Live Well Work Well: January 2021

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5 Ways to Start Your Year Off Right

Like many other people, you may be thinking about what you would like to accomplish in 2021 or what life changes you could make. Common New Year’s resolutions include losing weight, exercising, getting organised, learning new skills and saving money.

To achieve your resolutions, consider the following strategies:

  • Set a goal that motivates you.
  • Set a goal that is specific.
  • Set a goal that is manageable or attainable.
  • Write down your goals to establish intention.
  • Share your goals with others to increase accountability.

Ready, Set, Go!

2020 has likely given you time to reflect and think about what you’d like to change about your lifestyle. This is a good time to make positive life changes and strive for an overall healthier self. Consider the following five tips to start the new year off right:

  1. Check in on your mental health. Mental health is just as important as physical health in building a healthy lifestyle. Reach out to a professional if you need help.
  2. Be social. Isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t have to mean loneliness. It is still possible to connect with others virtually or while practising social distancing.
  3. Get regular check-ups. Stay up to date with regular visits to your GP and necessary health tests. Screenings can help identify health issues to be addressed.
  4. Drink more water. Consuming sugary drinks, like juice or fizzy drinks, can cause liver damage, premature aging and anxiety. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption as well.
  5. Count nutrients, not calories. Focus on improving the overall quality of your diet and not getting hung up on calories. Achieve this by adding more fibre, protein and probiotics to your diet.

If you do just one thing in 2021, consider making time for yourself. Identify the activities that make you happy or fulfilled and prioritise them. Talk to your GP or mental health professional for guidance and support with lifestyle changes.

Kick Stress Eating to the Curb

As the COVID-19 pandemic and winter season continue, you may be fighting the urge to eat more. Although stress eating may be soothing at first, you likely won’t feel better in the end. Consuming excess calories in one sitting can cause fatigue, bloating, stomach discomfort and weight gain over time. Consider the following ways to cope with stress eating:

  • Indulge in moderation. Everything is okay in moderation; just don’t overdo it. Set yourself a limit before taking that first bite.
  • Control portion sizes. On a similar note, make snacks easy to grab and go by pre-portioning them to help you save time and avoid overeating.
  • Boost nutritional value. Introduce healthy swaps or additions to your favourite indulgences. For example, consider substituting pasta with zucchini noodles or adding healthy toppings to ice cream that you can fill up on instead.
  • Choose ‘busy snacks’. Choose healthy snacks that keep your hands busy, such as eating popcorn or dipping apple slices into peanut butter.

It could also be helpful to incorporate exercise or mindful activities into your routine for when you want to stress eat. It’s all about finding a strategy that works to help you feel better in the long run.

Eliminate Alcohol Intake With Dry January

Each year Alcohol Change UK organises Dry January. This month-long initiative encourages people to give up alcohol for the month of January. Taking a break from drinking can result in positive effects for your physical and mental health, as well as financial benefits. According to Alcohol Change UK, participants in last year’s Dry January observed the following:

  • 88% of participants saved money.
  • 71%  of participants slept better.
  • 58% of participants lost weight.

It has also been found that 72 per cent of people who participate in Dry January continue to consume less alcohol even six months later.

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