tool for increasing positivity and a proven way to lessen symptoms of depression and strengthen interpersonal relationships. In a recent study, subjects who were asked to focus on the positive aspects of their day-to-day lives were able to improve their mindset and mood as a result.
Gratitude doesn’t only affect your emotional wellbeing, though. Studies have also shown that focusing on the good in your life can improve your quality of sleep and decrease your risk of heart disease. Keeping a daily or weekly list of things you’re grateful for is a tangible act that can help you live a happier life, even when things might feel far from perfect.
2. Start a mindfulness practice
In a time where many people find themselves on phones and computers more than usual, developing a mindfulness practice through meditation may be the key to feeling more settled and focused in the new year. Experts have long touted the benefits of meditation in decreasing stress and anxiety, but did you know that it may also improve memory?
Finding the time to meditate can be tricky, but by using mindfulness techniques — listening, sensing, breathing, and observing — you can turn a walk, a shower, or even a couple of minutes of cleaning and organizing into meditation. Focusing on the task at hand and incorporating breathing exercises into your day can help you feel more present and grounded. Start small, with only a few minutes a day, and work your way up. Join our Mindful Meditation goal in your dacadoo app to set a strong foundation.
3. Exercise in the morning
Changing up your routine to include exercising in the morning can result in greater weight loss overall than exercising in the evenings. Not only that, but getting a workout in before work will improve your mood, supply you with more energy for the day ahead, and result in a better night’s sleep. Plus, when surprise plans do pop up in the evening (remember that Zoom birthday call you agreed to a week ago?), you won’t feel guilty about saying ‘yes’! It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re left to choose between watching television and hitting the treadmill, which is why the morning workout is so effective.
4. Eat more plant-based meals
Taking care of our bodies and the Earth is an interconnected endeavor when it comes to diet. Worldwide, humans consume around 350 million tons of red meat and poultry a year. The toll this has on our environment is astounding, especially when you consider that a single pound of beef requires anywhere from 20 to 80 gallons of water to produce. Studies point to plant-based alternatives as a much greener and healthier solution. If we all eliminated meat and milk from our diets and turned to plant sources for these foods, we would be saving at least 50% of our water use.
The impact of meat on our bodies is also mostly negative, as a diet high in meat has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, cancer, and metabolic diseases. The good news is that it is now much easier than ever to substitute red meat, poultry, or even fish with plant-based alternatives. These are not only healthier and better for the environment, but also much easier to find, as the demand for these products is skyrocketing.
While kicking meat to the curb for good may not be completely achievable (or even fully advised), choosing to eat vegetarian for some or most of your meals can have a significant impact on your health and the planet, as plant-based diets have been connected to a longer lifespan.
5. Keep hydrated
By now, you’re probably very aware of how important it is to stay hydrated every day, but did you know that even instances of mild dehydration can have an outsized effect on your mood, energy levels, and brain function?
Your body requires water to survive, and yet so many people don’t seem to get enough of it on a normal day. Drinking just one to two glasses of water in the morning can help you achieve your hydration goals and boost your metabolism for the day, which may result in weight loss over time.
6. Stand up!
Did you know that sitting down for too long has serious consequences for your overall health? According to the American Cancer Society, men who sit for more than six hours have a 20 per cent higher chance of dying than those who do so for less than three; in women, that figure rises to 40 per cent.
As we spend more time working from home, where there is less need to move (commuting) and adding that to the fact that less gyms are open due to Covid-19, a lot of us are spending many hours a day sitting down and not getting enough exercise as a result.
We’d like to encourage you to stand up and stretch your legs at least every 30-40 minutes if you are involved in sedentary jobs. Take short walking breaks and try to aim for 10,000 steps a day. Find out more information tips on walking by reading our ‘Sitting is the new smoking’ infographic.
These are just a handful of ways to get your 2021 off on the right foot. Now that you got the motivation and the plan set, let’s get 2021 started with positivity and wellness. Browse through the challenges and goals on your dacadoo app and start joining your favorites!