2021 is nearly here and, while you can make a change at any time of the year, the new year is a great starting point. With the chaos of 2020, it’s important to focus on your health, both physical and mental, in the new year. Here are some ideas for health goals you can set in 2021:
Find an Exercise Routine that Works for You
Experts have sung the praises of exercise for a long time, and there’s a good reason why: it works! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that regular exercise can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and some cancers. Getting into a regular routine is challenging, but there are plenty of resources available to help you find exercises that suit your needs. Taking a walk, strength training, going on a hike, dancing, and even cleaning your house are all great ways to get your exercise in for the day.
Focus on Your Mental Health
2020 was a challenging year for everyone and it’s important to take some time to reflect and work on your mental health. According to the Mental Health Foundation in the UK, “poor mental health can negatively impact physical health.”
Practicing gratitude, spending time with family and friends (even virtually), and mindfulness meditation are all great ways to begin building resilience and improve your mental health.
Get Adequate Rest
We know this one is easier said than done, but getting quality sleep is vital to your overall health. According to a 2011 study on sleep duration, those who don’t get enough sleep each night are at a greater risk of developing heart disease or suffering from stroke than those who get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep. If you struggle to get adequate sleep, try maintaining the same sleep routine every day, avoiding screen-time within one to two hours of your bedtime, exercising, and/or meditating. These activities have proven to improve sleep performance.
Declutter and Get Organized
The clutter in your home could be creating more anxiety and distractions that you think. Research from the Journal of Neuroscience has shown that cluttered, disorganized environments can be damaging to your attention, concentration, and focus, and, with so many of us working from home these days, that can be harmful to your productivity and performance.
According to Psychology Today, decluttering can create a sense of “confidence and self efficacy.” Take some time in the new year to get your space reordered and decluttered to feel more freedom in your own home. If you don’t know where to start or if the clutter is too overwhelming, consider trying Oprah’s 30-day home detox.
Put Down Your Screens
Especially during a particularly newsworthy year, it’s easy to get lost in your devices. According to Mayo Clinic, “The average time spent on screens now is seven to 10 hours. Recommendations for an acceptable amount of screen time include:no screen time whatsoever for children under 2, one hour a day for children 2 to 12, two hours a day for teens and adults.”
In 2021, dedicate less time to your screens and more time to mindfulness. Consider creating a phone-free zone, like your bedroom or the dining room, to encourage less screen time for you and your family.