12 resolutions for a happy, healthy, New Year

By Rekha Balakrishnan|2nd Jan 2018
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Here are 12 health resolutions to make, and follow through on, in 2018. There’s one for each month, follow one that suits your needs the most every month, or follow them all starting now.

It’s time to step back and examine every aspect of your health, and your life, and how you’re going about it. Figure out a healthy way to do things. Get organised, and develop a system to follow. Re-energise your health and your life!

Here’s how.

1. Eat right

Forgive yourself if you’ve binged all through the holiday season. It’s never too late to start thinking about the food you eat. Eating right means eating better, and not starving with fad diets! Consider making lifestyle changes to improve your eating habits. Eat, don’t binge. List down all you eat. Then, make the resolutions. Tell yourself that you will indulge in sweets only once in a week, or increase your servings of vegetables and fruits, or even better – do not eat junk food at all. Jotting them all down makes sticking to them so much easier.

2. Reduce stress

You very well know stress is the root cause of all physical problems. Identify and write down what stresses you, and what you could possibly do to overcome it. There are different solutions that work for different people. Try some breathing techniques, meditation, or talk it out with a friend or loved one. Sharing your thoughts eases stress to a large extent.

3. Practise meditation

You don’t need to read books or go for classes to meditate. Just find a quiet corner of your home, dim the lights, and shut out all external disturbances. Sit on the floor with a mat as your seat and close your eyes. Breathe in slowly, and exhale slowly to the count of five. Let your mind wander free; do not interrupt your thoughts. Continue breathing in and out with slow deliberation for at least 20 minutes. Then slowly bring yourself back to the room you are in. Listen for sounds in the background. Open your eyes slowly and take in the darkness of the room. Tap into the unseen forces within you. Reach inside for the wisdom, the strength, and the power of silence. Feel the strength of body, speech and mind.

4. Check it out

Have you ever had a breast exam/mammogram? When was your last pap smear? When was the last time you saw a gynaecologist? Irrespective of your age, you need to see your doctor at least once a year even if you are in perfect health. Make that appointment. If you are above 35, have you had a full health check-up or a blood profile? Nowadays, coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, etc, are a by-product of the lifestyle we lead, and younger women are prone. Look out for your health today.

5. Brush up

Brushing is a great way to get the gunk out of your teeth after a meal. But the real benefit of brushing is to eliminate the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time, and floss once a day. For calcified plaque or tartar, that forms under your gum line, head to the dentist for a professional cleaning, usually every six to nine months. There is a strong, progressive association between tooth loss and heart disease; it’s linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis and heart attacks. People with poor oral health are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease so look after your teeth.

6. Bone up

This is something you need to remind yourself time and again. You need to increase your intake of calcium to help prevent osteoporosis. Take three servings of dairy every day. Make sure they include skim milk, low-fat cheese, and yoghurt. Non-dairy options could be salmon, dark green vegetables, and calcium fortified-cereals. Remember, your bones will determine how you will look later in life. So act now!

7. Guzzle by the gallon

Take small steps to increase your water intake. At work, keep a water bottle right in front of your desk. If that doesn’t work, keep reminders on your mobile phone at regular intervals to drink water. If you can’t drink water all the time, try mildly-flavoured water with mint and lemon, minus the soda and sugar of course!

8. Sleep more

There is no need to tell you what lack of sleep does to the body. It is also akin to physical abuse because you are depriving the body of rightful rest. Plan your day well so that you go to sleep at the right time. Stick to the same schedule every night, and make your family do so too. ‘Early to bed and early to rise’ is not just an adage… it is one of the basic tenets we need to follow in life.

9. Walk more

Walking is a sensible way to lose weight. It adds a spring to your step, always. Stop using the lift and wherever possible use the stairs. Walk to places where you can comfortably forego using the car. Make these a regular part of your walking routine. This is, of course, apart from a few daily rounds in a park or a short refreshing jog.

10. Ditch the caffeine and sugar

Go easy on the colas and fruit drinks. They are little more than sugar water, and if you are skipping colas in favour of fruit drinks, they’re just as bad. Nothing can replace the real thing. So, make your own fresh fruit juices and smoothies from natural fruits and vegetables. Add just a tiny bit of sugar to not feel deprived. If you feel you cannot live without them, cut back on the amount you drink until you can control the urge to have it. Instead of a whole glass, have half. Buy smaller portions and sizes, forget the good deals (‘Buy Two, Get Two Free’ is just a way to get you addicted and drink more!) and think healthy instead.

11. Maintain a healthy weight

The weight that’s right for you depends on many factors including your sex, height, age and heredity traits. Excess body fat increases your chances of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some types of cancer and other illnesses. On the other hand, being too thin can increase your risk for osteoporosis, menstrual irregularities and other health problems. If you’re constantly losing and regaining weight, a dietician/nutritionist can help you develop sensible eating habits for successful weight management. Regular exercise is also important in maintaining a healthy weight.

12. Work healthy

Cutting down work hours may be a dream, but you can definitely incorporate some healthy habits to avoid the toll of long working hours. Here are five sure-fire ways to stay healthy at work. 1) Get some fresh air. The change of scenery and the fresh air will revive you. 2) Get a good and supportive chair. Maintain a right posture and reduce any kind of physical stress while working. 3) Care for your eyes. Continuous use of computers has given rise to Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Take frequent breaks from your computer screen and provide relief to your eyes. 5) Use plants to cheer up your space. It also helps to improve the air quality in your office.

There's a definite connection between healthy living and having a cheerful, positive outlook on life. So, while you try all of the above this year, remember that is important too.

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