In years gone by, we've all made big plans to start a new year, living our best lives, getting the job of our dreams, traveling non-stop, and living solely on water, green smoothies, and positive vibes. Don't fall for the hype: Use these small, achievable tips for healthy living and make your 2021 better.
New Year's resolutions, much like most of the year 2020, should never be spoken of again. We make them on December 31 with the best of intentions.
But, by the time mid-January rolls around, willpower has crumbled, and we're sitting on the kitchen floor polishing off a tub of Ben & Jerry's Half-Baked, resigning ourselves to the reality that nothing will change.
Most people make lofty resolutions that don't align with their core values, so they don't stick long-term. Sure, most people value healthy eating, but not everyone wants to eat a strict diet all the time, and setting a goal to do so is a setup for failure.
We've built a list of 21 health and wellness tips for you to make 2021 a little better for your body, your mind, and your life. These things to do, to live a healthy life, are simple, small, and achievable daily.
You can make small changes over time, which build to make the biggest impact, with these tips for living a healthy lifestyle.
1. Take five deep breaths
America is one of the most stressed countries globally - 55% of us report feeling stressed out each day.
Our simple tips to stay healthy start with our most basic bodily function. Deep breathing causes a physical reaction within our body; it activates the parasympathetic nervous system to calm our minds.
If you find yourself stuck in a stressful or anxiety-inducing situation, one of our favorite mental wellness tips is to stop and take five deep breaths. Breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 5, and breathe out for 5.
2. Try immunity-boosting turmeric
Turmeric is a powerful spice with potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-boosting properties. This bright-yellow powder is also high in fiber and minerals and adds fantastic flavor to curries, stews, or smoothies.
Focus on nutrition and wellness by adding a teaspoon or two into your diet whenever possible.
3. Practice 5 minutes of meditation
Emotional wellness tips that incorporate meditation foster the brain-body connection. People who regularly meditate permanently change their brains; grey matter volume increases, and stress levels reduce.
Adding another item onto the list of daily healthy things to do can feel overwhelming on busy days, so make a small commitment to meditate for just 5 minutes a day.
4. Start a bedtime routine you can stick to
A lot of us struggle to turn off our minds before sleep. Our daily wellness tips include starting a wind-down bedtime routine doing things you enjoy so that you'll want to stick with it. Remove the digital screens at least an hour before bed, and read, do some yoga, take a bath, journal, or relax in whatever way you see fit.
Start at the same time every evening, and your body will recognize the pattern and start getting into sleep mode so that you sleep more soundly through each night.
5. Wake up consistently
Humans are animals by nature, who reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and regular sleep pattern. One of our ways to wellness is to set an alarm for the same time every morning, regardless of schedule.
Sleeping in can be tempting, but it's not worth the potential struggle to fall asleep at your regular bedtime the next night.
6. Get into nature
Studies show that just a short, 2o-minute nature walk can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, increase the feeling of happiness, and decrease blood pressure.
Head to a local park nearby, or a small plot of grass, take off your shoes and let your feet touch the earth so you can feel more grounded.
7. Eat more plants and less meat
We're not suggesting a completely vegan or vegetarian diet if that's not for you. Try adding a few entirely plant-based meals into your week to get a hefty dose of vitamins, minerals, and lean proteins without the saturated animal fats.
Tofu is a high-quality vegan protein, relatively inexpensive, and tastes great in stir-fries and pasta. Is tofu gluten-free? It's completely gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free.
8. Have an early dinner
The best way to eat for weight loss and sustained energy is by eating a big breakfast, medium lunch, and small dinner around 6 pm.
Eating a big breakfast gives you energy for the day and satisfies hunger cravings. Your metabolism functions best in the morning upon waking and slows down through the day, working at its slowest in the evening.
9. Take a probiotic supplement
Our guts are not only the key way we receive nutrition from the foods we eat, but they are also connected to our central nervous system and brain.
Take a probiotic daily to balance your gut bacteria, improve digestion, and positively impact your mental health.
10. Think critically
We often run into the same stimuli day in and day out, making our brain function stagnant over time.
To keep your brain building new neural pathways to improve function, try new activities. Use your non-dominant hand to perform a new task or play a simple brain puzzle app on your phone for a few minutes each day.
11. Get a new best friend
Don't worry; we don't mean ignoring your BFF's phone calls and texts. Consider adopting a dog or cat. Owners of a furry friend have increased average exercise levels, decreased risk of heart disease, and lower anxiety and depression rates.
12. Incorporate mindfulness
In a nutshell, mindfulness is focusing on the present instead of running internal dialogue about the past or the future. Being mindful throughout the day can help to relieve stress and improve emotional intelligence.
Using mindfulness is one of the best wellness tips for today because you can practice it during any task - even washing the dishes can be done mindfully. Focusing on the sensations of the present moment can put our worries into perspective.
13. Make your appointments
Take 20 minutes to set up your appointments for the year and put them in your phone calendar. Book all critical health and wellness appointments upfront to ensure they happen right on time.
We often put off these simple tasks, then feel guilty when we run far overdue between appointments.
14. Apply the 2-minute rule
Procrastination is not just the rite of passage for distracted college students - we all procrastinate in our day to day lives, putting off little tasks that pile on each other quickly.
An easy way to be more productive is the simple 2-minute rule. If you have a task you can finish in less than 2 minutes, do it right now. It's a great way to knock most everyday chores out in a short time and feel productive, which snowballs into more productivity.
Break large tasks into smaller increments, and commit to 2 minutes at a time.
15. Leave your phone in the living room at night
It's hard enough to stop scrolling our phones throughout the day, but the blue light of phone screens is incredibly disruptive to our sleep cycle at night.
If you're tempted to pick up your phone while you're in bed, leave your phone in the kitchen or living room when you head to bed to remove the temptation and get to sleep on time!
16. Detoxify one product
There are toxic chemicals in many everyday household products we use, from bathroom cleaners to beauty products.
Healthy lifestyle tips need to be achievable, and replacing every product with a green one isn't financially viable for most. Instead, read a few labels at home and choose just one product to replace each month. Research and choose a green replacement that suits your needs.
Then, repeat next month. Over time, you can switch all toxic products out without wasting money on expensive products.
17. Try a lightbox
Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, affects 10-20% of us in the grey, winter months. If you feel a little down during the darker seasons and in need of wellness tips for winter, sit daily beside the sunlight-simulating lamp for 20-30 minutes.
Light therapy isn't a cure, but it can release serotonin, ease symptoms, increase energy levels, and improve mood.
18. Call your friends
Texting can feel convenient, but it doesn't maintain emotional intimacy in the same way as a face-to-face conversation or phone call. You miss out on the subtle nuances of voice communication, and honestly, it feels like a chore to keep up with texts constantly throughout the day.
If you're feeling disconnected, use these quick wellness tips and give your friend a call instead of sending a text.
19. Practice your posture
With the 8+ hours we spend working each day, we can all use wellness tips for the workplace. Tighten your core and glutes and stand up straight, or sit up in your chair with a straight back as often as you can.
Practicing good posture helps improve breathing, relieve back pressure, and improve digestion.
20. Take standing breaks
Many of us are bound to our work desks, leaving us with tight hips and weakened glutes. To keep your body well-balanced, take a break every hour to get up, stretch your legs, and walk around.
21. Start a gratitude journal
One of our easiest mental health wellness tips focuses on daily reminders to show gratitude for our lives' positive aspects.
Buy a notebook, write down three things each day you're grateful for, and repeat tomorrow.
Final notes: Healthy living and wellness advice
Try our small, achievable tips or create your own. Keep the goals small, monitor them often, and reassess as you progress. Instead of beating yourself up if you fail, accept that you're a human and adjust the goal.
Happy living is much closer than you think. We wish for 2021 to be your best year yet, without the pressure of impossible-to-achieve resolutions!