Whether you're a believer in the whole "new year, new you" thing or not, the New Year usually signals a fresh start. And this year, with a whole new decade arriving, it feels even more like everyone has a chance at a clean slate.
To help you take advantage of that 2020 energy, we rounded up a few simple good-for-you tweaks you can make to your usual routine. These healthy mini-resolutions are all so small that they're super-easy to stick with, and they'll have an outsized effect on your wellbeing. Choose one or two to try out, and if you give up on them before Ditch Resolutions Day (January 17), don't sweat it — you can pick them up again (or not) any day of the year.
Drink more water
Get a reusable 32-ounce water bottle and vow to drink the whole thing down twice a day to hit the ball park recommendation of eight cups. (How much water you actually need depends on a bunch of factors, like body size and activity levels, so feel free to be flexible to determine what feels right for you.) Or just add in one extra cup a day, as soon as you wake up in the morning. Hello, natural energy.
Prioritise self care
This can include, but is not limited to, a trip to the spa or a fresh manicure. "For some [people], self care could mean setting boundaries with their work colleagues or personal relationships," says Natasha Bhuyan, MD, a registered physician at One Medical in Phoenix, Arizona. "For others, it might mean curling up with a good book. And yet for others, it might mean focusing on healthy eating or getting more sleep. It might mean unplugging from social media."
This year, vow to figure out exactly what you can do self care-wise. My feel-good addition? Letting myself sleep in on the weekends — hey, I deserve it!
Be proactive about preventative care
Get a primary-care provider. Already have one? Pat yourself on the back — you're ahead of the game. Dr. Bhuyan says that many people don't realise that a primary-care wellness visit can also helps you manage your mental health, sleep, healthy eating habits, and activity.
"Many people view the health care system as a sick care system. They only seek care when they are not feeling well," Dr. Bhuyan says. "However, it's important that every person has a primary-care provider in order to focus on staying healthy through preventative care." That includes a regular physical (depending on your age, you may only need one every few years), an annual flu shot, and more.
"There is compelling evidence that mindfulness is beneficial to our overall health," Dr. Bhuyan says. "And on the other end of the spectrum, being buried in our devices is detrimental to our health."
To begin your mindfulness journey, consider downloading a guided meditation app like Calm and using the week-long free trial to see how you like the practice. Or take an even smaller step and just commit to putting your phone down every so often. My plan is to stay off my phone for at least 10 minutes after waking up in the morning. Goodbye in-bed Insta scrolling, hello mental wellbeing.
Try to sit less
This may be tough if you work a nine-to-five that involves sitting in front of a computer all day (I mean, same). But hear me out. Parking it for prolonged periods has been associated with increased feelings of anxiety, and there's evidence that it can elevate your risk of issues including cardiovascular disease and even diabetes.
The good news: Studies show that moving for just ten minutes a day can reduce these health risks. Stand up and stretch ever hour, and try to go for a quick walk — even if that's just a few laps around your office — daily. (If you adopt the "drink more water" resolution, you may find yourself standing up more often to go to the bathroom anyway.)
Cut back on alcohol
Listen, no one is telling you to give up the pinot grigio. But consider drinking it less. Cap yourself at one glass instead of two or cut yourself off entirely for a few days, or a few weeks. It's no secret that consuming excessive amounts of alcohol isn't the best for you or your body. Test the waters of an alcohol-lite lifestyle; you might surprise yourself by feeling so good you keep it up.