The new year can be an exciting time, focusing on resolutions for the year ahead and fresh starts or plans for what you’d like to achieve.It can also be an opportunity to recommit to your health and wellbeing, whether that’s drinking more water, losing weight, finding more time for self-care, starting meditation or mindfulness, making time for friends and family, exercising regularly, the list goes on.
Choosing your resolution is the first step – the tricky thing can be sticking to them. We’ve put together our top tips to help you make and keep your healthy resolutions for 2021.
Try reading something new
If your resolution is to improve your health, reducing your stress levels can be a great place to start. hero’s Head of Content & Delivery Sam Gaunt recommends reading a book before you go to bed; by immersing yourself in a good book, you can take your mind off your current situation and start to unwind and de-stress, preparing for a better night sleep. One study by the University of Sussex found that just six minutes of reading reduced stress by up to 68%. The content of the book isn’t important, either. It could be fact, fiction or pure trash. As long as it’s interesting to you, that’s all that matters.
Find time to take a walk
The World Health Organisation recommends that adults have a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week. For some of us, this might seem tricky to achieve, but taking a brisk walk which raises your heart rate contributes towards these 150 minutes. This year, try taking time out of your day for a walk – if you have a busy schedule, this could be as little as 10 minutes a couple of times a day. Perhaps you could park a bit further away from work, take the stairs instead of the lift, or grab a colleague for a walking meeting. Small changes can make a big difference in the long run, to both your physical and mental health.
Enjoy some mindful moments
hero Wellbeing Therapist says, “A favourite technique of mine is mindfulness. This doesn’t mean you have to make time for a full mindfulness body scan (but if you do, this is a great way to unwind). It could be anything from a few mindful moments connecting with your breath, to mindfully eating your favourite chocolate bar or taking a mindful bath or shower – all of these moments can contribute to lowering our stress levels.”
Research on mindful eating has also shown to be linked to weight loss, so if you’re looking to lose a couple of pounds this year it’s worth trying too. Harvard Medical School research states that “Digestion involves a complex series of hormonal signals between the gut and the nervous system, and it seems to take about 20 minutes for the brain to register satiety (fullness). If someone eats too quickly, satiety may occur after overeating instead of putting a stop to it.” If instead you take 20 minutes or more to mindfully eat your meal, you’re more likely to feel full and reduce the need to overeat.
Commit to an 8 week challenge
Research has shown that it takes 8 weeks to form a habit, so choose a challenge which you think you can realistically commit to for at least 8 weeks. This way, you’re more likely to make this healthy habit part of your ongoing behaviour. Get in touch if you’d like to find out more about healthy behaviour change!