by Erica Garza
The New Year is a popular time to make resolutions, whether that means quitting a bad habit or picking up a good one. But how can you be sure that once February or March rolls around you’ll still be committed to your new healthy way of living? Designed with renewal and recovery in mind, the following health and wellness tips will help you incorporate long-term constructive strategies into your life for improved well-being the whole year through. From staying active to sleeping better, here’s how to take lasting action in the New Year.
The New Year may inspire you to commit to a new, strenuous fitness routine, but be careful not to put too much pressure on yourself with unrealistic expectations. Lasting changes start with small, attainable goals. While trying a new exercise class is a great idea, try to resist putting yourself in a situation where you’ll beat yourself up if you don’t end up attending as many as you envisioned. When it comes to staying active, no matter what your age, enjoying yourself is crucial. If you find yourself dreading the treadmill, maybe try a walk outside with a partner. If you hate yoga, try Pilates. If you can’t afford a gym membership or exercise class right now, find ways to stay active outside or even in your own living room. And if the idea of exercise still makes you resistant, try committing to simply “moving” when you can. Take the stairs instead of an elevator or join a dance class. And once you find the activities you like, keep minor aches and whole body discomfort from getting in your way with Papa & Barkley’s Hemp Balm, which can help you work out harder and recover faster.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
It’s difficult to drag yourself out of bed and make it to the gym if you don’t feel rested. Aim for 8.5 hours of sleep a night (or more), which can be best achieved by practicing good sleep hygiene. According to the National Sleep Foundation, good sleep hygiene practices include avoiding caffeine before bedtime, limiting naps to 30 minutes, sleeping in a cool room and incorporating as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise into your day. You may also find that CBD helps you sleep better by regulating cortisol levels, relaxing your muscles, eliminating nightmares and promoting a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Try Papa & Barkley’s CBD Capsules or CBD Drops to help improve sleep.
Eat Whole Foods
An improved diet is easier to attain if you switch your focus from eating less junk to eating more whole foods. Instead of banishing carbs or sweets or counting your calories, consider how you might incorporate healthier versions of the things you love into your diet. Aim for fresh, minimally processed items, which contain more nutrients than processed foods. You’ll typically find these foods around the perimeter of the store.
Marie Kondo might not be trending on Netflix anymore, but clearing clutter should always be in style. If done well at the beginning of the year, the effects will be long-lasting, even on the laziest days. If you’re not inspired to follow Kondo’s methods of decluttering, you can still take some simple actions to clean up. Make sure there’s a place for everything — a hook for those keys, a drawer for those papers, a holder for that toothbrush, etc. — and purge the things you don’t need anymore. One good tip for purging is for every new item you bring into your home you must get rid of something you no longer use.
Studies show almost half of us feel lonely and isolated, which may seem strange, considering how connected we are thanks to technology. But some people think that the excess of screens is what’s actually driving our relationships apart, impairing our ability to have face-to-face interactions and foster meaningful relationships. Try tracking your screen time to get a clear picture of how much you’re using (or overusing) your devices, and maybe even opt for a full-blown digital detox. Find novel ways to connect with others, whether that’s finally making it to that company happy hour you’ve been dodging or taking a workshop or class where you can meet some new people. And the next time you’re about to comment on a post from a friend you haven’t seen in a while, maybe call her instead and ask if she’d like to go for a walk.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist. Her work has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, The Telegraph and VICE. She lives in Los Angeles.