People typically start the New Year with the best intentions of improving their health. Whether it is exercising more often, limiting alcohol consumption, or cooking at home more, most resolutions come to an unhealthy end by the end of January or early February. That big game day celebration was also an obstacle that most likely tripped up a lot of people as well.
The most important thing you can do is to not beat yourself up if you slip up on your New Year’s health goals. Nobody ever said that the road to a healthier lifestyle would be easy. In fact, it takes consistent hard work and determination! If you find yourself cheating on your diet or missing workout days, perhaps you need to dial back your resolutions and add little habits, which can drastically improve your health, to your daily lifestyle. Use the health-boosting tips below and you may even add some years to your life!
Avoid Screens Before Bed
Watching your favorite show or checking your Instagram in a dark room exposes you to artificial blue light, which is actually brighter than natural sunlight. This confuses your internal circadian clock, meaning you will start to feel more awake than sleepy. Don’t mislead your brain into thinking that it shouldn’t be making melatonin to help you sleep. Avoid screens about one to two hours before bed.
Ditch Artificial Sweeteners
A lot of zero-calorie and low-carb artificial sweeteners are marketed to be healthier than regular sugar. Put down the artificial sweetener and slowly walk away. This is not a drill. They are synthetic sweeteners that can increase your body mass index (BMI) and your risk of developing mood disorders, headaches, or type 2 diabetes. Beneficial sweeteners to use include raw honey, coconut sugar, monk fruit, pure grade A maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, stevia, or raw agave syrup.
Don’t Put Ice In Your Water
Don’t feel weird about drinking room temperature water, even if it seems abnormal. According to Ayurvedic medicine, your digestive fire or agni (the power that helps your body digest food) is dampened when you consume cold water. This can decrease your internal energy and impair digestion. Ask for water with no ice when eating out or serve yourself room temperature water at home.
Eat Some Raw Cacao
A little chocolate never hurt anyone, unless it came packaged in a bar with artificial sweeteners, colors, and processed ingredients. Raw cacao, on the other hand, is the natural form of chocolate, and it is full of phytonutrients and antioxidants. Containing anandamide (what has been deemed a “bliss molecule), raw cacao can help to boost your mood, memory, and fertility. Add raw cacao to smoothies, homemade energy bites, chia pudding, or other breakfast bowls.
We are no strangers to stress because life can get a little crazy. We find that it is beneficial to take a few minutes every day to be still, silent, and secluded from all of your surroundings. If you find it difficult or stressful to be silent and alone, try guided meditation or take a yoga class. Stillness works to boost your mood, relieve stress, and improve sleep.