Not sure about you, but 2020 provided lots of unexpected challenges.
In 2021, we’re ready to refocus and get energized for the year ahead. While past years may have included ambitions for challenging new exercise regimens or drastic dietary changes, this year we’re focused on balance, self-awareness, and getting a bit more TLC in our lives. We deserve it… and if that happens to include some fresh veggies we’re here for that, too.
Committed to taking on new, kinder habits that stick? Research shows that focusing on small, actionable steps can help propel you into the new year with a healthy, positive mindset.
Here are four worthy resolutions you can make to take better care this coming year.
Habit #1: Breathe a little deeper each day.
This year has tested our mental health and likely increased your anxiety. Slow, deep breathing exercises (less than 10 breaths per minute) have been proven to help reduce anxiety and depression, according to a 2018 study published in journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
How to do it: According to University of California, Berkeley, the basic technique is to inhale for a count of two to four seconds and exhale for a count of four to six seconds. Find the combination that works for you, making sure to exhale longer than you inhale.
Habit #2: Set reminders to schedule healthcare appointments.
In the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, you may have had to cancel certain care appointments. This year, resolve to get those preventative care appointments on the books - not only for your overall health, and (extra bonus!) for your wallet.
How to do it: With many medical offices going virtual, some may still require in-person visits. Set a calendar reminder to schedule at least one primary care checkup this year so it doesn’t slip off your to-do list.
Habit #3: Start setting boundaries in your relationships.
With many of us stuck at home 24/7 with our kids and/or partners, this may seem especially hard to do. But boundaries can help you maintain healthy relationships with those you love.
“Boundaries create a context for the preservation of love and peace,” John Townsend, a psychologist who is the co-author of the book Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life told The New York Times. “If you don’t have boundaries, you’ve got chaos. Boundaries create an organized structure that people can go, ‘I can live with this. I can tolerate this. I can feel peaceful and still love people.’”
How to do it: Here are a few ways to help keep specific relationships in a good place with boundaries:
- With your partner: If isolating together at home, finding support outside of your significant other during this time will help. “It’s important for both people in the relationship to stay connected with family and friends who can be available for them, especially as time wears on with continuing physical distancing measures. Talk with other people on the phone and use technology to keep your support network intact,” said Chris Kraft, Ph.D., a psychologist and expert in relationships and sexuality at Johns Hopkins Medicine in a May 2020 article.
- With your children: “Let your family know that, during certain hours, you need to focus on your work. Visual cues like a closed door can signal you are working and to not interrupt,” shared Pranita Tamma, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, and Patrick Mularoni, M.D., medical director of the pediatric sports medicine program at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. They also suggest creating designated ‘quiet zones’ in your home during work or school hours to help with focus.
- Media: Whatever your relationship with the news and media is, you might want to consider boundaries with your consumption. “Set limits on how much time you will spend watching COVID-19 updates on television and social media. Limit your discussion and access to media regarding COVID-19 to your comfort level and in order to decrease your stress level,” said Kirsten Book, MSN, PMHNP, FNP-BC, family nurse practitioner and psychiatric nurse practitioner at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in a July 2020 article.
Habit #4: Try starting (or perfecting) a bedtime routine.
Your sleep schedule and quality may be lacking for a variety of reasons (pandemic stress, late-afternoon caffeine, or alcohol before bed are all common culprits). But creating a regular bedtime routine can help you attain quality sleep, which will positively impact your health.
How to do it: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Settle into your bedtime routine by incorporating a relaxing bath or shower, reading a book, listening to relaxing music or nature sounds, or doing a short meditation or gentle yoga. And avoid technology a minimum of 30 minutes before bedtime.
Looking to learn more about how to create a plan that works for you? Amazon Care can help. Open the app to speak with a Care Team Member today.