The holiday season ushers in some of the happiest and carefree times of the year. With that, of course, comes the indulgences: cookies, eggnog, holiday party hors d’oeuvres. By the time the New Year rolls around, we’re all ready to reset and resume a healthier lifestyle. Here are six healthy habits for you to adopt as soon as the clock tolls at midnight on January 1, 2016. Cheers to the best version of you!
- Exercise in the A.M.
It might be hard to imagine doing anything besides getting ready and going to work in the morning — however, 2016 is the perfect time to make morning exercise part of your routine. For one, when your workout is done first thing in the morning, it’s impossible for life to get in the way of it. There are also a myriad of benefits to getting your sweat on early in the day. It revs your metabolism, boosts your energy levels and helps you sleep better later on. So, as soon as your alarm clock goes off, slip on your sneakers, grab a towel and start 2016 on the right foot.
- Rethink Your Plate
A great partner to your new fitness routine is a healthier nutrition plan. There’s no need to go on an extreme diet or cleanse, either — just follow a few simple rules that will ensure you’re fueling your body in the right way. For example, you could make it a point to eat at least seven different colors of food each day. These should be natural colors in the form of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc., and it’s easy to do. Apples, bell pepper, squash, lettuce, blueberries and eggplant give you the entire rainbow of colors and taste great, too.
- Stretch It Out
Another great habit to pick up is stretching. Many people strive to exercise more in the New Year, but they forget to add in the limbering moves that also better their bodies. It turns out stretching has more positive side effects than just increasing your flexibility and widening your range of motion. You can also use your stretching sessions to fight stress, as stress manifests itself as muscular tension. Each stretch helps you to release what is built up inside.
- Shake It Off
The negative side effects of sodium are just as clear as the salt pouring out of your shaker. Too much of it causes your body to retain too much water, which puts a strain on your heart and blood vessels. It can also boost your blood pressure. In 2016, make a point to stay close to a healthy 2,300 milligrams per day. The easiest way to regulate your salt intake is to cook for yourself, as many restaurants load up salt and spices for added flavor. Preparing your own meals ensures you’re eating just enough sodium to keep your system regulated.
- Say Hello
Not all healthy habits have to do with diet and exercise. Maintaining social ties helps you maintain a healthy state of mind. The end of the holiday season is a great time to kick-start this new trend, too, since you’ve seen so many old friends and members of your family. You don’t have to carve out loads of time for long phone conversations or plan trips every weekend to reunite with your loved ones, even though you could do so once in a while. Simply exchanging texts or emails has the same ability to improve your mood and strengthen bonds.
- Cut Back on TV Time
Finally, so many of us make it a point to turn on the tube as soon as we walk in the door from a long day at work. Sure, it feels great to take a load off on the couch and let your mind wander after being focused all day long. However, in 2016, make it your mission to limit television time in favor of face-to-face family dinners, exercise, productivity… whatever you need to feel happier, less stressed and more whole at the end of each day. At the start, you might have to plan your evenings ahead of time in order to avoid vegging out. You could start cooking more or taking classes in an area of interest, for example, instead of heading straight for the couch after work. No matter what, you’ll certainly feel more accomplished and present at the end of the day when you cut back on TV time.
This is clearly not an exhaustive list of what you can do to start off your year on the right foot, but it’s a great starting point. No matter which one(s) you apply to your own life, you’re sure to find yourself feeling healthy and happy in 2016 and beyond.